How to calm down that golf tension

Create Your Own Menu for C.A.L.M. to play your best golf

“To be a bundle of quivering nerves under control is to be capable of greater things.”
– Bernard Darwin, 1931

WHETHER IT IS ON THE FIRST tee at the U.S. Open, Q-School, your club championship, or just at your local muni with some strangers, you should be nervous! If not, you are not really ready to play good golf. This may not make sense to you, but read on. Everyone gets golf tension!

Controlling your performance stress and tension begins with understanding it. You see, the goal for managing your quivering bundle of nerves is not to get rid of them. You are just eliminating preciou8 energy you can use. Instead, the goal is to channel this energy to enhance your efforts. As the great actress Helen Hayes is originally credited with saying, “The goal is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach. The goal is to teach them to fly in formation.”

Granted, we all want to play well in important rounds, but many times these good intentions actually create more self-induced pressure. The net result is that we get in. our own ways inhibiting natural performances from coming out. Perform-ing well under pressure is a learned skill based on awareness and experience. I devoted a couple major chapters in my upcoming book, Golfing Your Roil: The Psychology of Playing Golf~ to the issues of channeling performance stress.

golf psychologist

The core strategy revolves around centering. Cen-tering is much more than physical relax-ation. It is the process that connects relax- ation, concentration, self-statements, mental imagery, intuition, and even spiri-tual dimensions. Centering unifies and co-ordinates performances. In essence, centering is that metaphorical valve which channels the flow of our efforts.

All of the golfers with whom I work develop personalized approaches of channel-ing their performance energies especially during pressurized rounds. From a state of centering, a common tactic most employ is how they can become and remain calm. “Calm” is such a nice word. It connotes feelings of both ease and assuredness.

“The goal is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach. The goal is to teach them to fly in formation.”

Calm can serve also as an important reminder of playing from center. Most of my golfers have taken these concepts a couple of steps further in using the word CALM as an acronym of their key playing emphases. When they think the word “calm” they immediately know what they need to do and be. Some players even write out the word on their score cards, on their personalized reminder cards, even on their golf balls.

This is an interactive article. If you agree with the importance of remaining calm, you may want to further define just what it specifically means to you. There are so many components we can include in the acronym. Here are just some of the more common ones my golfers have used.

C: centered, cool, connected, concen-trated, committed, and creative. A: aware, allowing, accept, affirmative, absorbed, and attentive. L: loose, languid, laugh, love, and lower. M: mellow, motivated, mental, and me-ticulous.

Use a combination of the above empha-ses now as a menu to create your own personalized acronym of C.A.L.M.





Creating your own CALM is important, but it is useless unless you refer to it during a round. Develop ways to remind (lit- erally, “re-mind”) yourself of how you can remain calm on the course. You might just become amazed at how well your little ac-ronym helps you stay in charge of your game. Deep down within you, you inherently know how to perform your best. Employ-ing a little reminder likeC.A.L.M. keeps you in touch with what . . .and how . . .you need to do. So the next time you are feel-ing pressure, just remember your mother’s advice and CALM DOWN!




“Tom, Love the Mind Links cd set. Extremely handy for the car. Plenty of choice rather than this or that dogmatic set of instructions and fun to listen to. By being very conscious of the need to relax I have been able, most of the time, to achieve a reasonably relaxed state over chips and pitches and, on recent rounds, have been able to swing in the Dave Pelz mode as a consequence. The walking idea is very practicable: being left-handed I am walking like Phil Mickelson which to me means walking purposefully. I repeat, your writings and the Mind Links materials have helped me to be calmer. Hope springs eternal!!!”

Alan Rutherford, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Dr. Tom Kubistant has been called “The Master of the Intrinsic.” He maintains the entire bibliography on the mental game of golf…and has read it all! Nobody is more experienced than Tom. He continues to work with professional and average golfers every day helping them eliminate tension and stress in their golf game.

If you want to get your game to the next level, click here to get Mind Links now!

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.


Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant