As we approach the end of the summer golf season, many of you will be competing in your club championships, county championships or other major tournaments. In that regard, this newsletter is geared to helping you with mental tools to become the winner. As my gift to you, if you order the Positive Mental Imagery CD “Confidence to Win Golf Tournaments” (www.pmi4.com/cart) by August 23rd, I will send you the complete written PMI Tournament Preparation instructions.
What is intuition? According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “intuition is quick and ready insight, the power or faculty of knowing things without conscious reasoning.” If you have ever played “in the zone” you experienced this heightened sense of intuition when you ”saw” the line on the putting green, or visualized your shot previous to hitting it, or just “knew” which club to hit without consciously figuring it out.
We all have a 6th sense that helps us to make the right decisions. Right brain people who are mostly women, use their senses and intuition to make non-logical but generally accurate decisions. Men have always used intuition as well. They may call it a “gut feeling” or a hunch.” If you have trouble trusting your intuition know that paying attention to it will help you in your decision-making.
Stewart Cink, the 36-year old, 4-time Ryder Cupper from Georgia made 6 birdies and 4 bogies for a 69 to win the British Open at Turnberry, Scotland, July 26, 2009. He described his win this way -- “I play a lot of feel-type shots. It’s kind of a gut-instinct-type golf. I don’t have the flashiest short game. . . I don’t hit many fairways. I just play golf. I play it how I find it.”
All throughout our schooling we were taught to solve problems with analytical, logical, linear reasoning. This involves only the left side of your brain. To play golf at your peak performance levels, you must also access the right brain to see and feel the whole swing and entire process rather than just the details. When you are in the zone state, this happens automatically and sends these images down through your neurological system to your muscles.
Listening to your intuition also helps to build confidence. When you trust in yourself, you become self-confident. Many people don’t trust in these feelings because they don’t understand how these thoughts surface, or they question which ones should be trusted and which should be ignored. The more you trust your intuitive messages and see the positive results, the more confident you will feel about yourself and your abilities.
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock
Golf is a game of paradoxes. You must swing easy to hit your drives far, and you must let go of wanting to score well to be able to score well. Trusting your intuition and letting go of control means moving beyond the familiar. It means transcending your fears and self-consciousness. You must have a sense of what is possible and dare to make the kinds of shots that might lead to a low score.
Camilo Villegas was asked what he does differently when he needs a big drive. He answered, “I try to get my body more relaxed. I want to be comfortable and very loose, not only at address but everywhere. I think about my breathing, because it keeps me loose. The more relaxed you are, the more speed you get.”
It is important to let go of being self-absorbed, and being concerned with the results of what may or may not happen. When you “try” to control the results, you stifle your original plan and keep the mental and physical energy from moving.
Challenging situations on the golf course require the most grace under pressure. The more challenging the conditions are, the more difficult it is to remember to concentrate by deep breathing. In a problem situation our reaction is usually to raise our adrenalin level to move us out of the embarrassing situation quickly. As soon as you tell yourself not to do something you need to clear your mind by deep breathing. This is when you must remain calm and centered. Through deep breathing you access your intuition where your attention and alertness are focused on the present situation.
Webster’s dictionary defines trust as “Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone.”
In golf, trust is knowing that you:
n believe in yourself
n believe in your abilities
n believe in your unlimited potential
n believe that you can improve
n believe that you can stay calm and focused.
"It is better to believe than to disbelieve; in so doing you bring everything to the realm of possibility." -- Albert Einstein
When you believe in your own creative power you will be in more control of your life and your golf game. When you stop judging, and follow your intuition your mind and body will be more flexible. Your game will be a whole lot easier when you trust enough to give up the need to control. When you listen and follow the intuitive directions you will have peace of mind.
THE DISTRACTION OF FEAR
I especially enjoy watching the amazing children on the TV show, America’s Got Talent who sing and dance in front of a huge audience with such composure and confidence. They show us that they are not only interested in winning, but they really enjoy using their talents to entertain us. Like all world-class athletes they share their gifts from their hearts, doing what they are passionate about.
I suspect that all golfers at some time in their careers have experienced the fear of not being good enough, of being judged by others watching them, and of not living up to their expectations. These are all thoughts that bring up the feeling of rejection, which distracts you from being calm, relaxed and able to access your intuition.
When you are preparing to play in your tournament, here are some positive affirmations to help you focus on the process and move you toward success:
n I enjoy swinging with perfect ease and tempo to drive the ball further.
n I enjoy swinging my fairway clubs with a smooth, well-timed rhythm.
n I know that feel and timing create well-struck iron shots.
n I visualize the shot I desire in my pre-shot routine.
n I am confident of the spot I have chosen to land the ball on the green.
n I enjoy hitting pitch shots with ease.
n I am confident I can pitch over hazards successfully.
n I know intuitively where to land the ball on the green for maximum results.
n I know intuitively the line on the green and confidently roll the ball on the line.
n I am improving my mental and physical golf skills daily.
n I know my tempo improves with proper deep breathing.
n I know that focus and concentration are achieved through deep breathing.
When asked what he relied on to win, Bobby Jones said, “Instincts. Instincts I honed after practice combined with playing. The more I depended on those Instincts - the more I kept conscious control out of mind - the more nearly the shot came off the way I visualized it.”
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