Golf Psychology - Tension Management Technique

Joe Culverhouse
  • Author: Joseph Culverhouse
  • Manager - GLT Content and Communications
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Tension Management


Next in the Mind Body Connection portion of GLT’s golf psychology series, The Mental Game of Golf, is a practical tension management technique that, once mastered on the range, can be used to keep the body’s stress response under control on the golf course.

Worldwide, heart disease is responsible for over 8 million deaths each year, making it the world’s number one cause of death. Along with factors such as genetics, exercise and diet, stress and tension are leading causes of coronary issues. Not to make light of death, but much like in life, stress and tension are one of the leading killers in golf.

GLT's free PDF Quickstart Guide of Golf's Mental Game is available here.

Because of the Mind Body Connection, stress leads to tension in the body, which often leads to gripping the club too tightly. Too tight of a grip means golfers aren’t able to access the swing mechanics that have been trained.

Luckily, just as a quick jog or a few swings at a punching bag can help unload stress in our daily lives, there are exercises that can be employed on the golf course to keep stress and tension in check.

Let’s examine a tension management technique that utilizes principles of the Mind Body Connection in a bit more detail.

To begin, place your club directly on the ground. If you aren’t holding a club, good, just leave them all in the bag. Remember, in the Mind Body Connection, the mind moves the body, the body moves the club and the club moves the ball. Since we are focusing only on the mind and body, there is no need for a club at this point in the drill.

Now, the overall purpose of this tension management technique is to create awareness of optimal tension and mental focus to improve shots. Because of that, we’re going to focus only on the tension in our hands and jaws.

Try to feel tension at a level of zero to two in your hands and jaw. Gradually, raise the tension from two to four, four to six, six to eight, culminating with a tension level of ten. As the tension levels progress, feel the changes throughout your body. You should begin feeling a change throughout your abdomen as early as the first progression.

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Now, pick up your golf club and make a few practice swings. State the level of tension you feel, then try to complete a golf swing maintaining that level of tension. Discover how each level feels on the range, then transfer what you’ve discovered to the golf course in the form of a process goal.

If you are able to focus on feeling a level of tension, and completing a swing at that level, rather than focusing on whatever is causing the stress, you will be focusing on something within your control. Due to the Mind Body Connection, focusing on something you can control will help eliminate the stress response in the body, which will make trained swing mechanics much easier to access.

Next in the Mind Body Connection portion of the GLT golf psychology series, we’ll examine breathing and it’s importance within the mental game of golf.  


tension management technique