Whether it’s a seasoned golfer or an infrequent player off high handicapper, the moment water comes into play, the dynamics of the approach shot often seem to be different. It’s as if ‘fear’ physically takes over. ‘I’ve got to carry the water but water is like a magnet to my ball,’ many will have said in their sub-conscious.
That’s called the fear factor. It is a physical sensation that contributes to muscle tension and stops the brain from working to its optimum capacity. The brain actually listens to the ‘negatives’ in the mind and when you tell yourself ‘avoid the water, hit over the water, don’t let the water catch you’, the brain is actually picking up the distress signals, ie, the water is something to be feared, and consequently the resultant shot is played with fear and muscle tension.
Many golfers will be faced with a shot that requires an 80m ‘carry’ to clear the water, either to land on the fairway, or on the green. Nine out of 10 times they will be able to clear 80m with an easy iron shot when there is no water in front of them. However, when they are in that situation and faced with water, they will land in the water more than one out of those 10 times. Which suggests it’s a visual and mental thing.
As Bob Rotella tells us, ‘Confidence is playing with your eyes’. Think of golf as a more visual- and feel-based game instead of a technical one. A good plan is shot routine, shot routine, shot routine! Therefore, focus on your positive routine instead of thinking about the negative water. It keeps you in the now.