Self Management on the Golf Course for Peak Performances

The first part of learning the game of golf is how to strike the ball and then how to hit shots with different clubs.

The second part is how to manage yourself and how to make the most of your ability to bring in the lowest possible scores every time you play.  To achieve your potential, managing yourself is the most important part of the game.

If you strike the ball well, but manage your game poorly you will rarely win.

If you manage yourself well and hit the ball poorly you can win many times.

— Jack Nicklaus 

Self management 

When playing golf at your peak performance levels you are in a state where your mind is quiet and focused, and your body is relaxed. When you are over the ball you are focused on the process of hitting the ball. You put yourself into this mindful state of consciousness with your preshot routine so you have stopped thinking of what to do and can trust your setup.

When you are mindful, you are fully invested in the present moment; not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. You are experiencing being in the now with all of your senses. It is imperative that your body is relaxed in order to accomplish this process. 

There is a natural rhythm when you go within. Being in the zone state is like being in the flow of a river. When you go against the river, it is challenging. When you are in your own natural flow of rhythm, life and your golf game proceed easily. This is how you shift and transform into your true self. You become more aware of your senses, which give you the guidance you need to execute your golf shot.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we are doing. While mindfulness is a natural state of being, it can be accessed with the practice of relaxing your mind and body. We already have the capacity to be present so it doesn’t require us to change who we are. Mindfulness is being completely awake to the present moment and being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it.

Golfers have a tendency to project the present into the future by thinking about upcoming holes and what they need to score in order to achieve a desired outcome. This is a perfect example of creating stress within your mind and body. With this awareness of judgment of how you are doing, mindfulness is the solution to reduce the stress and bring your mind back to the present. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

Effective Deep Breathing 

“Breathing is the most important physiological function of your body. You can live forty days without food, ten days without water, but only four minutes without oxygen.

Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that, within limits, can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. Conscious breathing is used in yoga to calm the mind and release toxins. It is taught in Lamaze classes to reduce the heart rate, anxiety levels, and pain perception. It works in part because when breathing becomes a focus, other sensations move to the outside of your awareness.

If you watch a baby breathe, or watch someone who is sleeping, you will see this relaxed, natural breathing as the stomach protrudes on the inhale and falls on the exhale. We have been taught to relieve tension by sucking in our stomachs, taking in a big breath and letting our chest and shoulders rise. This actually creates tension and tightness in your chest and shoulder muscles. In golf we need to have these muscles relaxed so we can make a full shoulder turn to set up the torque for maximum golf club acceleration.

Deep breathing is the key to relaxation. The more you relax, the better your feel. The more you relax, the better you play. The more you relax, the easier it is to focus and be mindful. And the more you relax, the more powerful your mind is.

My personal preference to relax before hitting any shot on the golf course is to take in three deep breaths during my preshot routine. I take in one deep conscious breath each to calm and focus my mind, my body, and my spirit.”*

In my experience of playing competitive amateur golf at the highest levels, I believe that the most important ingredient in your mental golf game is efficient deep breathing to obtain the state which relaxes your muscles, clears and focuses your mind, and keeps your arousal level constant. When you inhale this breath of life correctly, know that you are breathing in your own empowerment.

*Excerpts are from Chapter 10: Deep Breathing; “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances”

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

Improve your breathing technique and mindfulness skill by listening to the PMI self-hypnosis CD “Progressive Relaxation of the Mind & Body” in the privacy of your own home. All eight PMI self-hypnosis CDs begin with guided breathing techniques for focus and relaxation. Available now at http://www.pmi4.com/cart

Visit the www.PositiveMentalImagery.com Archived Newsletters page for comprehensive information about the mental game of golf. 

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

“THE HEART OF GOLF” guide book for transforming your life and golf game

is available now on Amazon and Kindle

https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did we learn from Sergio Garcia’s missed 4-inch putt?

Unlike other sports, the game of golf can be played in multiple different game formats. In Stroke Play, the lowest number of strokes taken determines the winner. In Match Play one golfer plays against another and each hole is a separate competition. The golfer who wins the most holes wins the match.

Match Play can also be played by a two-person team against another two-person team. In a Fourball Match all four players play their own ball. The low score (best ball) of the partners on each team is used for the match. A Foursomes Match is a competition where a team of two players alternate hitting the same ball. This is also known as an alternate shot or Scotch Ball competition.

