Archive for Pre Shot Routine

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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In this second blog post on Best Practice for Better Golf, I’m addressing Warming Up for Winning Golf.

Winning Golf Hypnosis

Now, I don’t think I have to tell you or any experienced golfer about the benefits of gradually warming up your body before every round of golf. However, I do think you need to do something to “warm up” your golfing mind at the same time. Exploring what types of shot are working well for you today, will also help your scoring. Remember, this is a time to learn about making the most of the game you’ve brought to the course, not a time to fix faults or make swing changes. …
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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 …
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I’m delighted to announce the completion and launch of the sixth of my new golf hypnosis programmes, “Golf in the Playing Zone”. It’s been a dream of mine to help people to get into the zone when they play golf, especially around their in the Playing Zone, and now, here it is. I’ve subtitled the new MP3 program, Anchor Hypnosis Unconsciously for Golf in the Playing Zone and Silence your Inner Critic, and it’s available to purchase now from the Golf Hypnotist Store.

Golf in the Playing Zone This new “Golf in the Playing Zone” programme is available in MP3 format for download, with the three long and powerful golf hypnosis sessions, each running for around 22-32 minutes. I developed the individual sessions on similar lines to the “Your Own Virtual Caddy” programme, so you’re getting more than three times the hypnosis from each programme. I have outlined the purpose of each track later in this email.

I will also be publishing a further 4 more new Golf Hypnosis MP3 audio programmes over the next month or so. As with the other new programmes, I will be including at least 3 new golf hypnosis sessions in each programme.

Although the programme names may change a little before release, here is the full list, for now:


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I’m reading a recent New Scientist article talking about the Five emotions you never knew you had and I’m starting to think about how our emotions influence our golf. And they’re influencing us every time we play.

Now I’m sure that like the rest of us, you’re experiencing all sorts of emotions every minute of every day of your life. It’s a key element of living whether we are playing golf or doing something less important.

So what are these emotions I’m talking about? Well, as the article says, we all see different ones, but the consensus seems to include what psychologists apparently call the Big Six – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, Surprise and Disgust. Well they all crop up on a regular basis in golf, now don’t they? And they all appear either as desires or problems with many of the people who seek help from golf psychologists. My new book, The Secrets of Hypnotic Golf
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Do you talk to yourself when you’re playing golf? Well, if you don’t, you may have a serious problem. It’s called brain death! Self-talk, otherwise known as internal dialogue or intrapersonal communication, is one of the main functions of our conscious mind. It allows us to make sense of our conflicting thoughts and to express our ideas and feelings to ourselves. Most of the time we talk to ourselves internally and sometimes, particularly after a bad shot, we share our self-talk with everyone in earshot. That can be a large distance with some of the golfer’s I’ve played with!

Self talk really comes into its own when we are internally analysing and evaluating complex choices in our lives. A good example is when you are starting your pre-shot routine and deciding on the type of shot you’re going to play. Have you ever had one voice in your head proposing an ambitious shot with a driver and another one encouraging you to make a more conservative shot with an iron? Don’t worry about it. It’s perfectly normal and unlikely to be a symptom of schizophrenia!

Now, I’ve often written about the concept that whatever we consciously think about our unconscious mind does it’s best to deliver. And self-talk is the most powerful and influential mechanism for conscious thought …
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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 …
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