I always look forward to The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. It’s always considered to be the strongest field in golf, with perhaps the most demanding finishing holes anywhere on tour. Most notably, the island green at the 17th hole.
The island green is somewhat symbolic in a sense.
Golfers, after all, often feel as though they are stranded on an island when things begin to go south. It’s a lonely feeling. But how do you get yourself off that island?
Many times in the past I have written about the idea of playing to your comfort zone. There is no better time to follow this rule than when you feel like you are on that island.
The largest contributor to this lonely feeling on the golf course is nerves. We all get nervous. Not just in golf, but in different life situations. Generally, when we get nervous, it’s because we recognize the importance of the moment.
In golf, our most nervous moment is usually on the first tee. Sometimes there are people watching, and we just hope to not make a fool of ourselves. Once that first shot is struck, it becomes a bit easier to settle down and get into the rhythm of the round.
Tour players definitely feel their nerves while standing on the tee of the island green at TPC Sawgrass. At times, the shot doesn’t require much more than a pitching wedge or nine iron.
For the greatest players in the world, this should be a piece of cake.
Even the greatest players must learn to simplify their approach when faced with a relatively simple shot, under the most pressure packed moments. That’s the beauty of the island green.
It forces these players to remember to breathe and trust their abilities.
The next time you are golfing and you feel yourself heading towards that island, take a moment to settle yourself down.
Remember to breathe and play the type of shot that makes you comfortable.