Since Match Play is a player vs. player competition, the strategy is more complex than that for stroke play. In Stroke Play, the golfer plays against the golf course and a large field of other golfers. In Match Play, the golfer plays directly against one opponent who is watching and plotting against you. In addition to managing your own game, you need to know what is going on in the match so you can plan your shots accordingly.

In a stroke play competition, all putts are holed out and counted for score. In match play, conceded putts are part of the strategy of the game, and can also be a gracious thing to do, entirely at the choice of the giver.

The Sergio Mistake

Last Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the Dell Technologies 2019 Match Play World Golf Championships, Sergio Garcia had a 7-foot putt for par to win the par 3, 7th hole and square his match against Matt Kuchar who was in the hole with a bogey. Garcia missed the putt and in haste, and overcome with frustration swiped at the 4-inch putt which lipped out for a double bogey. Kuchar took a 2-up lead in the match.

This scenario of missing a “gimme” putt has probably happened to most golfers with the result that they carry the shame and anger with them for the next few holes. Sergio was no different as he missed another par putt at the 8th hole and then took a full angry swing at the ball with his putter. At the 9th hole he drove his tee ball way right and lost the hole. Walking up the 10th fairway Garcia released his anger by telling Kuchar exactly what he thought about not having the 4-inch putt conceded. Garcia calmed down enough to win the 10th hole, birdied 15 and 16 but lost the match 2-down.

Emotions in Match Play

Match play can easily play with your emotions. Golf demands emotional control for consistency. Control of your emotions is the most important part of your mental game. Your emotions can move you closer to, or further away from your goals.

Anger is a natural expression indicating we are experiencing internal conflict. Usually we get angry because things don’t go our way. When the putt that we know we can make doesn’t come off as planned, the frustration and anger surface. We feel afraid that we have lost control of the situation and feel unworthy. To release the emotion of frustration, exhale forcibly the vibration of that anger you are holding within.

Anger is an example of an unconscious behavior habit. In golf it is important to experience the feeling and then release the thought that connects with it as soon as possible so you don’t carry it over to the following holes. Criticizing and judging yourself causes a mental or emotional down-slide as your reactions can easily become magnified and erode your self-confidence.

When your emotions are out of control on the golf course, it is a perfect time to analyze and change your beliefs that are causing the distress so it won’t happen again. The same negative beliefs will probably cause you problems in your off-course life also.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If you aren’t able to control your emotions and maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

“THE HEART OF GOLF” guide book for transforming your life and golf game

is available now on Amazon and Kindle

https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Rules of Golf Modernized

There are now three versions of The Rules of Golf:

  1. The standard “full length” Rules book.
  2. The Official Guide to the Rules of Golf (for rules officials and committee members).
  3. The Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf.

In consultation with other golf bodies in the world, the USGA and R&A review, revise and print the Rules of Golf every four years. The last edition was in 2016. The single set of Rules applies to players of all abilities and to both professionals and amateurs. The last complete review of the Rules of Golf was done in 1984.

Beginning in 2012 the USGA and R&A gave The Rules an extensive review in order to modernize them for easier understanding and to make the game more attractive and accessible for newcomers. The review included feedback from amateur golfers and PGA Professionals. The Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf has been reduced from 34 to 24 pages with 10 less rules, and is written in the second person point of view. The new Rules of Golf went into effect on January 1, 2019.

It is your responsibility to know the Rules and to use them to your advantage instead of to your game’s disadvantage.

Here are some of the most important changes for you to have in mind that will directly affect your golf game:

Accidental Ball Movement

There are no longer penalties for accidental movement of the ball on the putting green, for accidental deflections, or for accidentally moving a ball while searching for it.

Double Hit

No penalty for accidentally hitting the ball more than once during a stroke. 

Making Repairs

Golfers are now allowed to fix damage on the putting green. In addition to fixing ball marks and old hole plugs, spike marks can now be tamped down.

Pace of Play

The rule of allowing five minutes to search for a lost ball has been reduced to a three-minute maximum. When it is your turn, be ready to hit your next shot within 40 seconds.

Bunker Changes

Loose impediments can now be removed from bunkers without a penalty.

Ball Drop

The ball must be dropped straight down from knee height (the height of the player’s knee when in a standing position).

Unattended Flagstick

No penalty if a ball played from the putting green (or anywhere else) hits the unattended flagstick in hole.

Penalty Areas

In drop areas players can ground their club, take practice swings hitting the ground, and remove loose impediments.

Playing Out of Turn in Stroke Play

No penalty for playing out of turn, and “ready golf” is encouraged when it can be done in a safe and responsible way. 

Stroke & Distance Penalty

A Local Rule can be instituted for an alternative to the stroke and distance penalty allowing a player who has not played a provisional ball to get a ball back in play, even in the fairway, for a two stroke penalty.

The rules changes were made to streamline The Rules, still keeping the core principles that you play the course as you find it, play the ball as it lies, and call penalties on yourself if you get them.

You can access further simplified changes on the USGA website at https://bit.ly/2CbsIbu.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

 

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen pre-season to affirming Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

THE HEART OF GOLF is available now on Amazon and Kindle

https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

 

 

 

 

What are your golf intentions for 2019?

“Create Your Future With Your Intention*

Based on your present conscious intentions, you determine what your future will be. You have the ability to create whatever you wish to experience. When you choose your intention, you have started the creative process to make it happen. It is the simple process of focusing your attention on what you want by letting go of the energies of what you do not want. If unwanted thoughts come to mind, choose to change them to what you do desire. Make choices for your highest good. Clear your mind by removing fear and limiting thoughts about yourself and your abilities.

When you give 100% intention and attention to creating a golf shot, the opportunity is realized. It is important to be clear about your intention so the energy attracted to it will be positive and for your highest good of self-realization. When you let go of unwanted energies like fear and anger, and replace them with joy and love, you have created a clear positive intention that manifests what you desire.

The Principle of Intention

The principle of intention shows us that the results aren’t the problem. Become aware of your intention and you can create a different outcome. This means doing only those things which originate from the truth of who you are. Whatever your situation is right now, you have played a major role in setting it up. It is you who have created your circumstances. With every experience you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice. And beneath each of those thoughts and choices lies your deepest intention.

What is your real intention?

Your intention and desire can create a better life and a better golf game. And when you don’t examine your intention, you often end up with consequences that block your progress. If you change your intentions, you create different consequences. When you make choices that honor who you are and you begin believing in the greatest version of yourself, you’ll get exactly what your Creator intended for you—the chance to reach your greatest potential.

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 is the time to move from the analytical, thinking process into producing a golf swing that is more of a reflex action. The more you practice it in your mind using your senses of feeling, seeing and trusting, the more automatic it will be. This is the way you learned to drive a car.

After you had practiced and learned how to drive a car, you no longer thought about your foot on the gas and break pedals, or your hands on the steering wheel. You were then only concerned with reacting to the road.  

When you begin to trust your golf swing, you will have let go of judging your performance. As a youngster you learned the difficult task of tying the laces on your shoes. After much practice you could put on your shoes and tie the laces without thinking about how to do it. If the laces weren’t perfectly symmetrical, you accepted that they were tied and didn’t unlace and tie them again. There was no judgment. You successfully completed your intention to tie the laces. “

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? You would stop judging and trust that you would be successful. You would stop worrying about the results. Remember when you expected to break 100 for the first time, or shoot a certain score, it took several tries. You probably considered it a failure when it didn’t happen when you expected it. Know that because of your effort, and trust, you will create an even lower score because you let go of the fear of failure, enjoyed being in the process of playing, and allowed yourself to be successful.

*Excerpts are from Chapter 1; Create Your Intention, from “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances”

© PositiveMentalImagery 2019 – All Rights Reserved

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

THE HEART OF GOLF is available now on Amazon and Kindle

https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

CREATE THE GOLF GAME YOU DESIRE IN 2019

The New Year has begun and no matter where you live, now would be a grand time to do something different. Begin the magical process of creating the golf game that you have always dreamed of having.

I have enjoyed working with golfers for the past 26 years because they are so enthusiastic about improving their golf games and will try (or buy) anything that they think will lower their scores and handicaps.

Upgrade Your Mental Game

We all have individual golf swings and we all have individual mental habits that keep us from playing at our peak performance level. Do you still have excess baggage in the form of fear, anxiety and worry that you are carrying with you to the golf course? Until you let go of old beliefs that cause these emotions your game will suffer.

As the cartoon character Pogo said, “We have found the enemy and he is us.” The more you know yourself, the happier you will be, and the better your golf game will be.

When you master something, you know how to do it without thinking about it. In golf we call it “being in the zone.” The most important thing you can ever learn in your life is to trust and allow. The more you tap into allowing (instead of controlling), the stronger it becomes and what you desire happens more often. What you want to feel is to feel free so you can enjoy playing instead of struggling to accomplish some goal.

Do something different

1. Golfers like to win. Winning is tied into your self worth. When you have an attachment to your score, it affects your self worth. Are you sabotaging yourself with a fear of failure of not achieving your desired outcome?

2. Feeling guilty about not being good enough is the disconnect from your authentic self. Thinking about feeling guilty takes you down the fear path. Is it worth continuing to hold on to regrets and suffer the negative emotions generated by it? Forgiveness sets you free from the past and from recreating similar experiences.

3. What are you looking for? Fill yourself up with positive feelings of success. Visualize yourself as the golfer you have always dreamed of becoming. Imagine this compelling vision daily for 30 days and you will have changed the habit of limiting fearful thoughts into personal enjoyment.

4. Trust your intuition in making decisions. If something doesn’t feel right to you, trust this. Intuition is your innate ability to know what to do without having to consciously think about it. Intuition is the language of your heart which is the true connection to your authentic self.

5. Transform yourself by moving out of your comfort zone of self doubt. You are the only thinker in your brain. Step out of your own way. Recognize your limiting thoughts and overcome them with positive, self assuring beliefs about yourself and your abilities.

6. To create space for what you truly desire, allow yourself to let go of what is no longer working for you. Create an uplifting attitude that good things are coming to you and more will come sometime in the next year.

7. Connecting your mind, body, heart and spirit is the formula for the grand possibility of a wonderful, abundant, healthy year to come.

8. Give your golf game a fresh start by trusting that you have within you all you will ever require for your whole golf game. Write, direct and star in the movie of your life. Have fun with your golf game, your life, and have fun with yourself by creating 2019 as your best year ever.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home. Available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

This guide book for transforming your life and golf game is available on Amazon and Kindle http://amzn.to/2znB4tN All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

As 2018 comes to a close, I would like to thank you for being a reader of my mental golf blog. It is my mission to offer emotional and mental support on and off the golf course so you can play golf with the utmost personal enjoyment and success.

I will resume sending the blog in January. The off season is a wonderful way to gain insight into yourself and your mental game performance skills before the golf season begins. I look forward to providing new information and working with you again in 2019.

May this be a holiday season when all those you love have laughter and warmth and sweet memories to share. Best wishes for the happiest, healthiest and most successful of New Years….from your Mental Golf Coach!

Joan King, BCH, NLP

Peak Performance Strategist

NGH Board Certified Hypnotist

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

 

 

 

 

Manage your anger and frustration on the golf course

The following article was published this week on Womens Golf emagazine at https://www.womensgolf.com/anger

4 Ways to Manage Your Anger and Frustration on the Golf Course

Try these proven mental strategies from Joan King the next time you feel your anger, stress, and frustration rising on the golf course.

LESSONSMENTAL GAMEAUTHORS

As every player knows, golf is played in the mind as much as it is with the body. Controlling your mood and managing the inevitable frustrations that are part of the game is critical if you plan to improve your scoring, and most importantly enjoy your time on the golf course.

Here are some questions I frequently get asked by the golfers I work with.

Q1   WHEN I HIT ONE BAD SHOT, I GET ANGRY AND THEN HIT A SERIES OF BAD SHOTS. HOW CAN I STOP DOING THAT?

Your anger may come from having unrealistic expectations. Every golfer has hit “the perfect shot” and hopes to duplicate it every time. This is an expectation that is impossible to deliver. A good attitude to adopt is that golf is not a game of perfection, but rather a game based on your real ability, and how well you meet the challenge of recovering from missed shots.

Watching the world’s best golfers on weekend TV can distort your perception. The telecasts show the players who are playing at their peak potential that week and often only show their best shots. We then expect that we should duplicate what we see. To keep it in perspective, look at the stats for the entire field. For instance, an average field of pros “get it up and down” only 50% of the time out of a greenside bunker.

Another unrealistic expectation of most amateurs is based on the maximum distance they can hit each club. A golfer who can hit a 6-iron 130 yards on her best day under perfect conditions, will hit that club every time she is around 130 yards from the target. As a result, her approach shots are often short where most of the trouble is. A more realistic approach would be to take one more club and hit to the middle/back of the green and avoid the bunkers.

Choosing a low-percentage shot when there are safer options can result in anger and frustration when you fail to pull off the “miracle shot.” Don’t expect good results from a low-percentage shot if you haven’t practiced it enough to be confident of success.

