Archive for Golf Psychology

I’d like to share some wonderful news about Jamie McLeary winning his European Tour Card for the first time after competing for 7 years on the Challenge Tour. What’s extra special for me about the news is that Jamie’s been a client of mine for less than 4 months and in that time he’s moved up from number 1,028 on the Official World Golf Ranking to number 318.

What’s especially pleasing for me is that Jamie is happy to attribute his change of form to his regular use of my Winning Golf hypnosis audio programme and the Your Own Virtual Caddy recording. That’s not to take away his obvious golfing ability and hard work. You can imagine my delight when back in September he texted me a brief message, “A little something for you Andrew”, with a link to an interview he gave to the Scotsman newspaper. You can read it under the headline, “Hypnotist gets McLeary thinking straight again” at The Scotsman website.

Jamie first contacted me back at the end of June when he was on an aggregate of 5 over par for the first ten events on the Challenge Tour. We only had a couple of days to talk before he was heading off for a planned 3 weeks of tournament play in Europe. What made it more challenging was the distance, with Jamie 400 miles away in Scotland. So we were only able to talk on the phone. However, we made what turned out to be good progress and Jamie headed off to Switzerland with my Winning Golf recordings on his iPhone and stared listening to them every day.

The three week plan kept extending after Jamie tied 4th in the Swiss Challenge and then had three more top ten finishes in the next six tournaments. He was now 78 under par for his first 7 events since we started working together. That’s when he did the interview for the article in The Scotsman.

Jamie’s success in tying 2nd in the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Dubai and winning his European Tour Card has been well documented on Sky Television, the European Tour website and in the press. However, the prize for the most outrageous article title has to go to The Herald newspaper in Scotland for, “Why a man called Fogg is due a huge thank-you from Jamie McLeary“!

I’ll leave you with a quote from Jamie’s interview with The Scotsman:

“I started working with a hypnotist, Andrew Fogg, the day after I missed qualifying for the Open by a shot after leading through one round [at North Berwick]. I felt my game was good but I had far too much negative self talk going on. I now listen to the files of him talking every night while I fall asleep and wake up every day feeling great. I started feeling confident almost instantly and even when I play average I shoot a couple under. Due to this I feel great about the end of the season. I’m starting to close in on the top 15 and finishing the season off well is a plus. I also managed to secure a sponsorship deal for the next five years with Asset Assured. They’re a financial investment organisation from Aberdeen. They’ve given me the peace of mind to just go out and play golf.”

If you’d like to share in Jamie McLeary’s success with Golf Hypnosis, have a look at Winning Golf and the other programmes at my Golf Hypnotist Store website.

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I’ve been working for a couple of months with a very promising young golfer who’s been working this winter on taking a major step forward with his game. He’s making the transition from amateur golf to building a career as a tournament professional.

Now, he clearly has the golf game and has built up an enviable team of coaches including, in my opinion, the best and most innovative swing coach in the world today. He also has the benefit of working with one of the worlds best Mental Game coaches in the world: a four time world record holder and Olympic Gold medallist. No, that’s not me!

When we started working together …
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So what makes so many of the world’s top golfers look so nonchalant, especially during the last nine on Sunday, when they are really trying to win? Well, it obviously includes technical golfing skill, course management and an understanding of the physics of golf. However, when I first work on the course with some of my new clients, I see golfers who have all those things and more. The problem is that they’re not yet winning or coming in the top 10 very often.

What makes the difference …
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As a golf psychologist using hypnosis and NLP, I am often asked about the merits of taking swing thoughts or keys out onto the golf course when they play. I’m thinking here about some of the classic ones like “keep your head down”, “keep your eye on the ball”, “swing back in one piece”, “left shoulder under the chin”, etc.

Now, my major concern about swing thoughts and keys is not so much about their content, but rather about when you think of them. Some would argue that there’s no place for them at all during a round of golf and they should be confined to the practice ground. While I broadly agree with this, I feel it’s more important to eliminate conscious thoughts about the swing once you step in to address the ball.

There are parts of a golfer’s routine that require conscious though and there are parts where it’s better to trust your unconscious …
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There’s nothing wrong with striving for perfection, just as long as recognise that Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, to quote Bob Rotella. That’s why I stress the importance of acceptance and release in the Post-Shot Routine. It’s also why I so liked Nick Faldo’s comment about Tiger Woods “hitting the reset button” after a bad shot that made him angry.

