The Mental Game of Junior Golf: No One is Immune to Pressure!

“the burden of mental or physical distress especially from grief, illness, or adversity”

The pressure is on for parenting junior golfers!

What a great finish to the Greenbriar Classic this past July as Ted Potter, Jr and Troy Kelly, tied after 72-holes, needing 3 playoff holes to decide the winner!  Pressure was taking its toll on many of the half-dozen or so players who had a chance to win going into their final 9 holes. Tour veteran Ken Duke had 2 doubles in a row.  US Open champion Webb Simpson had a string of bogeys.  Even Ted and Troy hit some poor shots during their playoff… pressure never takes a holiday.  Even the pros are not immune to the impact of pressure.

Our junior golfers (JG’s) have endless opportunities to experience pressure:

  • their first tournament,
  • their first tournament in a higher division,
  • the name of the tournament,
  • who is watching,
  • how many are watching,
  • what does today’s score mean for future events,
  • “I am playing terrible…how do I fix it?”,
  • “I am playing great…how do I keep it up?”,
  • “Wow I have never hit this shot before…can I pull it off?”,
  • “This 3-foot putt has my knees knocking!”
  • …and the list goes on and on.

Successfully dealing with pressure is a learned behavior and while some Junior Golfer’s do it better than others…please remember Mom and Dad, no one is immune.  The earlier you and your JG address this issue, the faster their overall game should improve.

English: The British professional golfer Nick ...

Sir Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch were talking about pressure during the closing holes of The Greenbriar Classic.  To paraphrase Sir Nick talking about the pressure mostly on Ted Potter, Jr and Troy Kelly:

You need to be able to recognize that some part of your body or mind is over-revved …too hyped up.  Identify that part and have a brief conversation with it and do something to calm yourself down …take a few deep breaths.

When Sir Nick Faldo and Ian Baker-Finch talk –you certainly want to pay attention.

Your junior golfer is not going to achieve their desired result when their knees are shaking, or their pulse or blood pressure is elevated.  Deep breathing exercises can be helpful:

  • Stand still
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for 5 seconds
  • Let it out slowly
  • Repeat several times
  • Refocus

Parents, we hope this brief introduction to the mental part of your Junior Golfer’s golf game has been helpful.  Please remember that pressure is always there, sometimes more… sometimes less… your Junior Golfer does want to play well for you and of course… they have their competitive spirit… 2 more areas of pressure.

Linda and I are sharing our real-life experiences from the last 10 years with our son Sam III, (S3)’s junior golf career.  We appreciate you joining us on this journey and we hope our successful junior golf experiences will be a foundation for success in your junior golfer.

Now get out there and have some fun! –Sam

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