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Newsletter August 2016

The past few years I have been watching the Jutanugarn sisters Ariya and Moriya play their way up through the amateur ranks of women’s golf to become winners on the professional Tours. 

Moriya and Ariya grew up in Bankok, Thailand where their parents own a golf pro shop. The sisters love to compete against each other and have always known that they wanted to be professional golfers. Moriya is the older sister by 16 months. Both have victories on the junior and women’s amateur and professional tours. They travel together to tournaments with their parents who handle their business and financial affairs.

At age 11, Ariya qualified for the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand. She was the youngest golfer ever to qualify for an LPGA Tour event. She turned professional at the end of 2012. And now she is the first golfer from Thailand, male or female, to win one of golf’s major titles. She also made history by breaking the 54-hole Women’s British Open record of 200, by scoring 16-under par. 

Jutanugarn had a five shot lead through the 8th hole last Sunday, and it looked as if she would run away with the win. However, she bogeyed the 9th hole, and followed with a double bogey on the 13th to cut her lead to one stroke. She bounced back by draining a 20 foot putt for birdie at the par 3, 17th hole for a 2-stroke lead and a 3-stroke win on 18.  She said, "I wanted to make myself happy by making the putt on 17."

In the LPGA ANA Inspiration Tournament in California in March 2016, Ariya made bogey on her last three holes to finish fourth behind Lydia Ko. After that loss she revamped her mental game and learned to manage her emotions. Jutanugarn told the media; "But I'm pretty sure I learned a lot from that, also, because like after I feel nervous, I know what I have to do. Like last few holes, I tried to be patient and to commit to my shots."

Her new attitude was to have fun. She put a trigger into her pre-shot routine to keep her from feeling nervous under the pressure. That trigger was to smile. It was obvious as we watched that she prepared for each shot with a smile on her face.

When you smile your body’s chemistry changes. You feel more relaxed as your mind gets the signal from your facial muscles and releases endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy. Researchers have found that smiling during periods of stress help to reduce the body’s stress response whether the person feels happy or not. 

Endorphin is a combination of the words "endogenou" (produced within the body) and "morphine." Endorphins are brain chemicals which transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. They are the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals which trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to that of morphine. They interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce the perception of pain and stress and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria.

I played with a gal who was struggling with her golf game. The “wheels had come off” and she was unable to swing with any consistency. She asked me to tell her what she was doing wrong and to help her “fix” her golf swing. Instead I suggested that she smile before each shot. After a couple of holes she was hitting the ball well with a big smile on her face. I told her she didn’t need to put a smile on her face, that smiling inside was all she needed to do. She said she was having so much fun that she wanted to smile and laugh even more. Golf became fun once again for her by using this simple procedure.

Smile. It's free therapy. Use it. It works!


Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Brain for Peak Performances


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