You practice your heart out on the range but can’t take your skills to the course. That’s because you don’t practice and play with the same timing and rhythm, and the problem only gets worse under pressure.
You have to practice like you’re going to play, so under pressure you can play the way you’ve been practicing. That’s why NBA players, for example, practice free throws with the same pre-shot ritual they use in real games. You’ll find this in all sports—even dart throwers establish a “1-2-3-Go” ritual in practice, then use it in competition.
Pressure is what you put on yourself, based on how badly you want to perform well and accomplish your goals. To create match-like pressure on the range, imagine very specific targets like the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, where you’re trying to hit the island green with the hole surrounded by water and a huge Sunday crowd. Practice your pre-shot ritual (for example – Ready, Set, Release) before every swing — even your short pitches, half-wedges, chips and putts. The next time you’re under pressure — like when you need to chip it close to save par or hit the fairway on a tight driving hole — remember to use the exact same pre- shot ritual you’ve been practicing to lead you into and through the shot. Try it — it works.