Archive for Confident Golf – Free From Fear

I’m delighted to announce the completion and launch of the fourth of my new golf hypnosis programmes, “Confident Golf – Free From Fear”. I’ve subtitled the new MP3 program, Overcome Fear – Confidently on the Golf Course, and it’s available to purchase now from the Golf Hypnotist Store. The new product comes hot on the heels of the recent successful launches of “Winning Golf”, “Overcome the Yips” and “Own the Putting Green”.

Confident Golf - Free From Fear The Confident Golf – Free From Fear golf hypnosis programme includes three long and powerful golf hypnosis sessions that address turning fear into confidence, learning how to play fear-free golf and experience the motivation to play confident golf every time you play and trust your unconscious mind.  The programme is available in MP3 format for download, with each session running for around 25-30 minutes. I developed these sessions on similar lines to the “Your Own Virtual Caddy” programme. I have outlined the purpose of each track later in this email.

I will also be publishing a further 5 or 6 more new Golf Hypnosis audio programmes over the next couple of months. As with “Winning Golf”, “Overcome the Yips”, “Own the Putting Green” and “Confident Golf – Free From Fear”, I will be including 3, and in some cases, 4 new hypnosis tracks in each programme. Although the programme names may change a little before release, here is the full list I’m working on:

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How much do you listen to the commentators on televised golf? Do you think they’re good for your golf? Well I used to think that watching golf on TV was good golf psychology. Now I’m not so sure.

So what happened? Well after writing my recent article about talking yourself into better golf, I sat down to watch a replay of the television coverage of the World Cup from Mission Hills in China. Now I ‘m always thinking very positively after completing an article, so I was amazed at how quickly I was becoming negative watching the golf and more importantly listening to the negative messages coming from the commentators. Here’s a list of the ones I remember from just 30 minutes of watching and listening …
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There’s a danger we treat fear completely as a bad thing in golf psychology. Now I know this goes against a lot of what I’ve been saying, but I’m talking hear about the thin end of fear – nervousness. For many people, nervousness is the buzz of competition, whether we’re competing with other people, ourselves or the golf course we happen to be playing.

For many people the buzz is part of the enjoyment. Perhaps that’s what Mark Twain was referring to when he wrote that "Golf is a good walk spoiled" and HRH Princess Anne meant when she said “Golf seems to be an arduous way to go for a walk. I prefer to take the dogs out."

Personally, I feel that if I’m not nervously shaking when I get near the end of a seriously good scoring round or close game of match play then I might as well give up golf and go and do something else that excites and inspires me. Jack Nicklaus knew that if you didn’t feel nervous at the end of a tournament you’re trying to win then there’s something wrong with you – he thrived on it …
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How can golf psychology help you in overcoming the fear you have about hitting a bad shot on the golf course? Many people interpret this as classic fear of someone suffering from the putting yips who’s about to putt or the person suffering form the shanks and about to hit a short iron. But you can get the same type of fear when faced with a shot that you "always" hit badly or a hole that you always play badly. Perhaps your ball seems inexorably drawn to those trees on the right or that bunker on the left. Maybe it’s a water hazard that you just "never" seem to be able to carry.

Now one of the first things I learned in golf psychology was that "What the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves" to quote Robert Anton Wilson in his famous book about how the mind works, Prometheus Rising. In hypnosis terms this means that whatever we consciously think about we unconsciously make happen. In simple terms, if we consciously think about an ice-cream we unconsciously decide we want one and instinctively begin to taste one. If you’re driving on a motorway and someone draws your conscious attention to something way off to the right, you may suddenly notice yourself unconsciously steering in that direction.

Have you ever noticed how if you tell someone to not do something accidentally, that they automatically seem to do it anyway …
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Fear on the golf course can come in many shapes and sizes and it can result in a multitude of problems ranging from lack of enjoyment, through poor scoring and frustration to outright anger. Most golfers will have experienced fear on the golf course, either personally or from watching a playing partner.

