Apr
21

Golf hypnosis leads to success over the Inner Game of Golf

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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.

What Colin didn’t teach me was anything about the mental side of golf. Pros didn’t teach those things then and in many cases still don’t now. He did give me every encouragement and always told me what I was doing well with my swing before suggesting a few small improvements. What a contrast to a few later coaches who seemed to delight in focussing on what I was doing wrong before giving me a long list of the changes “you have to make…”

Although I had progressed through some really good coaches over the next 15 years and read a library full of golf instruction books, I was still “trying” to develop a consistent swing when I started to hear about golf psychology. One of the first really good books on the subject I came across was The Inner Game of Golf.

I read Timothy Gallwey’s book from cover to cover so many times it fell apart. What’s more it seemed to work when I remembered to follow the instructions. The problem was that the only time it seemed to work with any consistency was on the practice range when I was hitting shots repeatedly without thinking too much about the target and there were no hazards and opponents to think about. Mind you, it didn’t work on the practice range if I was working on one of the many swing ideas that my teachers regularly gave me.

On the course, I simply forgot to remember to follow the instructions on every shot as I was too preoccupied with every thing else that was going on and “trying”, that word again, to keep my swing together.

This “forgetting to remember” problem seems to apply, at least for me, to every golf psychology book, DVD, CD and MP3 recording I’ve used since and I’ve got a library full of them. I’m sure that the many of these products would work for me if I had someone to remind me to follow the instructions every time I play a shot, but I don’t have a caddy to remind me. That’s why I came up with the idea for my “Your Own Virtual Caddy” golf hypnosis programme that comes free when you sign up for my Golf Hypnotist Ezine.

It seems that I’m not the only one to recognise this problem in that a number of golf psychologists have devised drills to help remind you to remember what to do. One of the most creative comes from Dr Karl Morris’s “Golf – The Mind Factor” and his “Circle Game”, where you circle the hole number on your score card after each hole, if you remember all the things you wanted to on every shot in the round. You know how well you’re doing by the number if circles at the end of the round. The problem is that it doesn’t work and when I challenged him at one of his clinics, Karl said that circling just a few holes per round would be a real sign of progress. It didn’t sound like he expected me to succeed with it on every hole.

So what’s my solution? Well it won’t surprise you to hear that it involves hypnosis, self-hypnosis and your unconscious golf programming. Unless you are seriously ill, you don’t have to remember to perform other unconscious tasks like breathing, controlling your body temperature, digesting the food you’ve eaten or to ride a bicycle, assuming you already learned how to. So why not install the things you want to remember as unconscious programming. You can learn to remember this way by years of consistent practice or overnight with hypnosis. With an unconscious approach, you won’t forget to remember what to do.

I’ll be writing more about this in future posts and especially in my forthcoming book “The Secrets of Hypnotic Golf.”

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