Part #1 of Risk-Reward - Managing Tournament Pressure

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Part 1: Managing Tournament Pressure

Managing tournament pressure is a critical aspect of a golfer's mental game, as it can significantly impact performance and decision-making on the course. The pressure in a tournament setting is often more intense than during casual rounds, as players are competing for scores and striving to achieve their best results. Here are some strategies to effectively manage tournament pressure:

  1. Preparation is Key:

The best way to handle tournament pressure is through thorough preparation. In the weeks leading up to the event, create a detailed practice plan that includes various scenarios and shot selections. Practice under conditions that mimic tournament pressure, such as competing against friends or fellow golfers. Familiarize yourself with the course layout, study its nuances, and visualize successful shots in different situations. Contact GAMECHANGERE to learn more about the benefits of the SwingU phone application and get a discount on your subscription to help in your preparation.

2. Stay Focused on the Process: This is my BIG #1 - The PROCESS, we are % in control of the process. Be process focused and not outcome focused.

During the tournament, it's easy to get caught up in the desire for a good score or focus on the leaderboard. However, to manage pressure effectively, it's essential to stay focused on the process rather than the outcome. Concentrate on executing each shot to the best of your ability, one shot at a time. By breaking the round down into smaller, manageable parts, you can stay present and reduce the overwhelming pressure of the entire event.

3. Positive Self-Talk and Visualization:

Practice positive self-talk and visualization techniques to build self-confidence and reduce anxiety. Replace negative thoughts with encouraging affirmations, reminding yourself of your skills and previous successful performances. Visualization allows you to mentally rehearse your shots, visualizing them landing where you want them to be. This mental preparation can help reduce nervousness and increase focus during the actual tournament.

4. Embrace Pre-Shot Routines: A Part of the PROCESS

Establish a consistent pre-shot routine and stick to it under pressure. A well-defined routine can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort, helping to calm nerves and maintain focus. Going through the same routine before each shot creates a rhythm that contributes to a more controlled mindset.

5. Breathe and Relax:

When feeling overwhelmed, take deep breaths to relax the body and mind. Breathing exercises can help reduce stress and bring you back to the present moment. Incorporate a few deep breaths into your pre-shot routine to ground yourself before each shot.

6. Embrace the Challenge: #CHOOSECHALLENGE

Instead of viewing tournament pressure as a burden, embrace it as an opportunity to test your skills and grow as a golfer. Tournaments provide a platform to measure progress and gain valuable experience. Embrace the challenge, stay positive, and view pressure as a natural part of the competitive environment. Have a GROWTH Mindset, when the challenge does not go as planned, use it to learn and grow. (Find out more about mindsets at Our Development Blog - GAMECHANGER Performance Coaching ( post were from July 7th, 2023)


Managing tournament pressure is an integral part of a golfer's mental preparation. By focusing on preparation, staying process-oriented, practicing positive self-talk, embracing routines, and relaxing through breathing techniques, golfers can effectively navigate the pressure of tournaments. Remember that managing pressure is a learned skill that improves with experience. Embrace the challenges, learn from each tournament, and approach them with a positive mindset to unleash your true potential on the course.