Eliminate fear before every swing with this simple mind trick

If you have a sense of fear before hitting a shot, you've already lost. So GOLF Top 100 Teacher John Dunigan says do this to eliminate it

That internal fear before a shot can be tamed. Here's how.

Getty Images

I’m a true believer that fear is the one factor that holds people back from accomplishing their goals; be that on the golf course or in any other walk of life.

When it comes to golf, how many of us can relate to the following situation?

You’re setting up for a tee shot knowing that you’ve sliced every drive that day. Low and behold, there’s a pond to the right, and a group of trees down the left. You need a perfect swing, or at least you think you need a perfect swing.

As you stand over your ball, your mind begins to race. You have no idea where to align yourself. You’re worrying about slicing, or chunking or whiffing. You’re playing with different grips and other things you normally wouldn’t be fearful of, and you’re trying to bomb your driver without having the body control to keep your swing sequence intact.

This is not going to end well.

So how does a player lose that fear on the course and develop a strong mental approach? GOLF Top 100 Teacher John Dunigan has you covered! Take a look below.

How to eliminate fear on the golf course

You can’t avoid unwanted thoughts that pop into your head on the course, but you can train your brain to give yourself the best possible chance of success. This means learning how to swing freely — and accepting failure if you mishit the ball.

For instance, in the example above about the water on the right side of the hole, stop yourself and think something like this: “Right is dead, so the golf course wants me to pick a new target line.”

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Kellie Stenzel gives 10 aim and alignment tips to help players hit straighter, more consistent shots
10 simple tips to become an aim-and-alignment pro
By: Kellie Stenzel, Top 100 Teacher

Naturally, you’ll want to pick a safe target on the left side of the fairway, and, without hesitation, commit to that mark.

Now address your ball, loosen yourself up and make an aggressive swing toward that sensible target, trusting that you aimed correctly.

This deliberate process will help to eliminate fear. It will relieve the stress of thinking “don’t go right” — which tightens you up and leads to a poor swing.

Instead, by choosing a new target line, even a mishit will often result in a shot landing in the fairway (or at least not in the drink), because you’d eliminated the threat that you first spotted on the tee box.

GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jim Murphy shared his thoughts on focused golf practice, which should help amateurs concentrate more on each shot
Focused golf practice: Rules for concentrating on each shot for better play
By: Nick Dimengo

While this is a good approach on the course, the principle begins in practice.

When you’re on the range before a round, you must train yourself to hit your shots toward your selected target. Envision holes that you’ve played where there is trouble left, or right or short, and pick the right club to keep the ball on your correct target line.

To see the results you want, remember to pick targets that are between the actual target and the safe side of that target. Then embrace the challenge, commit to your target and swing freely.

Remember, you signed up for the challenge. Now it’s game on, so let’s see what you can do!

Hazy Sticks -

Hazy Sticks “The Icon” – Golf Alignment Sticks

100% Genuine Hickory Length: 45” / Diameter: 3/8″ Medium-Dark Stain White/Valley Green/Light Yellow/Blood Red Color Combo Gloss Protective Varnish Nickel End Caps

TheStack (Hardware + App Bundle)

Dynamic speed training formulated by Dr. Sasho MacKenzie. Guided workout timer for reps, sets, and rest intervals. Custom speed metrics to track your gains.

Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor

generic profile image

Golf.com Photographer