Even with their well polished mechanics and a good understanding of ball flight physics, the top players still hit a less than perfect shot every now and then. Even if they don’t actually hit a bad shot, the course and conditions and outside agencies can turn a good shot into a bad one. We even have a term for that in golf – “Rub of the Green”.

So what else do the top players do when they experience one or more bad or unlucky shots? Well, I was listening to Rory McIlroy giving a clinic to a large group of young players at the Grand Final of the Faldo Series. Someone asked, to a ripple of laughter, “If you can’t stop making bogeys, how do you bounce back on the next hole?” …
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Strangely for someone who promotes the benefits of Unconscious Golf, I’ve always been fascinated with golfing statistics, especially about my putting! One thing I always seemed to notice was that I played better in certain forms of golf than others, especially with particular partners in foursome and fourball golf.

Well, I always seemed to putt better when I had a playing partner, so I’ll set aside 2-ball match play and stroke play for the moment. Now that I come to think about it, I generally seemed to putt better when I had a partner than when I was just playing for myself.

So why did I putt better with certain partners than I did with others? Well I fairly certain that I putted better when I played with a confident partner who I trusted to read my putts for me. The odd thing is that the partner I remember putting best with was not in my league in terms of handicap. He just seemed to read greens instinctively and he was certainly a good putter. He knew my putting style and trusted my judgement of distance, so he simply told me where to aim and I holed the putts – far more than my fair share.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone like that caddying for you now, I hear you say …
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Have you noticed how some people can just walk onto a green, take a cursory glance around and then hole a simply unbelievable breaking putt? I don’t know if you’ve holed one or two like that yourself. I’m sure you have, if you cast your mind back. It happens with other shots as well. Think about that amazing horseshoe chip that Tiger Woods holed on the 16th at the Masters a few years ago. Even with all his talent, I’m sure he didn’t honestly expect to hole it, but I suspect that he did intend to. That’s more than enough direction for the unconscious instinctive mind to work on, unhindered by doubt.

The older they get, the more golfers tend to forget how easy putting really is. They also forget how good they used to putt when they were younger and more carefree. You often hear the golf pundits on television talking about how some or other up and coming young professional hasn’t yet learned how difficult putting really is. They sometimes go on to talk about how the accumulation of years of missed putts slowly frazzles the nerves and undermines the confidence of the older and more experienced golfers. Maybe that’s how they justify their own inability to maintain their competitiveness on the tour. It’s small wonder that they’re now commentating rather than playing.

I work regularly with an American Senior Professional Golfer …
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Learn the Six Steps to Unconscious Putting, a key part of the pre-shot routine that Darren Clarke used so effectively at Royal St Georges in wining the Open Championship.

Unusually for me, there are no instructions here about using any formal self hypnosis technique before following these six steps. You’ll usually be using this technique as you transition from the conscious process of planning your putt in your pre-shot routine to the, hopefully, unconscious process of stroking the putt in your shot routine. Having said that, if you’re an experienced user of the “Finger Breathing technique, you’ll only need a couple of deep breaths at this point to get into just the right state.

Step 1:
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Shortly after first publishing my technique for “Six Steps to Better Putting in Your Unconscious Mind” over a year ago, I was surprised and delighted a few weeks later to see Darren Clarke using virtually the same technique in his dramatic return to form to finish second at Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

I remember avoiding the suggestion, at the time, that Darren started doing that after he or one of his support team read about it in my ezine. However, it was obviously helping him in overcoming some of the “demons” that seemed to be afflicting his putting confidence back then. The six steps and his action back then of gripping left hand low and then re-gripping right hand low were clearly keeping his conscious mind occupied while just trusting his unconscious mind to hit the putts. …
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Well that’s the opinion of two senior marketing executives who’ve been telling the golf industry about my success as the Golf Hypnotist. I think they may be a bit over zealous in describing me as, “the UK’s leading golf hypnosis expert”. How do you measure that? However, they are clearly impressed with the help I gave them in overcoming their Yips problems.

Here’s what GOLFMagic had to say in the Instruction Articles section of their website under a dramatic headline and a rather worrying sub-heading! There’s a similar article on the Golfshake.com website.


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