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Tightening Up Under Pressure ?

Quoted after finishing second in The Open Championship as a relative unknown


' We all got taught how to control our mind by The Swedish Golf Federation. We have a very good system in Sweden of bringing young talent through. It is really up to yourself to use it, and practice it, but we are taught certain techniques in the classroom, and on the golf course from a young age. I don't get too nervous. A couple of times it was difficult, but I really like these situations, and you need to have the capability to control your nerves. The most common way is through using breathing techniques, It's actually fairly basic '.

                                                                                                                                            Nicolas Fasth



In anything we do it is more or less impossible to be nervous and to be breathing correctly and that's the way it is on the golf course ! 


We all know the old scenario, standing on the last tee with out of bounds on the right, haven't hit it right all round then go and do it, or standing on the fairway with a second shot over water to the last green, which is big, with no trouble behind it then we go and hit it short in the water ! In these situations we tend to get tight, from not thinking positively, thinking on the wrong outcome, we get nervous, don't breathe properly then knock it where we did not want to go in the first place.


It is first and foremost important to:


1. Have a small, positive target in the distance where you want the ball to go to.


2. Picture the ball flying to this target in your 'minds eye'.


3. To have a constant, repetitive pre-shot routine which you commit to prior to

   each shot you hit, without fail, and if distracted, start the process again.


For tee shots, if the trouble is to one side tee your ball up close to the tee marker on the side where the trouble is and have a target in the distance that is to the opposite side.


It is important during the pre-shot routine until you start your backswing to be breathing properly, as this will help you to make less mistakes, the average golfer tends to get very tight and does not breathe properly when under pressure.


it is best to inhale breath through your nose and to exhale through your mouth again as part of your pre-shot routine, certainly if under pressure.


ie inhale 3 times through your nose then exhale 3 times through the mouth and repeat this whole process 3 times during the set up / pre-shot routine process. By the time you have exhaled for the last time you will have started your backswing. This process will keep you relaxed under pressure as you are concentrating on your breathing while being zoned in on your target for better results.


This whole process is similar to shooting a gun, if any of you have done that, as you need to breathe correctly to hit your target etc


If you live in the Perthshire area of Scotland and need some help with your golf game I work as a golf teaching professional at The  Blairgowrie Golf Club which is slightly to the north of the city of Perth or Dundee.

I have been trained by the PGA and Trained Brain by Dr Karl Morris & Jamie Edwards, as well as being trained and certified by The Titleist Performance Institute. 




Graeme Leggat PGA Advanced Golf Professional  Expert - Graeme Leggat | TPI (




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