Archive for April, 2009

Back in the late 90s and early in the twenty-first century, when I started getting really interested in golf psychology, it seemed that the question everyone was asking was, “Who is Jos Vanstiphout?” At the 2002 Open at Muirfield, he was sharing his talents with both players in the play-off, Ernie Els and Thomas Levet. He was reported as having other irons in the fire that week, with clients including Retief Goosen, Soren Hansen, Sergio Garcia, Michael Campbell and Darren Clarke and quite a few others. As a betting man, he had good odds of backing a winner.

So, what exactly did Jos do for his clients? Well, they gave him lots of credit for their success – Retief Goosen handing him much of the credit for his US Open Win at Southern Hills in 2001. But what was he actually doing with his clients to help them …
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Have you noticed that the winners on the professional golf tours around the world aren’t always technically or statistically the best players. They often don’t even look like the best player over the four rounds the week they win. Now, I know that’s a contradiction, because if they win the event, then they must be the best in that event.

Going back a few weeks to the 2009 Masters, no one would suggest that Kenny Perry, Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell were the best players in the field, but they were the one’s that got into the playoff, despite their obvious mistakes. Many of the technically and statistically better players looked to be playing really well, but despite some amazing heroics from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, none of them came near getting into the playoff …
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Yesterday, in Part 1 of this article, I tackled the first 5 of someone’s web-based list of the top ten mental mistakes golfers make and how to correct them instantly.  Today I tackle the last 5 and as I disagree with much of his “how to correct them instantly “advice, I’ve again included my suggestions as to how address them with NLP and Golf Hypnosis …
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I recently found someone’s list of the top ten mental mistakes golfers make and how to correct them instantly. As I disagree with much of the “how to correct them instantly“ advice, I’ve included his first 5 mental mistakes below with my suggestions as to how address them with NLP and Golf Hypnosis. I’ll continue with his other 5 mental mistakes tomorrow …
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Thinking further on my recent post about Tiger Woods apparently using an unorthodox form of anger management, to help him release bad shots, got me thinking. The way we learn anything useful in life tends to be on the basis of trial and error. We try something new and it works, we learn from it. We try something new and it doesn’t work, we learn from that too – possibly even more,

Milton Erickson, the father of modern hypnotherapy, often used the story of how he learned to walk again, at the age of 18 after severe bout of Polio, by watching his baby sister learning to walk. He describes it in his book The February Man. …
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People often ask me about how Tiger Woods balances his obvious temper tantrums with his use of hypnosis. So moving on from yesterday’s post about who’s using golf hypnosis apart from Tiger. Here’s my answer to their second question, “Just how effective is the hypnosis that Tiger Woods uses, if he loses his temper so much.”

You only have to look back to this year’s Masters to see what they’re talking about. I used to agree with them, before realising that this may be a part of his anger management technique for releasing a bad shot. It may upset the golfing public and his playing partners, but it doesn’t seem to have any long-term affect on him. Although he’s clearly in hypnosis while he’s hitting the ball, he appears to come out the moment he completes the swing. If it’s a good shot, he calmly moves on to the next shot. If it’s a bad shot he cusses and again moves on. He’s certainly calmed down before he hypnotically plays his next shot, so his bad shot and his temper don’t have any lasting effect.

I’m sure I’m repeating myself here, but here’s a very telling quote from Tiger that supports my analysis, "The person who can control his state can control his world". There’s seems to be no doubt in my mind that he’s the master of State Management

Now, if only dear old Colin Montgomerie had some of Tiger’s anger management skills and the ability to control his state. He could still be just about as unbeatable as Tiger. I’ll be talking more about Colin in a future post about enjoying your golf – no surprise there then. Colin tells us that he does enjoy his golf, but who’s he kidding?

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So who’s using hypnosis to improve their golf performance – apart from Tiger Woods and maybe Phil Mickelson? Well, taking first things first, it’s difficult to be sure who’s using hypnosis because most people who do don’t want to let on. Why’s that? Well firstly, they want to keep the competitive edge that golf hypnosis gives them to themselves. Secondly, although it’s becoming acceptable for a top golfer to admit to using a mind coach, their marketing people are still wary of saying they use golf psychology or, worse still, hypnosis – that’s all to “new age.” You only have to look at the comments of Angel Cabrera, a real man’s man, after he won the Masters, “Now I don’t have a sports psychologist and I don’t smoke.”

If a golfer won’t tell you he’s using hypnosis, then what are the signs to look for to know he or she is? Well let’s take Tiger Woods as our first example. I’ve not heard him say that he uses hypnosis or read anything that confirms that he’s admitted it. However, just watch the controlled and methodical series of blinks he makes just before stepping into every shot. If that’s not a hypnotic trigger or anchor …
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I’m just re-reading Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf again after almost 25 years! It’s fascinating and given my training in Hypnosis and NLP, I now see why it didn’t work for me when I first worked with it. That insight may also help to explain that despite the plethora of tennis coaches teaching Inner Game techniques, there seem to be very few PGA Professionals claiming to teach. I know that’s asking for a big bag of emails from the ones who do – I’d like to know who they are.

Now, when I first started playing golf, like most beginners, I focussed all my attention on developing my golf swing. I was lucky to start out with a good swing teacher in Colin Christison, who hailed from …
Blairgowrie and learned his golf on the picturesque Rosemount Course. He instilled many of the basics and taught me to play well enough to get down to 4 handicap in my first year and to play off 2 handicap for the next decade or so. Colin also took me with him to caddy or just watch from inside the ropes when he went to play tournaments. I remember watching him play in the Agfa Tournament at Stoke Poges with the legendary Dave Thomas, one of the UK’s foremost golfers in the 1950’s and 1960’s winning many European tournaments and later designing the Brabazon, Derby and PGA National courses at The Belfry and many others . Dave tied for the 1958 British Open at Royal Lytham St Anne’s, losing to the legendary Peter Thomson in the playoff. He also finished second to Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield in 1966 and played in four Ryder Cups. The other member of their threeball was Ian Connelly who later taught Nick Faldo when he started out in golf at Welwyn Garden City. Some experience for an 18 year old playing off 4 handicap Click here to read the full post »

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Did you see the amazing performance and golf confidence exuded by Brian Gay in the Verizon Heritage this weekend? How can anyone thread their drives and approach shots down those narrow avenues of trees at Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head Island let alone consistently hit those tiny well guarded greens? We shouldn’t forget the weekend performances of Briny Baird with 133 for 9 under and my fellow member at Beaconsfield, Luke Donald, with 131 for 11 under.

At the end, I was transported back in my mind to some of my own less elevated experiences of playing on tight courses and small greens. It brought to mind how much better I play in those conditions …
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I’ve already talked about how much I enjoyed last weekends 2009 Masters at Augusta. Now, as each day goes by, more detail is coming into my conscious mind. I hadn’t realised how much I had learned about golf psychology from watching just one event on television.

I don’t know if you saw much of Sergio Garcia during the weekend and saw just how unhappy he seemed to be with himself and the course. It was no surprise to hear his negative comments about the course after his final round. One quote really stuck in my mind, "I don’t think it’s fair," he said. "It’s too tricky. Even when it’s dry you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It’s too much of a guessing game. They can do whatever they want. It’s not my problem. I just come here and play and then go home."

Now, he clearly wasn’t the only one exhibiting similar feelings through their body language and in one particular player through his obvious anger …
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