As an amateur golfer, although my golf is very important to me, my livelihood does not depend directly on my ability to score well. However, I can think of many times, especially in my younger days, when I was uncomfortable, nervous, scared and downright terrified on the golf course.

Those of you who subscribed to my Golf Hypnotist Ezine will have read in a recent post about my nerves on the first tee in the Golf Illustrated Junior Vase at Hexham in the early 70s. When the starter announced on the loud speaker system that they were expecting great things from me after my hole in one there the previous day, I could hardly stand up, let alone hit a good drive down the middle …
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I was delighted to see Luke Donald doing so well in the first round of the Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial tournament yesterday, with an opening 8-under par 64 to finish the day 3 shots clear of a very strong field. As a fellow member at Beaconsfield and someone who saw his golfing skills develop there, I’m always delighted to follow his successes.

I was listening to his interview after finishing the round and I was intrigued to notice how much golf psychology he’s learned. I know he used to work with Jim Fannin up until a couple of years ago, but I’m not sure who he’s working with now. Jim still works with a number of golfers on the PGA Tour, including Charles Howell and uses a fairly rigid coaching system focusing on Self-Discipline, Concentration, Optimism, Relaxation, and Enjoyment. Now I won’t deny that these elements are included in my own approach to golf psychology, but I prefer a more flexible approach based on the needs of the individual.

So what elements of golf psychology did I notice in Luke’s interview …
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Do you play golf to win? What about when you’re having a great round, playing confident golf and you only need a few pars to play under your handicap? Some of my best rounds came when I started scoring badly and just persevered. The further I got into the round, the better I found myself scoring. What’s more, I got into the habit of playing better and better. Sometimes, the improvement grew over the space of several rounds.

When I think about this kind of phenomena, a couple of my early golfing experiences quickly spring to mind. Part way through my first year of golf, I had got my handicap down to 7 and I was playing in one of the club competitions at Brookmans Park Golf Club. Well, I started terribly and it only slowly got better. Starting from the tenth hole, I reached the turn in 48 shots, 13 over par! But by that time, my golf was improving and I was hitting the ball a long way. I started my second nine with two pars then had a run of eagle, par, eagle and I was now flying. I parred the par 3 sixth hole, before eagling the par 5 seventh and parring the eighth. I was on such a high that I really went for the par 3 ninth and birdied that to be back in 29, 7 under par and nineteen shots better than my first nine. I even had my handicap cut …
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So do you think Sean O’Hair has learned his lesson about closing out a golf tournament confidently? Well it’s tempting to say, "No, he hasn’t." There he was dropping shots on the last two, admittedly extremely difficult, holes and leaving the final result to be decided by Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods the players still out on the course. Fortunately and in many ways, he did win; with Tiger not up to making those closing birdies he’s usually making and Lucas making the same mistake on 17 as Sean was making a few minutes earlier.

I have to say that I was sitting there expecting Lucas Glover to hole his birdie putt on 18 and force a play-off. And I was expecting Sean O’Hair to win the sudden death. Now you may find that surprising given Sean’s capitulation to Tiger over the last nine holes at Bay Hill, just a couple of weeks ago …
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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 was intrigued with the number of players claiming to be flying under the golf psychology radar or at least being reported as doing so in advance of the Masters last week.

Let’s start with the defending champion, Trevor Immelman. Now, no one really expected him to win last year, especially when he went head to head with Tiger Woods on the last day. Despite being the reigning champion, the press reported him as coming in under the radar. Their radar was focussed on the return of Tiger Woods.

Something similar happened this year with Padraig Harrington. He came into the Masters on the back of victories in the last two Majors – The US PGA at Oakland Hills and The Open at Royal Birkdale. Despite some talk of a “Paddy Slam” in the Irish press, Padraig downplayed his chances of a third reportedly saying. "I do fear my opponents, but I fear myself more." …
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