The best expectation to have on the golf course is that you are there to have a good time and enjoy yourself!

Q2   WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP FROM GETTING STRESSED WHEN I’M PLAYING?

Begin to monitor the chatter that might be going on inside your head. We all have self-talk that goes on constantly. The banter on the first tee is a verbal indication of what golfers are saying to themselves such as, “I haven’t played in a week (so don’t expect me to play well), or “My handicap just went up (because I am playing terribly)“. These are examples of negative self-talk which sabotage your golf game.

Begin to see the game (and yourself) the way you would like it to be. Talk to yourself as if you were the finest caddy on a pro tour. A good caddy’s job is to reinforce your self-worth, remind you of past successes, help you to think clearly, and keep you relaxed and calm. Treat yourself as if you were talking to your best friend, encouraging her and pointing out her good traits and successes. As you give yourself positive affirmations, breathe deeply to create a feeling of relaxation and acceptance. Also, adopt the attitude that you can improve and that you believe in yourself and in your ability.

Brittany and Brooke Henderson discuss a shot at the 2018 CME Group LPGA Tour Championship 2018 | Photo: Ben Harpring

Q3   HOW CAN I BE LESS FRUSTRATED ON THE GOLF COURSE AND ENJOY IT MORE?

Frustration on the golf course could be the result of unrealistic expectations. When you set standards of perfection that are unattainable, you will constantly experience failure. It is important to acknowledge that you will hit bad shots. Blaming yourself and feeling badly only increases the chances that you will make even more mistakes. When you associate your feelings of self-worth with your ability to avoid mistakes you will be on an emotional roller coaster. You will feel more relaxed and experience less pressure if you do not demand perfection from yourself. The more you replay your missed shots in your mind, the more you deplete your self-esteem.

Realize that you cannot change your missed shots, but you can change your thoughts that upset you. Life or a round of golf is very seldom all good or all bad. Don’t make your missed golf shots the central theme of your thoughts. Reverse that kind of thinking and focus only on the good shots that you have hit.

Q4   HOW CAN I HAVE TRANQUILITY ON THE GOLF COURSE WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOING QUITE AS THEY SHOULD?

To regain tranquility on the golf course is a simple matter of remembering that golf is played in the present. When you have expectations of yourself such as hitting a perfect shot every time or shooting a certain score, you are not in the present time. Play one shot at a time and give each shot the same amount of attention.

Tranquility is a state of being where you are at peace with yourself and the world around you. If you are upset with the way things are going and you lose your confidence, focus on breathing out the tension and breathing in calm and relaxation. When you are calm and centered inside yourself, visualize successful shots you have made either that day or in the past. Replay them over and over in your mind, feeling the good physical and emotional feelings until you are confident once again.

Golf is a game, but it is a challenging game mentally. Keep some of these simple strategies in mind the next time you begin to feel stressed, frustrated, or angry on the golf course.

Joan

Feature photo of Sung Hyun Park at the 2018 KEB Hana Bank Championship by Ben Harpring

ALL ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joan King

Joan King, BCH, Peak Performance Strategist, Master Sports Hypnotist & NLP Practitioner, founded Positive Mental Imagery, a mental sports consulting firm in 1992 in Florida. Her academic background includes a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Vermont, and Joan is Board Certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists as a Sports and Clinical Hypnotherapist.

A low handicap senior amateur golfer, Joan has competed in state, national and international championships, including qualifying for nine USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championships, and three Canadian Senior Ladies Amateur Championships.

Ms. King has taught thousands of amateurs, junior tournament golfers and LPGA and PGA professionals how to understand the mind-body-spirit equation for peak performances.

Visit Joan King’s website at positivementalimagery.com where she writes monthly articles on the mental side of golf. You can also follow Joan on Twitter and Facebook.

Joan can also be contacted by phone on 828-696-2547.

All of Joan’s articles on WomensGolf.com

 

What do you do when you get the first-tee jitters?

The players in the Ryder Cup say that teeing off at the first hole the first time is the most frightening experience they have ever had.

The Ryder Cup is no ordinary tournament. This year’s Ryder Cup was EXTRAordinary. The first tee grandstands at Le Golf National in Paris had seats for 7,000 and an additional 10,000 spectators were lining the right and left-hand sides of the first fairway. Only 7 percent of the fans were supporting Team USA, but all those 15,000+ people were making noise.

Why wouldn’t you be nervous with all those people watching and cheering?

