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Newsletter March 2024

The challenge for golfers is to make the game as consistent as they can through mental and physical understanding and training. Is your pursuit fun or frustrating?

Life and golf are natural processes of ebbs and flows, ups and downs. Life and golf constantly present challenges for us to learn and grow. Everything that occurs, that has occurred, is occurring, and will occur in the future is the outward physical manifestation of your innermost thoughts, choices, ideas, and determinations about who you are and who you choose to be.

Golf is a metaphor for life because it has the same perpetual challenge of not being able to achieve perfection. The only constant is change. Every golfer who has experienced their peak performance wonders what happened when they couldn't sustain that level of great play. As your golf game improves, the lows of the cycles will be shallower, and the highs will be greater. When your game is at low ebb, that is the time when you are challenged to grow, to learn more and to move toward greater improvement and bigger successes.

We see the world as we perceive it. Your perception determines whether you see a four-foot putt for par as easy or as scary. Your success on the golf course and in your daily life is determined by the way you perceive and handle the challenges, frustrations, excitement, failure, and success. Your golf game reflects your inner self. It mirrors the way you deal with performance anxiety, pressure, honesty, and responsibility. The game will show you how disciplined, focused, relaxed and in control you really are when it counts.     

While some golfers have more athletic ability than others, every person can benefit from developing mental skills to improve their lives and their golf games. Some of the organizational skills for quality of life and improved golf are goal setting, discernment, adopting positive attitudes and beliefs, relaxation techniques, decision making, and enjoying life/golf in the moment.

When you hear yourself repeating a negative thought from your past, change the thought in your mind to a positive one. Golfers play golf because it is a challenge. Challenge yourself to change your limiting beliefs and behavior to achieve the success you desire. Use the feeling that comes up as a cue for you to know if you are worried about people or course conditions that you cannot control. Replace your limiting thoughts with positive, constructive ones.

For example, if you are anxious on the first tee and usually miss your tee shot because people are watching you, change your thinking to: "I let go of everything outside of me by letting it become fuzzy. I can focus clearly on seeing my target. I feel my swing tempo. I concentrate on my pre-shot routine to prepare my mind. My first tee shot is easy because I use the club in my bag with the biggest head. It is easy. It is fun. I can tee it up and sweep through it. I love to hit the first shot of the day."

To reinforce these thoughts, prepare in advance by using mental imagery. Begin by putting yourself in a relaxed state by breathing deeply and releasing all mental and physical tension from your body. Create in detail in your mind the first hole. Mentally create the fairway, trees, bunkers, and yourself on the first tee. Notice that you are affirming your good tee shot with the messages above. Observe yourself breathing deeply to become relaxed and centered. See yourself going through your physical and mental pre-shot routine. See yourself hitting your very best tee ball (from your past experience) by visualizing and feeling your own smooth, easy, effortless swing. See the ball land on the fairway where you planned.  Feel the emotion of happiness and success.

Believe in your Self

Regardless of whether you are playing golf now, or not, this is a good time to reflect and decide how you can improve. We are responsible for creating our lives. A good place to start is with a mental training program to improve your life and your golf game.

Tiger Woods has accomplished what he has because he has beliefs in his head that other people don't.

Tiger seems to have an aura of calm and composure on the golf course only interrupted by his fist-pumping enjoyment of success, and momentary bouts of unexpected disappointment.  Overall, he seems to be immune to the pressure and anxiety and other forms of interference on the golf course.  He attributes much of his mental strength to his Thai heritage and Buddhism. His mother taught him the Buddhist philosophy of letting life happen, rather than the Western way of trying to make it happen.

Tiger's father taught him what he had learned from his psychological training as a Green Beret. He taught him how to take the conscious mind out of the performance of a task and move into the subconscious mind. Tiger said, "I have learned to trust the subconscious, and my instincts have never lied to me."  When you are playing at your peak levels, you are also trusting your game to your subconscious mind and allowing your swing to happen automatically.

When you were learning the mechanics of the golf swing, motor skill by motor skill, you had to think about how to do it. Now trust and move from the analytical thinking process into the swing that is more of a reflex action. This is the way you learned to drive a car. After you had learned to drive the car, you no longer thought about your foot on the gas and brake pedals or your hands on the steering wheel. You were then only concerned with reacting to the road.

The more you practice it in your mind using your senses of feeling, seeing, and trusting, the more automatic it will be. Here are three ways to practice mental skills for an automatic swing.

1. Practice seeing, feeling, and hearing your golf swing in your mind. Hear the solid contact of the club striking the ball. Hear the dynamic whooshing sound the shaft makes as it moves through the air. Listen to the rhythm of the entire swing. Feel the easy, fluid tempo of the club moving through the entire arc. Feel your body and club moving in harmonious synchronization.

2. Swing a club indoors or outdoors without a ball, feeling and sensing the rhythm, tempo and feel of the swing. Close your eyes and swing the club while noticing the feel of your body, your balance, and the movement of the club. Give yourself one swing key to anchor your good swing.

3. Practice your pre-shot routine in your mind until it becomes an imprint in your unconscious mind. Then physically practice it indoors until you can repeat it without thinking. Having a repeatable pre-shot routine that you don't have to think about will give you the consistency you desire.

Like Tiger, you can improve your performance by practicing in your mind away from the golf course. Set aside ten to fifteen minutes a few times every week to practice your golf swing, your pre-shot routine and mentally playing your golf course.

The only place you can practice perfectly is in your mind.

You can do this easily by repeatedly listening to PMI guided imagery self-hypnosis CD's/MP3s in the privacy of your own home. Order them now at www.pmi4.com/cart  Program your mind with your best intention of what you want to believe about your golf game. Train your brain so you can swing the same on the golf course as on the practice tee.

Play "in the zone" with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances 

One-on-one coaching: Call 828.707.5478, or contact Joan by email for a free consultation to learn about mental golf coaching in person, or worldwide by phone. Learn what is missing in your game so you can achieve your peak performances.

Please share this monthly mental instruction newsletter if it has been helpful to you. Forward it to your friends so they can have more fun playing the game of golf while lowering their scores. Link to www.pmi4.com to download previous PMI mental golf newsletters from 1999-2024 on the Archived Newsletter page https://cutt.ly/kwMY2jXt

If you have a question or need help with your mental game, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net   Also, please share how this website information has helped improve your golf game.

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