Out of the Bunker: Practicing pressure


Have you ever noticed how calm you are while you practice, but you become a nervous wreck as soon as you step onto the course? It happens to us all, and it provides us with a terrific challenge while we practice. How can we create a pressure situation during practice?

A proper drill can help you create a pressure situation during your practice. There are many examples used by different players, but I prefer the ‘ladder drill’ on the putting green.

To set up the “ladder drill,” you need four tees. Start by placing the first tee 1 putter’s length away from the hole (approximately 3 feet). The second tee should be placed another putter’s length from there, and you will follow this until all four tees are placed in the ground. The shortest putt is approximately 3 feet from the hole, while the longest putt is approximately 12 feet.

To begin the drill you must make 20 putts in a row from the first tee. Once completed, you must make 10 putts in a row from the second tee. Finally, you must make five putts in a row from the third tee. So far, so good!

Now it’s time to start “the ladder.” Using one ball, you must now navigate your way up and down the ladder by making a putt from each tee going up, and do the same coming back down. If you happen to miss from the 3-foot putt during “the ladder,” you must make 10 more in a row before beginning the ladder again.

This drill can take a LONG time to complete, which is why it can be such a productive exercise for you. The “ladder drill” creates a pressure situation for you as you near the completion. You DON’T want to start over, and this makes you focus even more.

There are many drills out there that you may have practiced. The most successful drills are those that reinforce positive results, while creating enough pressure to make us focus a bit more than usual. Find a drill that creates some pressure while you practice and you will become a much more successful player on the course.

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