Archive for Bob Rotella

Have you ever had one of those days when you played better golf than normal, despite having your mind clearly focussed somewhere other than golf. Maybe it’s when there’s something exciting or absorbing going on in your life that has nothing to do with golf. At the other extreme, it could be a time when you’re feeling ill or worried about yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “beware the sick golfer” and that’s what was said about Y E Yang when he shot a 7-under par 65 on the Friday of the Chevron World Challenge. Afterwards, he related the experience to what happened at qualifying school in 2008 when “I had a huge headache because I was under a lot of mental stress.” This time, he went on, “I still have a headache, but it’s more because of illness, not because of any pressure or stress.” Another good example was Tiger Woods winning the 2008 US Open despite the obvious pain from his knee.

So what’s happening here? Well, if your mind is focussed elsewhere, it’s your conscious mind that’s doing the focussing, whether it’s worrying about your health, doubting whether you should be out here on the golf course or just thinking about what you’ll be doing after the game. The only part of you that’s free to think about golf is your unconscious golf mind and trusting your unconscious is one of the most important and effective of my secrets of hypnotic golf …
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As a golf psychologist, I’m regularly asked by clients about what they should be thinking about in their golf mind when they’re actually swinging the club or stroking a putt. Many of them will have some sort of pre-shot routine that prepares them to some degree for the shot they’re about to make. A smaller number will also include some sort of visualisation of the shot they want to hit. However, very few will be thinking about that visualisation when they actually hit the ball.

So what are they thinking about when they hit the shot? Well, a lot of them are consciously thinking about some aspect of their swing mechanics and that doesn’t work at all well, because your conscious mind doesn’t work fast enough to control your golf swing.

Have you noticed how when you hit a really good shot, you can’t remember what you were consciously thinking about in your golf mind. You just trusted your unconscious mind and the shot just seemed to happen. If you were throwing a ball to someone for them to catch, I doubt if you’d start thinking about how you move your arm to throw the ball …
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I hear that Darren Clarke’s looking for putting improvement through golf psychology and working again with Bob Rotella. I know that Darren has worked in the past with Golf Psychologist Dr Karl Morris – after all, I’ve read Golf – The Mind Factor, the book they published together back in 2005. However, for some reason I didn’t know that he’d worked with Bob Rotella.

I can’t say how delighted I am to see Darren’s back competing in the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black after qualifying as one of the top 15 in the European Money List last year. He’s only played in the US Open once, in 2006 at Winged Foot, since he pulled out at Pinehurst in 2005 to be with his wife who was seriously ill.

Moving back to Darren’s putting psychology problems, I was interested to hear that he has considered putting to be his Achilles heel for most of his career …
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Back in the late 90s and early in the twenty-first century, when I started getting really interested in golf psychology, it seemed that the question everyone was asking was, “Who is Jos Vanstiphout?” At the 2002 Open at Muirfield, he was sharing his talents with both players in the play-off, Ernie Els and Thomas Levet. He was reported as having other irons in the fire that week, with clients including Retief Goosen, Soren Hansen, Sergio Garcia, Michael Campbell and Darren Clarke and quite a few others. As a betting man, he had good odds of backing a winner.

So, what exactly did Jos do for his clients? Well, they gave him lots of credit for their success – Retief Goosen handing him much of the credit for his US Open Win at Southern Hills in 2001. But what was he actually doing with his clients to help them …
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When people write about the top professionals, they tend to talk about the externally visible aspect of their game – their swing technique. Those same writers rarely tell you about the golf mind golf secrets of those same professionals.

So what about Jack Nicklaus and 90% of golf in the mind?

When I started out in golf in the late 60’s I recall hearing Jack Nicklaus talk on TV about golf being 90% in the mind. However, when I eagerly read his first book, The Greatest Game of All published in 1969, I found very little information about golf psychology. In fact, two thirds of the book was biographical and the remaining third was about the golf swing. Maybe that was what the public wanted to hear or what Herbert Warren Wind, his co-writer, wanted to write about …
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Now I’m really looking forward to some unconscious golf at Doral over the weekend, but I’m not sure what sort of spectacle it’s going to be with players like Mike Weir allegedly “going unconscious” – doesn’t sound like a lot of action there.

To be fair, the article I’ve just read from Lorne Rubenstein at Globe and Mail talks about the advice that Bob Rotella is giving Mike Weir in preparation for this weekend’s World Golf Championships. And any advice from Bob is usually good advice. You can read Lorne’s article at “Trying to ‘go unconscious’ on the course”

I talk a lot in my golf hypnosis work about the difference between the conscious and the unconscious mind in my work and I truly believe that better golf is played in the unconscious mind – by being in the zone, as it’s more commonly called. …
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