Embracing the Butterflies:  Being Mentally Prepared to Shoot Your Best Tournament Scores

By:  Scott Hogan, PGA Professional

With the weather finally starting to warm up the beginning of golf season in Chicago is right around the corner.  That also means that tournament golf is gearing into full swing.  Whether your an aspiring professional golfer, accomplished amateur, or getting ready for your club spring scramble, tournament golf is a great way to test your abilities and find out what you are capable of as a golfer under pressure.

The biggest problem that most players face whether a single digit tournament regular or a first time participant is that they fear the nerves and pressure that comes along with tournament golf.  After completing a tournament round they usually will ask me how do the guys on the PGA Tour get rid of the nerves to make beautiful golf swings just like they do on the practice range.  The answer is they don't try to remove that feeling, they embrace it.

Nerves are a feeling that the best players in the world have learned to embrace because when you are nervous, your sense are heightened which allows you to pick up some of the smallest details and be aware of things at a whole new level.  Also your focus is increased to a level that it otherwise would be very difficult to obtain.  Where amateurs struggle is that this focus is used to incorrectly focus on the wrong things such as hitting a poor tee shot on the first hole, hazards, bad breaks or other aspects that are not positive to their game.

Players that are able to take these nervous feelings and use them to focus on what they need to do to be successful on a given shot or hole, are able to shoot tournament scores that are comparable to the scores they shoot in their practice rounds.  So the next time you sign up for a tournament and start to feel nervous and the dreaded butterflies, just remember you signed up for competitive golf for a reason.  Embrace the feeling and enjoy testing yourself when it really counts.

For more information and tips, visit my website at www.scotthogangolf.com.