Archive for Shot Routine

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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I’ve been thinking about the application of golf psychology to the issue of the swing thought. In other words, what do you and should you be thinking about when you actually swing the club. It seems that every time I watch someone play they seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time fidgeting with their grip, their stance or their play. The more time they take to get round to swinging the club, the more likely they are to hit a bad shot. One golfer I met recently admitted to almost running between shots so that he has adequate time available to fidget over the ball.

The average golfer is often preoccupied with his current set of – sometimes conflicting – technical swing thoughts, from coaches, books, websites and golf magazines and TV programmes. And even if he isn’t, someone may have given him a set of the tee pegs I saw recently that had different swing thoughts printed on each one!

Now to be absolutely clear, I do believe that you should take adequate time to consciously plan your shots before stepping up to the ball and taking your stance. And this should include time to fully visualise and rehearse the shot or putt that you are about to make. I’ve written before about Jack Nicklaus describing how he’s never hit a shot without first seeing himself playing it …
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