Fear Can Not Exist In The Present
Many of the golfers have commented about the statement that fear cannot exist in the present. They had never looked at fear in that light. But, they all acknowledged that the concept makes total sense. If you think about it, I'm sure that you will agree as well.
All of top athletes admit that fear is public enemy number one on their list of negative emotions. Since athletes, golfers especially, cannot deny the reality of the mind/body connection, it is easy for them to realize that fear causes their performance to diminish. They, also, readily acknowledge that when they are performing at their best they are not thinking. They are playing in the present on instinct.
When a golfer experiences fear, he or she is thinking about a future outcome that has not occurred. Fear about a possible negative outcome triggers adverse chemical changes in your brain, which cause your performance to deteriorate. Because of the mind/body connection fear makes it impossible for you to duplicate the same stroke mechanics that you have when you are relaxed. That's why many golfers can't hit the ball when they play as well as they can when they practice.
By observing your thought process, you will realize that fear cannot exist in the present. Since you can only physically exist in the present, you only have control of the present. In the present all one can do is executed at their current level of proficiency. How well you control the present, determines your future outcome -- good or bad. It is only when you think about a future outcome that fear can enter the equation and throw off your performance.
The vast majority of individuals have spent their entire life chasing the outcome. However, you can train your mind to ignore the outcome and stay in the present by focusing on mastering the process. This is a major cultural change for anyone brought up in the Western civilization's belief system of materialism and winning. Ignoring the outcome is a huge undertaking, but it can be accomplished.
In contrast, the philosophy of Zen is based solely on being the process -- be the ball. In the Eastern culture, centuries ago, samurai warriors were highly skilled in the martial arts. To be at their best, they were trained to fight in the present without the fear of dying.
Golf is a game! Golf is not a life or death situation. So relax and stop worrying about the outcome. Learn to have fun on the golf course and train your mind to stay in the present. If you do, you will have less fear and shoot lower scores.
P.S.: Do you feel nervous on the first tee? Do you feel under pressure sometimes when putting to win? Are shots over water a problem for you? Then this problem can be a mental one. Here is a program that I can recommend to help you overcome it: The mental side of golf