Birdies and Breakdowns: 9 Tips to Manage Tension

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“When confronted with the unknown we tighten.”  – Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Golf

Tension is the #1 killer of golf games!  Use these tools to manage mental and physical anxiety while you are on the golf course:

-Establish an effective, quick pre-shot routine for every shot.

-Incorporate deep breaths between shots and/or during your pre-shot routine.  Deep breathing lowers adrenaline levels and calms nerves.

Commit to a target.  Don’t worry about the bunkers, trees and canyons.  They are simply visual distractions. Pick an appropriate target for each shot and commit.

Less thinking!  Play with more instincts and intuition.

-Focus on what is in your control. Focusing on things that are out of your control builds tension and  wastes energy.

-Notice the exact location in the body where you hold your tightness and create tools to get rid of it. (For example, if you store tension in your hands, commit to a looser grip or shaking your hands loosely before every shot)

-Build confidence by managing emotions in your Post-Shot routine.  Stay positive of neutral after ever shot can be challenging, but it will pay off in the long run.  More confidence means less mental strain!

Observe your posture between shots.  Are you slouching, and looking down? Stand taller. Look at the horizon (most golf courses have amazing scenery and wildlife. . .enjoy it.)

Think happy thoughts! (Always)

Apply these tools to keep your tension levels down and your enjoyment levels up!  You will have more fun and make more birdies!

Dodie Mazzuca is the Director of Instruction at Troon Country Club in Scottsdale, AZ.  She also teaches golf in Santa Cruz, CA (June-Sept.).  For more information about Dodie’s programs and schedule, visit:


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