As a rookie in the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales, Rory McIlroy said that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about. He described going to the first tee as, “I still thought it was this team event that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. I was more concerned about individual titles and all that. Then I got to the first tee and I realized the magnitude of it all. It just hits you. You try and put your ball on that tee and it takes you a couple times to get it to settle on there.” 

Why wouldn’t you be nervous in an important tournament?

Everyone who has played golf for any length of time has experienced this fear on the first tee. Anytime a golfer has thoughts of failure, or an expectation of missing, or loses concentration of being in the process of preparation, the nerves can take over.

The first tee jitters are caused by fear and anxiety about what might go wrong. These emotions  can cause shaky hands, weak knees, tight, tense muscles, stomach churning, and adrenaline surges that produce those off-line shots. Fear of failure is what causes an unconscious sabotage of a golf shot.

Here are some thoughts on how to use your mind to control the situation, rather than having the situation control your mind and emotions.

  • Take several DEEP breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly through your abdomen to slow down your heartbeat, mind and body. Take the last deep breath just before you swing.
  • CONCENTRATE on executing a SMOOTH swing to put the ball on the fairway. Thinking about HOW to swing is the #1 way to sabotage your success.
  • LET GO of the impulse to swing hard and fast. To get off to a good start, accuracy is more important than distance.
  • REALIZE that the people around the tee aren’t judging you and probably won’t remember your first shot whether it is on the fairway or in the woods.
  • RELEASE the temptation of making the first tee shot more important than any other shot.
  • Visualize and FOCUS on the area where you plan to land the ball.
  • Think about the PROCESS of executing the shot, not on why your heart is pounding or your mouth is dry.
  • Take several practice swings with your eyes closed to FEEL your TEMPO and acceleration.
  • Commit to your consistent PRESHOT ROUTINE to keep your emotions and thoughts calm and in the PROCESS of hitting the golf shot.
  • TRUST your ability to let go of the self-induced pressure by ALLOWING your mind to focus on creating the present shot.
  • Remember that golf is a GAME that you PLAY for the FUN of it.

For further information about any of these mental keys, link on to the Positive Mental Imagery website Archived Newsletters.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances 

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire.

A new mental golf book is available now on www.amazon.com 

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances” explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How good is your golf course management?

PLAN AHEAD FOR GOOD GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT

Do you have a presupposition about the toughness of the golf course you are going to play? Are you visually intimidated by the many water holes, fairway bunkers, tree-lined fairways, mounds, railroad ties, tiered or severely undulating greens?

Intimidation can lead to indecision, which will most likely result in a missed shot. Most golfers think that course management is what you do to get out of deep trouble. It is more than that. Course management comes into play on every shot with some shots being more important than others. A good mental game includes good course management. Efficient course management is your ability to play around the golf course the way it was designed by the architect, avoiding the trouble and placing each shot in the best position to hit the next shot. It requires you to plan and concentrate before every shot. The golf course is set up so you will make hundreds of decisions.

Course management is smart golf; thinking positively to avoid mistakes and managing your imperfection. Golf is about managing yourself around the golf course without letting your ego take over (Tin Cup experience). When you change the way you see the world, your world changes. When you change the way you see the golf course you can see opportunities.

You see the obstacles and make plans to avoid them. Your course management depends upon a myriad of things including your skill level, your personality, course conditions and the pressure of the situation. It is important to have a strategy for playing each hole so you will be prepared ahead of time to handle the feelings that might arise to deter you.

You can be a genius at course management if you are confident with your wedges and putter. Then it won’t matter if you miss greens. You have learned from experience how to manage your home golf course well because you know your plan. When you play a new course, you need to concentrate on creating the shots you want. Golf is a game of maneuvering the ball around the course and having fun doing it.

COURSE MANAGEMENT GOLF TIPS

HAVE A COURSE MANAGEMENT GAME PLAN

  • Plan your strategy according to your ability. Less than 1% of all golfers have shot even par or better. Measuring your performance against par is a set-up for failure for the average golfer. Decide which holes you can par and which you can bogey, etc. and set your own par on each hole.
  • In match play, play your own game and the golf course, not your opponent.
  • In a scramble, you will probably want to swing all out, unless at least one other ball is not in a good position.
  • In a stroke play tournament, you will want to play consistently and perhaps conservatively.
  • On a team playing for one best ball, you might want to think about the best ways to make birdies.

