Archive for Phil Mickelson

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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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 …
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Here’s a brief video with some interesting thoughts on golf psychology of self talk and how it can affect your golf by Dave Stockton. I found it last week when I was looking to find out more about Dave and the putting tip he gave Phil Mickelson the week before his amazing win the Tour Championship at East Lake

I particularly like the concept of sitting in your office or at home rehearsing all the unpleasant things you’re going to say to yourself when you’re out on the golf course. If that sounds utterly ridiculous, then why do so many of us talk to ourselves so badly when we hit a bad shot? If one of our playing partners said the same thing, we’d probable decide then and there not to ever play with them again.

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So praise yourself for every good shot you hit and learn from and release any bad shot before you start getting abusive. You’ll enjoy your golf more and play better.

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Now you know I almost always write about the conscious and unconscious golf mind in my articles and rarely, if ever, say anything about the technical aspects of the golf swing or putting stroke in my blog.

Well today is different, as the man who can give such an effective putting tip that it helps Phil Mickelson to win the Tour Championship just has to be seen and heard. So here’s a brief video of Dave Stockton describing his approach to putting.

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Don’t worry, as I’ll be back on track with Golf Psychology and Golf Hypnosis in my next article.

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There were some amazing golf and putting psychology lessons on show with Phil Mickelson’s stunning win at the Tour Championship at East Lake this weekend. Yes I know Tiger won the FedEx Cup and the $10 million with an amazingly consistent series of results. But given Phil’s year, both on and especially off the course, his victory on Sunday was a simply joyous and breathtaking turnaround. Phil had looked out of sorts in recent weeks and after his quadruple bogey 8 on the 14th hole in the first round, I had sadly anticipated him failing again over the weekend.

You’ve probably heard about Phil’s putting woes and his comments about how "I’ve hit the ball so well and yet my scores haven’t reflected that." You’ve probably also heard about how "Bones" Mackay, Phil’s longstanding caddie, urged him to get help the week before the Tour Championship from Dave Stockton, one of the best putters in golf and twice a major winner. As if those weren’t sufficient reasons, Stockton also putts a bit like Phil does when he’s at his best.

So what major flaws did Dave Stockton notice in Phil’s putting stroke and what major changes did he prescribe …
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Improving your golf enjoyment has more to do with the golf psychology of addressing the reasons why you play golf at all than with addressing all the things you’re trying to fix in your golf swing.

I’ve been out of the office a lot this week and without the means of posting on this blog. The good news is that I’ve had some time to think about golf and the general trend of my posts here.

One theme that comes up a lot in my thoughts and in my writing is the idea that one of the main reasons for most people playing golf is the pursuit of enjoyment, both for ourselves and the people we play with. As a golf psychologist, this is also my primary motivation in my working life and it’s reflected in my mission, as a hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner, of helping people to do things better and get more enjoyment out of the things they do in life and in golf …
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How do you get effective competitive golf practice when you play golf on your own? This is a problem facing many of my clients. For a variety of perfectly good reasons, many of my clients play a lot of practice rounds of golf on their own, perhaps grabbing a few holes when they get home from work or when they might otherwise be just raking balls on the driving range.

Now, I’ve been writing an article today for the next edition of my …
Golf Hypnotist Ezine and it reminded me that many of my clients prefer to play on their own when they’re working on their game. They often find it embarrassing to play with someone else when they’re integrating a new swing idea from their golf pro or working on a golf psychology homework task I’ve given them Click here to read the full post »

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Have you noticed that the winners on the professional golf tours around the world aren’t always technically or statistically the best players. They often don’t even look like the best player over the four rounds the week they win. Now, I know that’s a contradiction, because if they win the event, then they must be the best in that event.

Going back a few weeks to the 2009 Masters, no one would suggest that Kenny Perry, Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell were the best players in the field, but they were the one’s that got into the playoff, despite their obvious mistakes. Many of the technically and statistically better players looked to be playing really well, but despite some amazing heroics from the likes of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, none of them came near getting into the playoff …
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So who’s using hypnosis to improve their golf performance – apart from Tiger Woods and maybe Phil Mickelson? Well, taking first things first, it’s difficult to be sure who’s using hypnosis because most people who do don’t want to let on. Why’s that? Well firstly, they want to keep the competitive edge that golf hypnosis gives them to themselves. Secondly, although it’s becoming acceptable for a top golfer to admit to using a mind coach, their marketing people are still wary of saying they use golf psychology or, worse still, hypnosis – that’s all to “new age.” You only have to look at the comments of Angel Cabrera, a real man’s man, after he won the Masters, “Now I don’t have a sports psychologist and I don’t smoke.”

If a golfer won’t tell you he’s using hypnosis, then what are the signs to look for to know he or she is? Well let’s take Tiger Woods as our first example. I’ve not heard him say that he uses hypnosis or read anything that confirms that he’s admitted it. However, just watch the controlled and methodical series of blinks he makes just before stepping into every shot. If that’s not a hypnotic trigger or anchor …
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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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