Learn to go low when you have the opportunity


Every once in awhile, players on the PGA Tour catch fire and put up incredibly low numbers for 72 holes.

This past weekend at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, TPC Summerlin offered little resistance for Ryan Moore and Co., as shooting 66 or better seemed commonplace.

Moore would finish with a blistering score of 24 under par, and he needed every birdie to claim a one-shot victory over second-place finisher Brendon de Jonge.

To shoot low scores you need to be on top of your game, while also eliminating mistakes and capitalizing on scoring opportunities.

But when we’re playing and all of a sudden realize that a low score is within reach, something happens, and typically we get nervous or anxious. We start thinking about that low score and forget to focus on the task at hand of completing the round.

This “performance anxiety” not only affects players on tour who are trying to shoot 59, but also average golfers on the verge of a new scoring plateau.

Follow the tips below to make sure you’re ready to capitalize on your next chance to record a personal-best score:

• Practice playing from the forward most tees. The PGA of America has a great initiative called “Tee It Forward” that encourages players to make the game easier by playing the course from a set of tees that significantly reduces the yardage. For a good player, playing the forward tees should present more birdie opportunities. If you get used to making more birdies or pars from a shorter yardage, you will be more likely to handle your emotions properly when you match that performance from your normal teeing ground.

• Spend extra time honing your short game. Tour players make birdies for two reasons. First, they know how to put a wedge shot inside 10 feet, and second, they make those putts. Spend extra time practicing your wedges and make sure you know your yardages. Then get on the practice green and work on making putts from 10 feet and in.

• If all else fails … don’t keep score. Record the score for each hole then forget it! Don’t let yourself start adding up your score before the round is over. There are several players on tour who walk off the 18th green and have no idea what they shot. This helps them stay in the present and focus on the most important shot in golf, which is always the next one.

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