MANAGE YOUR MENTAL GAME

  • Use the same pre-shot routine on every shot. You will have more consistent results if your routine is consistent. Then your brain will know exactly what you want to do.
  • Be positive. Be decisive. Indecision is the enemy of golfers. There are many ways to be indecisive, not just in club selection. Make a mental blueprint of your path to the hole. Decide on a specific target area for each shot and aim at it. Believe in your ability to hit it there!
  • Manage your misses. If you hit five to seven shots per round just the way you want, that is a great achievement. The rest of your shots should be playable, or good misses. Don’t dwell on a bad shot; concentrate on the shot at hand and stay focused. Then you can turn it around quickly.
  • Eliminate tension. If too many thoughts are going on in your mind, you become tense. Make up your mind where and how you are going to hit the shot and just do it! When you get over the ball, all of your thoughts and emotions should be on the ball and where you are going to hit it.
  • Manage your time in between shots. Since playing the ball only takes about 10 minutes in a four-hour round, decide how you will spend the time between shots to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind, loose and relaxed.
  • Stick to your game plan. If you are behind, don’t press and try harder. Be patient. Make up your mind that everything happened to help you.
  • Plan to finish well. Most tournaments are won or lost on the last three holes. Play your game. Let your opponents match your performance.

POSITION YOUR LONG SHOTS

  • Aim for the side of the fairway that opens up the approach to the green.
  • Carefully balance what you are risking against the reward. When you plan your shot, allow for a margin of error. Play the percentages
  • Know your best lay-up distance. Know when, and how to lay up. Don’t try to hit it as close to the green as possible leaving a three-quarter wedge shot. Leave 80 to 100 yards to make a full swing.
  • On long approach shots, aim for the center of the green.
  • Short par fours usually have subtle troubleUse less than a driver for position play. Hit your tee shot to a full shot distance into the green.

PLAN YOUR SHOTS TO THE GREEN

  • Check the pin placement. There are usually six “sucker” pins, six easy pins and six medium pin placements. Hit to the pin when it is in the middle of the green. When there are “sucker” pin placements tucked behind the bunker or on a shallow part of the green, hit to the middle. Take enough club to hit over the greenside bunkers.
  • Put approach shots below the hole on a course with fast, undulating greens. It is almost always better to leave yourself below the hole when possible.

ON SHORT APPROACH SHOTS GO FOR THE FLAG

  • Divide the green into thirds or quarters and get the ball into the right segment for the best chance at a one-putt.
  • If your shot is halfway between clubs, use the longer club and choke down an inch or so.
  • Master one approach shot so you can play it under pressure. Choose one approach shot you are comfortable with; pitch and run, chip shot, lob shot, etc. Don’t try and execute a shot you don’t know how to hit or have any confidence in.

USE THE PUTTER FROM OFF THE GREEN FOR HIGHEST PERCENTAGE SHOT

  • Most people think their worst putt is as good as their best chip shot. If you putt to four feet you think you have hit a poor putt, but if you chip to four feet, it feels good. Play every shot you can with the putter just to get it close enough for a one-putt.

THINK CAREFULLY TO GET OUT OF TROUBLE

WHEN IN TROUBLE, MAINTAIN YOUR EQUILIBRIUM

  • Take your time to figure out all your options, what the percentage shot is, what shots you have confidence doing and carefully exercise your pre-shot routine.
  • Take the shortest route out of trouble.

LOOK TO SEE WHERE THE TROUBLE IS

  • Then turn your attention to where you want the ball to go. If your last look or thought is the trouble, there’s a good chance that is where your ball will end up.

MAKE SURE YOU GET THE BALL OUT OF A FAIRWAY BUNKER

  • Look at the lip of the bunker and make sure you have a club with enough loft to get over the lip.
  • Clip the ball off the top of the sand by swinging with more arm movement and less body turn to avoid hitting the ball fat.

I hope that these course management golf tips have helped you. Don’t hesitate to contact me at 828.696.2547 or pmi4@bellsouth.net if you would like some personal advice on the mental side of golf.

Joan

All my articles on WomensGolf.com

Take the fear out of important putts

The winners of the 2018 Ryder Cup matches were once again determined by the most important putts made at the most crucial times. Over and over again we watched the American team miss make able putts to lose holes.

