I’m back with more Golf Strategy School! I’ve got an interesting story that comes from a different sport, but it's still something we can use in our game to ensure we're prepared as possible.
The 2008 Olympic game in Beijing: Michael Phelps was going for the record of 7 gold medals at the butterfly race. At the turn, his goggles filled with water and he was swimming blind, but was still able to complete the the race, finished, and won the gold medal.
After the fact, Phelps mentioned in an interview that he manages to win and shared his views on preparation. He looks at everything that could go wrong, and finds a solution for all those different things. Let's say your goggles fill with water, you can't see the markings on the walls and you don't know how far you have to go. Phelps' solution to this was to count the number of strokes to go from one side to the other, so he knew how many strokes he needed to complete the race.
This translates directly to golf. When I practiced, my Dad thought of worst-case situations and applied them to their practice. They spent a lot of time around the greens to improve short game and putting since that's what is used most often. I's Dad stood on one side of the green, threw a ball over the green, usually towards a bunker, and I had to play it wherever it stopped.
I developed a familiarity with these "goofy" shots and could even hit golf balls out of the trees, so I knew how to recover. They practiced in different conditions (i.e. steep downhill bunker shots) and with different tools (various clubs). Start looking at consistent outcomes in games. For example, if I missed, it's always left, so there's no need to practice for anything on the right side of the green. However, if the pin is on the left side and I was trying to hit the ball into it, there's a chance that I could work the ball too much.
I was thinking about a particular hole where I had to learn very vertical steep sand shots. Have that passing familiarity so you aren't caught off guard and have seen them before. Practice those weird downhill "rolling away from you" chip shots. Take the time to practice them a little bit to have that familiarity that translates to the T-box and allows you to make the most confident shot possible.
Shots that you aren't familiar with tend to creep into the back of your head, and that leads to you being focused on shots you want to miss as opposed to what you want to hit. Become familiar with your shots around the greens so they aren't completely foreign to you. You'll have increased confidence in shots leading up to that because you'll know you have a solution, just like Michael Phelps did in his race.