How To Control Your Fear
If you are honest with yourself, you will acknowledge that you experience fear while playing golf. It could be fear of missing a put, hitting over water or into a bunker, selecting the wrong club, misreading the green, etc. Controlling fear is easier if you know how.
The first step is to clearly understand that your negative emotions adversely affect the chemistry of your brain/nervous system and cause your performance to deteriorate. The more objective you become, the greater control you will have over your emotions and performance.
Your thoughts have two components: facts and emotions. Every situation you face on the golf course is nothing more than a fact. Facts are merely facts! It is the negative emotions you have attached to certain facts that magnify your challenges, not the facts.
Fear leads the list of negative emotions, yet fear is one of the easiest negative emotions to overcome if you are objective and understand its source. Make a list of all the facts that you associate with fear while playing golf.
Upon objective reflection, you will realize that fear is the result of being concerned about a future outcome before it even occurs. Fear of missing a putt before you even putt causes your brain to secrete corresponding negative chemicals that, in turn, cause your stroke mechanics and ability to read the green to deteriorate. This greatly increases the probability that you will miss a putt that you could have easily made if you were relaxed and confident.
Once you clearly understand that your fear of missing a putt greatly contributes to your downfall, it becomes easier to control your fear. The only way to successfully overcome your fear is to stay in the present, focus on mastering the process and let the outcome take care of itself - win or lose.
The next time you experience the fear of missing a putt; step away from the ball, take a deep breath, tell yourself to relax and to be willing to live with your present probability of success. Then, set up and putt. By focusing solely on the process and being willing to learn from the outcome, you will notice your fear will decrease as well as the amount of times you will miss the putt.
The more times you practice the above routine while putting as well as working on improving your mechanics and developing your feel for the green in practice, the less fear you will experience and the more putts you will make. Try it - it works and will work for all your fears.
P.S.: A major difference in the golf scores of pro's versus those of high handicappers is not only the swing, but also the way they think and how they approach situations. Here is a book that explains and why you should start thinking that way too!