Archive for August, 2009

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if by now you’ve noticed that self-hypnosis is a key part of my overall approach to golf mind improvement. In fact, many of the golf psychology techniques that I talk about in my articles start off with the words "If you’re familiar with a quick technique for taking yourself into self-hypnosis, then use it now."

So today, I’m going to describe a simple technique for taking yourself into a safe, light and relaxing trance. Using it will help you in getting the most out of the golf psychology ideas included in my other articles, newsletters and posts. You can also use this technique to calm and relax yourself at times of stress and anxiety, like taking an exam, meeting the boss, first-tee nerves or standing over an important shot on the golf course.

As you’ll soon realise, this "Finger Breathing" technique does need a bit of imagination, but you must already be pretty imaginative if you’re looking to use golf psychology to improve your golf …
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I felt so sad watching Sergio Garcia looking so miserable and failing to close out a much needed win in the Wyndham Championship at Greensboro on Sunday. It reminds me of how important our internal state is to good golf psychology and how we can use self-hypnosis to manage and control our state of mind.

One of the fundamentals of modern psychology is the idea that whatever we consciously think about our unconscious mind does its best to deliver. This manifests itself in many ways and if we’re consciously looking at something, then pretty soon we find ourselves physically heading towards it …
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Putting was clearly very difficult for all the players at Hazeltine in the 2009 PGA Championship, especially in terms of putting psychology. Now we all saw Tiger Woods missing a lot of mid-range putts that we’d normally expect him to see and I’ve already written about how those were the result of his uneasiness about the swirling wind. I’m more concerned here with a number of really crucial putts missed by Lee Westwood and the massive number of short putts missed by Vijay Singh.

In my humble opinion, Lee Westwood is striking the ball as well as he ever has, especially in the major championships. As a result, he keeps getting himself into contention in the last round before throwing away the opportunity in the last nine holes on Sunday. How many times did he miss apparently easy putts at Hazeltine, including a three putt from not much more than 3 feet? At the Open Championship we saw him three-putt the 72nd hole after recovering well from a few bad putts earlier in the round. The same sort of thing has plagued him for such a long time that it can’t just be coincidence and I keep reading about Lee working with golf psychologists, so it can’t be that; or can it?

Well, I’ve seen Lee’s name mentioned as a client of a number of high-profile golf psychologists here in the UK, like Dr Karl Morris and Jamil Qureshi, the official psychological performance coach for the European Ryder Cup team last year. I also noticed, in the Westwood Academy page on Lee’s website, that the list of sessions participants will receive includes psychology.

Imagine my surprise when I heard about Lee’s comments about golf psychologists in an interview at Hazeltine. "Look at them all," he said, "They all look a bit odd …
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So, were you blown away by the golf at the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine this weekend? With 8 hours of TV coverage on Saturday and again on Sunday, I was just riveted to the screen and amazed by both the spectacle and the windy golf conditions. The TV commentators also contributed to the windy feeling with all their hot air and false hopes for a certain golfer named Tiger Woods. Didn’t they just love Y.E. Yang’s quote about how the odds against him beating Tiger must be 70 to 1, based on Tiger having just won his 70th PGA Tour event last week while he had won his first earlier this year.

Although I’ve never played there personally, I vividly remember Tony Jacklin telling me, and our other two playing partners at Brookmans Park Golf Club, all about Hazeltine’s challenges, just a week or so after his US Open win back there 1970. The course certainly seems to have got even harder and so more picturesque since Dave Hill’s scathing comment back then that "all it really lacks is 80 acres of corn and a few cows." …
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I know I’m on holiday this week, so that tells you how incensed I am about the goings on at the sixteenth hole at Firestone on Sunday with John Paramor’s untimely and perhaps ill-considered intervention at a critical time in a thrilling title decider.

Now you know from what I’ve written before that I’m very much against slow play in golf, if for no other reason than that it’s bad golf psychology. You only have to read my earlier article entitled "The fast track to better golf in your unconscious – slow play kills your golf mind" to see why.

Coming back to Sunday, you have to admire Padraig Harrington’s whole approach to the final round and especially the unfairness and ridiculous timing of John Paramor’s intervention. Isn’t it obvious that anytime Tiger’s playing, the size, enthusiasm and rowdiness of his supporters means that his pairing is going to be slower than normal?

You also have to admire Tiger’s very fair comments about the incident as well. And decry the latest news stories that suggest that he’s going to be fined for criticising John Paramor …
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Well hello to anyone visiting my blog over the next two weeks while I’m on holiday taking a rest and maybe actually applying golf psychology to my own game rather than talking and writing about it. Having said that, I’ll still be checking my email regularly, so keep those questions coming.

If you need some golf mind help while I’m away then remember there’s lots of interesting material here on the website and in the golf articles section under the resources tab. You will also benefit from listening to my "Your Own Virtual Caddy" golf hypnosis programme that’s available free when you subscribe to my Golf Hypnotist Ezine.

Finally, if all else fails, just watch and listen to this soothing and relaxing video, full of positive suggestions for your golf, from one of my mental game colleagues in the US. And yes, I know that it flashes up their website address half-way through – I’m not afraid of competition, am I now!

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