In his Saturday morning fourballs match with Tony Finau against Sergio Garcia and Rory McIllroy, Brooks Koepka needed to hole a two-foot putt to win the 15th hole. His putt circled the left side of the cup and didn’t go in. The gallery gasped at the unexpected miss of a short putt. This result was exactly why the European Team Captain Thomas Bjorn had told his players not to give putts at Le Golf National.

A footprint on a green usually takes 24 hours to smooth itself out. On a four-foot putt or longer you might be able to rationalize a miss due to imperfections in the grass. To avoid this, Tour caddies bend the flagstick to stand outside of the three-foot area around the cup so their player won’t have to putt through any footprints.

I suspect that every golfer at sometime has missed a carefully executed two-foot putt when they were thinking of what making/missing it would mean. A putt in a Ryder cup match would have the ultimate meaning of missing/winning in front of 50K cheering spectators.

Putting is the most crucial part of the game of golf.  Putting is the great equalizer. It is the part of the game where the ball never leaves the ground. It is a game within a game. The better you become as a golfer, the more you will realize the important part that putting plays in scoring low. Up to 40-50% of your score can be played out on the greens.

Even though the putting stroke may be the simplest skill in all of sport, it is perhaps the most mental. Golfers make it the most difficult because of a change in their mindset. Don’t take the fun out of putting by creating a fear thought about the outcome. If you think you should make the putt, that thought puts fear into it. Staying in the present by using your mental skills of deep breathing and a consistent preshot routine is the way to overcome fearful thoughts.

Putting is the only shot used on every hole.  It is the shot you have to trust to score well/win the tournament.  It makes up for other flaws in your golf game.  If you can master putting you will be the envy of all other players.

Improving your putting and your golf game requires a positive attitude, consistent mental skills, trust and discipline.  To monitor your progress, use the following questionnaire to see where you need to improve.

PMI Mental Putting for Peak Performances

Date of play:_____________________Tournament:_____________________________

  • Did you use the same pre-shot routine on every size putt?  ____yes  ____no If no, where did you discontinue it, and what were the results?
  • How was your attitude toward putting?  Did you have any negative thoughts about the greens or your putting?  If so, how did you change them?
  • What was your level of confidence for this round?  Were you able to maintain your confidence?  If so, how did you improve or maintain your confidence?  If not, what caused you to lose it?
  • How was your concentration while putting?  Were you able to focus inward and stay focused for each putt?  If not, how will you improve your focus for the next round?
  • Were you able to visualize your line for putting?  _____yes  _____no  If not, what did you do?
  • What percentage of your putts were you able to trust to your inner knowing?  _____%  What percentage of your putts did you revert to putting mechanically?  _____%            When did you not trust?
  • What did you learn from today’s putting round that will be helpful in your next round?

You have total control of giving any putt a chance to go in by rolling it well. Acceleration is absolutely necessary to hold the line. Trust your mechanics and your intuition. Be totally committed to your preshot routine once you have decided on the line. Visualize the ball going in the hole.  See it, or feel it, or hear it, enjoy it.

Everyone has the ability to become a great putter. Make the decision to become a great putter.  Focus on what you want to have happen NOT on what you don’t want to happen. Execute every putt on every hole, in every round, with the same mental and physical routine, giving every putt the same importance and attention.  Put thoughts and feelings in your head to become a great putter.

Great putters don’t spend time thinking about missed putts. They remember the good putts they made. Choose to change your putting game by visualizing and thinking only about your good putts. Choose to change your putting game by visualizing and thinking only about your good putts.

To become a good putter, you must have a confident attitude that you believe in no matter what the results are. That positive attitude includes being enthusiastic about wanting to putt, having your complete focus on the process of making the putt, having a specific plan, believing in your ability to carry out your plan, and being relaxed enough to putt the ball where you want it to go.

Putting is both an art form and a science. There is a wealth of information about the scientific mechanics of the putting stroke. Putting is artful because in your mind you create the path the ball will travel and then stroke it with an artful stroke of gentleness or firmness depending upon the conditions. It is the stroke where you need to completely trust your intuition and creativeness. Create your putting game as an art form. Enjoy putting no matter what the outcome!

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to become a great putter, listen to the Positive Mental Imagery CD,  “Confident Putting for Lower Scores” in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart Also available are seven additional self hypnosis CDs to improve different mental parts of your golf game.

Also available is the new mental guide book for transforming your life and golf game for success: 

 “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

THE HEART OF GOLF is available now on Amazon and Kindle

www.AmazonKDP and http://amzn.to/2znB4tN

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!