Have you ended up in a bunker?
Sure, you have.
Have you ever gotten stuck in a bunker?
Bunkers, water, and hitting out-of-bounds are a part of golf. Though you can avoid them by improving your skill and always hitting fairway shots, you know by now that’s not realistic. Even the pros end up in the hazards.
The problem is not the hazards themselves. The problem is how we mentally deal with them, both before we end up there and after.
I’m going to let you in on a secret: If you’re worried about landing in the bunker, hitting into the water, or ending up in the rough, you might actually be causing it to happen. You’re creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Think about it: Even if you’re telling yourself “Don’t end up in the water,” or “Avoid the trees,” you’re still actually paying attention to them. You have shifted your focus away from what it takes to make an effective shot, and at least part of your attention is on the hazards.
Some golfers become unable to see anything but the hazards. This can happen when you’re in a bit of a slump and have had bad shots more times than you’d like to admit or can happen if you’re feeling pressured about playing well.
Whether you’re focused solely on the hazards, or only partially, the fact remains the same: you’re not focused on the right aspects of your golf game at the right time.
What can you do when all you can see are the bunkers?
As a golfer, there are many potential distractions and the hazards are ones that you’ll want to learn to deal with. Having a plan for how to appropriately focus, as well as how to handle the hazards will hopefully help you feel more calm, prepared, and able to focus on what you want to do, as opposed to what you want to avoid.