Archive for May, 2009

Still tied up with half-term duties, so just a quick post today to say how delighted I was last night to see Ian Baker-Finch open his return to Colonial and his return to competitive golf with a 68 – that must have taken some guts and some powerful golf-psychology work.

Now, whatever Ian does in today’s second round doesn’t matter, he’s made it back to the game he loves – and in a classy way. That said, seeing him make the cut and have a good result at the weekend will be wonderful for him, and the world of golf. I’ll be glued to the television this evening to give Ian my support.

Come on Nick Faldo; don’t let Ian beat you in the comeback stakes. We like to hear you both as commentators, but we’d much rather hear your clubs do the talking.

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Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with my rants about golfers changing their swings in response to what I see as their golf psychology problems. Sometimes they change their swings in the often mistaken belief that they somehow need to play better. This generally seems to have one of two results and neither are better than trusting their unconscious golf mind to remember how to play well.

If they are really talented and especially strong mentally, they struggle their way through the changeover period and emerge a season or two later scoring almost as well as they did before the change. They of course believe that they are now better and more consistent golfers and clearly have a new swing. I’m thinking here of people like Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. Now don’t get me wrong, they are both fantastic golfers. It’s just that they don’t seem to be better golfers than before their swing changes …
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Just a brief post today as it’s half-term and my wife and I are baby-sitting. More specifically, we are just heading off for a day’s adventure with our two lovely granddaughters.

So moving from the balance of my life to the balance of the golf swing, I was intrigued to read recently about how many people view this as a key element of a successful golf swing. Now you know that I never comment on the mechanics of the swing as I’m neither a golf professional nor a swing coach. However, I do believe that balance is a key component of golf psychology and that psychological balance contributes significantly to balance in the golf mind and the golf swing. It also works wonders for your putting stroke …
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I work, using Golf Hypnosis and NLP, with different clients on almost every aspect of the game of golf, from the putting psychology and the Yips through to concentration and lack of confidence. My clients often go on to seeking my help with their lives in general. With so many common factors, you could be forgiven for assuming that there’s a standard "cure" for each problem or opportunity a client may bring. The good hypnotherapist sees each client as the unique person they are, with their own set of unique issues and expectations, and develops a unique approach for that client.

Nowhere is this more true than with putting, the game within the game of golf. Putting is the great equalizer in golf and we all have the opportunity for success, regardless of age, sex, build, health and level of fitness …
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I’ve just been reading about Nick Faldo returning to competitive golf to play in the Open at Turnberry. It reminded me about his focussed determination on the golf course and prompted me to do a bit of research into his attitudes to golf psychology.

I’ve seen Nick playing at very close hand and even played with him in an open amateur tournament, the Hertfordshire Stag, at Moor Park back in the 70’s. I recall that it was just a couple of months before he turned professional and I was amazed at his confidence and scoring ability. I felt like I outplayed and outscored him both morning and afternoon. The scorecard told a different tale with me scoring to my handicap with a couple of 76’s against an SSS of 74 and Nick scoring well below par in both rounds.

Coming back to Nick’s current attitude to golf psychology, I was fascinated to find this fairly recent video article on YouTube with Nick giving a masterclass in Thailand on golf concentration and his mental approach to golf.

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I’m particularly in agreement with Nick’s emphasis on not using the word "Don’t" when thinking and talking about your shot – "don’t hit it in the trees"; "don’t hit it in the water"; etc. As Nick reminds us, your unconscious golf mind doesn’t know the meaning of "don’t" and does its best to deliver what you are thinking about – "hit it in the trees"; etc. I also like his ideas around visualising the shot you want to play, making a rehearsal swing to achieve that shot and then hitting it.

I’m certainly looking forward to watching Nick playing at Turnberry.

How long did your game of golf take this weekend? Maybe 3 hours or less if you played on a traditional Scottish championship course, 5 hours if you played a fourball around a more modern country club or even more if you played in a serious open amateur event. I remember playing in a two-ball at Royal Troon, as the guest of a 70 year old friend, and getting round in 2 hours and 20 minutes and we were chased around by the Club Captain playing in a foursome. I can also remember playing in top amateur events and taking over 11 hours to play two medal rounds as a two-ball and no time for lunch. The quick round was much more enjoyable although we were both a bit out of breath by the end.

As a golf psychologist, I’ve often been falsely accused of contributing to the slow play at my home club. People assume that, with all the extra thinking going on, that my clients will take more time playing their shots. This may be true for people who implement long conscious checklists and complicated pre-shot routines, as outlined in many of the popular "so-called" golf psychology books and magazine articles …
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How do you get effective competitive golf practice when you play golf on your own? This is a problem facing many of my clients. For a variety of perfectly good reasons, many of my clients play a lot of practice rounds of golf on their own, perhaps grabbing a few holes when they get home from work or when they might otherwise be just raking balls on the driving range.

Now, I’ve been writing an article today for the next edition of my …
Golf Hypnotist Ezine and it reminded me that many of my clients prefer to play on their own when they’re working on their game. They often find it embarrassing to play with someone else when they’re integrating a new swing idea from their golf pro or working on a golf psychology homework task I’ve given them Click here to read the full post »

Have you ever heard golfers talk about losing their swing and their golf confidence during a round of golf? They were playing really quite well for a few holes and then suddenly they just seem lose it and hit a series of bad shots. Perhaps you’ve experienced this yourself. I certainly know that it’s happened to me in the past and it just felt like I was a complete beginner again.

So where does that good swing go when this happens and do we literally forget how we were swinging? Well, one thing’s for certain, we don’t lose the memory of the shot. Although you may not consciously remember them all, every shot you ever played and the muscle sequences used for those shots remain in your unconscious memory for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, so does every swing thought you’ve ever had, every golf tip you’ve ever read and every piece of golf instruction you’ve ever received.

So how do we get the good swing back …
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Not long after I wrote my article about how "Technically perfect golf does not always win over good mental golf", a couple of weeks ago, I came across a YouTube video that graphically demonstrates what I was talking about. My earlier article talked about golfers with pretty conventional swings making the best of their all round technical skills with their strengths in the areas of golf psychology. This video demonstrates how golfers with less than conventional swings can achieve a seriously high level of golfing success.

The video includes the swings of 16 golfers ranging from the sublimely mild eccentricity of Seve Ballesteros – who I don’t think deserves to be on the video – through the extremes of Eamonn Darcy, Jim Furyk, John Daly and Raymond Floyd to truly outrageous lunge of Charles Barkley – an odd one out in this list of top class golfers.

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The key thing about all of these golfers and their far from perfect golf swings is that through golf psychology and the strengths of their golf mind and their great course management, they’re all consistent golf tournament winners – except of course for Charles Barkley!

There’s a lovely lady hypnotherapist called Ellie Blunt who has a really interesting blog called The Transparent Hypnotist. She posts 7 days a week on a broad range of topics – "All about hypnosis, NLP, positive thinking, suggestion work and the reality of it all."

Every week, Ellie posts a standard questionnaire based interview with a hypnotist somewhere in the world and last week, it was my turn to provide the answers for "…
10 Questions with Andrew Fogg." As her questions are quite direct, my answers go well beyond the information on the About the Golf Hypnotist page on my website and I felt it appropriate to share it with you here Click here to read the full post »