I watched in admiration as Lizzy Yarnold won the skeleton race at the Sochi Winter Olympics and it made me wonder about my own golf. Her focus and sheer determination was obvious and it appears her only lucky charm for such a perilous sport was Twinings tea.

Personally I would have thought a good slug of brandy would be more appropriate before jumping head-first down a vertical drop of 132m, in lycra, knowing you had no brakes and were about to reach speeds of 90 mph with your head just inches from the ice.

At the tender age of 11 Lizzy realised she had a gift of determination and committed to being her best. She believed if she practised she would learn the skill, and with preparation and a solid routine, she would win.

Clearly she was right.

Ernie Els believes a ball is only capable of one birdie in a round – I’m lucky if mine makes a par! Not everyone has this kind of in-built confidence and dedication and even top golfers have rituals and superstitions to try and influence the outcome:

Ian Poulter says he doesn’t have any superstitions but won’t use number 3 golf balls and will only use white tee pegs! Ernie Els believes a ball is only capable of one birdie in a round – I’m lucky if mine makes a par!

Retief Goosen starts the first round with a number 4 ball, plays number 3 in the second round, number 2 in the third and a number 1 ball on Sunday.

Christina Kim won’t step on the edge of the fairway and green. Rory McIlroy tees up the same way every time. Catriona Matthew always starts a tournament with a ball marked with a four, and only practises with odd-numbered irons. Gary Player believes it’s lucky to wear black. Tiger always wears red on the last day of a competition.

There must be something in superstition as an experiment published in 2010 in Psychological Science revealed that golfers sank 35 per cent more putts when playing with a ball they were told was lucky.

A friend of mine always plays well when wearing a special pair of lucky pants – fortunately she doesn’t enter four-day events!

Joking apart, it just shows how powerful the mind is. I’m not superstitious, touch wood, but in future, I may just mark all my golf balls ‘Lucky’ or ‘The Winner’ and dig out a pair of lucky knickers.
Alternatively I could just practise more!

For more articles by Claire or for the latest Lady Golfer features, competitions, equipment, fashion, golf breaks, instruction, events and news please see ladygolferonline.co.uk

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