Archive for Mental Golf

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 …
Click here to read the full post »

In this fifth and final blog post in this series on practicing for golf, I’m addressing the subject of Best Practice Rounds for Better Golf.

Practice Rounds
© Phartisan

Now, it’s not that uncommon for enthusiastic golfers to play a practice round before playing an unfamiliar course. Maybe it’s to help them play their best in a friendly game or to score their best in an upcoming competition.

Either way, you generally have so much more time for mental and general practice than you do for actual practice on the courses you are going to compete on. That means that you really have to make the most of those practice rounds and gather as much information as you can to help you with your mental and general physical practice. …
Click here to read the full post »

In this fourth blog post in the series on practice, I’ll be talking about Best Mental Practice for Better Golf, a favourite subject of mine – for obvious reasons.

Mental Practice

Research shows that the act of “Imagining” yourself doing something fires up the identical parts of the brain that would be activated if you were actually doing it. So if you’re imagining yourself playing golf, the neurons you’re using in your brain are the very same ones that you’re using when you’re physically playing the game. Indeed, some of the actual muscles involved in playing a real shot are activated and make the same movements at a barely noticeable level. You really do “physically” practice your swing when you imagine hitting the ball and you have no reason to hit a bad shot when you’re practicing and playing in your imagination. …
Click here to read the full post »

Better Golf with Less Practice

How do you make the most of extra time to practice your golf? What’s the best way to practice for better golf? Those are questions a lot of my clients have been asking me in recent weeks. For some it’s the long summer evenings, for others it’s holiday time and, for a lucky few, it’s about devoting themselves to playing golf full time.

Whatever your reason, one of the first things to consider is what form of practice will help you the most. Remember that practice doesn’t just have to be confined to beating balls on the range. What about …
Click here to read the full post »

Effective visualisation is one of the key golf psychology tools for improving your golf score and your enjoyment of the game. It’s also one of the secrets of hypnotic golf. However, for most people, including me until recently, that visualisation tends to be two dimensional, a bit like looking through the viewfinder of a camera or at a picture on a television screen. Yes, I know that I could imagine some depth perspective, but what if I couldn’t actually see the bottom of the pin over that high lip of the bunker at the front of the green. That meant that I was looking at the lip of the bunker in my minds eye and then having to mentally add some more for the distance between the lip and flag. That’s too complicated for my golf mind!

You may remember my recent article about mental foursomes practice with golf hypnosis the other week. Now shortly after writing that I was watching a rerun on television of a recent US PGA Tour event and enjoying the overhead pictures from the blimp, when I had a sudden flash of inspiration. Why not visualise my shots in 3D and incorporate an overhead shot of how I visualised the shot I was about to play. It sounded difficult until I realised that if I can see it on TV, then surely I can visualise it. After all, I already had the overhead view on the course planner, so why couldn’t I incorporate it in my pre-shot routine visualisation and mental golf practice.

So, later that evening I took myself into a light trance using self-hypnosis and played an imaginary round of golf at Beaconsfield, my home course. I visualised playing every hole and every shot in 3D, even the putts. It worked great and I couldn’t wait to take the idea to the course …
Click here to read the full post »

Golf instructors often talk about the transition in the golf swing as that pause between completing the backswing and starting the downswing. They often suggest that slowing down the transition is one of the most important keys to hitting a good shot.

Well, I’m not qualified to comment on the technicalities of the golf swing. However, I am qualified to comment on what for me is an even more important transition in golf psychology. It’s the transition from the conscious analytical planning phase of your pre-shot routine to the unconscious instinctive phase of actually hitting the ball. Unlike the pause at the top of the backswing, the faster you can comfortably make this transition, the better and more consistently you’ll find yourself striking the ball or rolling the putt.

If you watch the top players in the world, like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, you’ll notice that they take very little time between taking their chosen club out of the bag and hitting the ball …
Click here to read the full post »

Practicing golf in your mind, mental golf if you like, is just as effective as playing golf and physical practice on the range, if you want to play better golf. As I’ve written many times before, it also works a lot better when accompanied by golf hypnosis and other golf psychology techniques.

But there’s a problem. How do you imagine hitting shots from difficult lies if you’re playing an imaginary round? Surely you’d have to hit bad imaginary shots in order to get into the difficult positions. Wouldn’t that be bad golf psychology?

When you play golf for real, you’ll probably hit the odd bad shot now and then. Hopefully, you’re already using a good post-shot routine, so you’ll be able to learn from the bad shot and release it to the past. It can’t hurt you there. Maybe you could use the "Reset Button" technique Nick Faldo spoke of when commentating on Tiger Woods the other week …
Click here to read the full post »

If I were to ask you what you do between shots during a round of golf, you’d probably think I was missing the point. After all, golf psychology and teaching should be all about helping you to hit better shots and putts during a round of golf or in practice, shouldn’t it? This applies whether you’re working with a teaching pro helping you with your golf swing or with a golf psychologist, like me, helping to improve your mental approach to golf.

So what do you actually do in the time between assessing and hitting your shots and putts? It really should take a lot less than a minute on average to size up a shot, decide on how to play it, set up to the ball and hit it. I seem to recall from somewhere that the US PGA allows 45 seconds for all this per shot and very few people take that long over a short putt. So all that should add up to a maximum of 54 minutes actually playing golf to go round in 72 strokes and 72 minutes to go round in 90 strokes. If you take just 4 hours to play a round then you’re not actually playing for approximately 3 hours in every 18 holes …
Click here to read the full post »

Still tied up with half-term duties, so just a quick post today to say how delighted I was last night to see Ian Baker-Finch open his return to Colonial and his return to competitive golf with a 68 – that must have taken some guts and some powerful golf-psychology work.

Now, whatever Ian does in today’s second round doesn’t matter, he’s made it back to the game he loves – and in a classy way. That said, seeing him make the cut and have a good result at the weekend will be wonderful for him, and the world of golf. I’ll be glued to the television this evening to give Ian my support.

Come on Nick Faldo; don’t let Ian beat you in the comeback stakes. We like to hear you both as commentators, but we’d much rather hear your clubs do the talking.

I’ve just been reading about Nick Faldo returning to competitive golf to play in the Open at Turnberry. It reminded me about his focussed determination on the golf course and prompted me to do a bit of research into his attitudes to golf psychology.

I’ve seen Nick playing at very close hand and even played with him in an open amateur tournament, the Hertfordshire Stag, at Moor Park back in the 70’s. I recall that it was just a couple of months before he turned professional and I was amazed at his confidence and scoring ability. I felt like I outplayed and outscored him both morning and afternoon. The scorecard told a different tale with me scoring to my handicap with a couple of 76’s against an SSS of 74 and Nick scoring well below par in both rounds.

Coming back to Nick’s current attitude to golf psychology, I’m particularly in agreement with Nick’s emphasis on not using the word "Don’t" when thinking and talking about your shot – "don’t hit it in the trees"; "don’t hit it in the water"; etc. As Nick reminds us, your unconscious golf mind doesn’t know the meaning of "don’t" and does its best to deliver what you are thinking about – "hit it in the trees"; etc. I also like his ideas around visualising the shot you want to play, making a rehearsal swing to achieve that shot and then hitting it.

I’m certainly looking forward to watching Nick playing at Turnberry.