He who has overcome his fears will truly be feared.-Aristotle
Think of your biggest fear in golf. Is it hitting in front of a gallery? Is it having a wedge shot over water in front of a gallery? Is it having a short chip on a tight lie? Or is it a green side bunker shot with a hazard behind the green?
Let’s take my fear in golf. Well actually, to be quite honest, all my fears are listed above. But let’s take my fear of hitting in front of a gallery. The first time that I hit in front of a gallery was my first tournament when I was 12 years old. I remember this moment vividly as I was so nervous, I wondered if anyone else could see me shaking on the tee.
My heart was beating so quickly that I wondered if I would make it through my first tournament without having a heart attack. As my tee time approached, I hesitantly made my way to the first tee where the remaining players and their parents were stood at.
I nervously exchanged greetings and scorecards with my competitors and waited for my turn to tee off. It felt like a blur as the other players teed off because I couldn’t focus on anything except for the thumping in my chest.
“Next, from Diamond Bar California, we have Isabelle Shee. Isabelle, please play away.” There was applause from the gallery and it was my turn to shine.
I tried to walk as gracefully as possible to the tee markers considering my legs felt like noodles and I could barely feel my driver under my shaking hands. I felt dozens of eyes bore into my head as I teed up the ball.
I went through my practice shot routine and prepared to hit my first ever tournament shot.
Alright Is, time to shine. I waggled, looked up at my target one last time and and pulled the trigger.
My fears were confirmed as I heard the uncanny sound of my club face making contact with the top of the ball. The ball hugged the ground for about 20 ft before coming to a halt miles before the fairway. At that very moment, I wanted to dig a hole straight into the ground and bury myself alive. But then, I realized my worst possible fear of topping my drive on the first tee in front of a gallery had come true and I was still alive. I glanced around sheepishly, grabbed my clubs and proceeded to the next shot.
It has been 13 years since that moment and since then, I have played through foursomes, teed off with many spectators, played many tournaments and I’m proud to say that it no longer scares me. I still have a lot to face, but I’m taking that some philosophy and slowly applying it to different areas of my life. So whatever it is that you fear, whether it’s public speaking, driving or 30 yd pitch shots, I encourage you to join me and do it until you no longer fear it.