Archived Newsletters - Inner Game of Golf:
Newsletter September 2000,
Vol. I, Edition 10
Dear Golf Enthusiast,
PMI is pleased to provide this free electronic newsletter, Mental Coaching for Golf to give you information so you can play golf effortlessly, free from distractions, trusting your swing, confident, focused, and enjoying the game more!
Thanks for subscribing. With your subscription you will receive tips and insightful information at the beginning of each month to help you develop a winner's mentality for your golf game by balancing your mental, physical and spiritual bodies.
Because of the request of many of you, PMI has produced a new mental training audiocassette tape for putting. Side 1 is a hypnosis tape of positive mental programming that develops the belief on a subconscious level that you are a great putter. Side 2 repeats positive affirmations to build trust, confidence and belief in being a successful putter. PUTTING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE can now be ordered on the PMI Audio Page.
The Inner Game of Golf is the mental game of golf. The Outer Game is the physical game which includes the mechanics of the golf swing.
The mental game includes learning the skills to decrease the mental obstacles that keep a player from playing at his/her peak levels. These skills are relaxation and concentration. In order to relax and focus on playing the game, a golfer must overcome self-doubt, fears such as failure & embarrassment, anxiety, a limiting self-image, and negative attitudes and beliefs.
The prime causes of mistakes come from the mind of the golfer. Most mistakes are due to doubt, tension and lack of concentration. The mental hazards created in the mind of a golfer on the course are many of the same pitfalls that he/she encounter in daily life. Unless these weaknesses are changed the golfer will be overcome, frustrated, and his/her game sabotaged.
- Golf demands consistency for low scoring. To be consistent one has to have mental discipline. For example, if the clubhead is traveling at 100 mph and contacts the ball with the face open a degree or two, the ball can be sent off-line dozens of yards. To accomplish a square club face at impact requires the mental discipline of relaxed concentration.
- Golf demands emotional control for consistency. Unlike other sports there is no physical outlet for frustration and the golfer must deal with it before he hits his next shot.
- Golf prowess is indicated by the score. When a golfer doesn't meet his expectations to shoot his normal score, his ego is challenged and doubt begins to creep in. Players' moods/spirit/self-esteem seem to change with the score. Some golfers, and also some pros, avoid this state by blaming outside factors such as other players, the course, their clubs, the weather, etc. A golfer with a good mental game knows that his performance was a true indication of his skill on that day.
- Golf is a game of pressure. There are no shots to be taken over without penalty. With each shot the golfer strives for perfection. Making a five-foot putt to win a hole or match is highly dependent upon the golfer's mental game. The player who can perform with consistency under pressure will be able to use that mental skill in other areas of his life.
- Golf requires that the golfer be at his/her peak of concentration at the exact moment of the swing. The pace of golf is unique. In a four hour round of golf there is a lot of time to think. For a negative person, or an analytical person, it is easy to become involved in thinking about correcting the swing, or becoming entrenched in emotions of discouragement, doubt or frustration.
The golfer who is in control of his Inner Game, uses the time in-between shots to his advantage instead of being distracted. He uses this time to regain his equilibrium, change a negative thought to a positive one, relax from the pressure of the last shot, become calm after an exciting shot, and prepare his concentration for the next shot.
- Golf requires patience. Over and over again, we hear golfers talking about the slow play and becoming frustrated, and using it as an excuse when they miss a shot; "The play is so slow I just can't get any rhythm going." A golfer who has a good mental game would have the attitude that, "The only thing worse than slow play……..is talking about slow play", and wouldn't join in the conversation and upset his/her emotional balance.
Let us, then, be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing.
Learn to labor and to wait.
---Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How do you overcome these weaknesses? The first step is to recognize that you alone have created these inner traits and they are interfering with your performance. Since you have created them, you can create new ones that will be productive. The second step is to replace them with positive mental traits that will enhance your performance.
For example, we are born with two innate fears; the fear of loud noises, and the fear of falling. Every other fear we have created from our past experience. We put stock in fears that haven't even materialized. These fears aren't real except in your imagination. They are an illusion. When you give in to a fear, you are coming from a place of weakness instead of strength. So when you 3-putt the first two greens, and reinforce the illusion by talking about it and feeling the embarrassment of inadequacy, you can create a fear of 3-putting. You then begin to make statements such as; "I am not putting well today", or "I can't putt long putts", or "I miss short putts" or "I'm a lousy putter". In this way you hypnotize yourself into developing a subconscious pattern of limiting belief.
"Golf doesn't build character, it reveals it."
When golf reveals to you your anger, frustration, fear or self-doubt, this is the time to do something about this awareness. Instead of reinforcing what you aren't, change your self-defeating self-talk and emotions into positive, uplifting messages to reinforce what you do want. Take responsibility for your mistake, adopt the belief that you can improve, have patience, believe in your ability, relax, and concentrate on the task. Then you can focus and use your imagination to create 2-putts or 1-putts, or whatever shot you want.
"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a
thing makes it happen."
----Frank Lloyd Wright