My intention for the past 25 years as a mental golf coach is to show golfers how to construct a solid mental golf game by combining their assets in their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual bodies. All of these components are necessary to move your thinking into your subconscious mind where you play with complete trust at your highest level of accomplishment.
What is this magical “zone state?”
Being in the zone state is where you attain your peak performance. It can happen to 40 handicappers as well as scratch golfers. When a golfer is in the zone state, s/he has let go of all of the restrictions imposed by conscious irrelevant thoughts. The golfer has created the reality that s/he wants to happen. The mind and body are harmonized before the swing so it happens without any thought or effort.
Golf is different from other sports. In many other sports, there is no time to think and the body reacts to the situation. It has been proven that professional basketball players make more shots around the basket when the opposing player has a hand in their face and they have to shoot quickly, than when they take the time to bounce the ball and shoot… and think (about missing). In golf, the ball waits for us and we spend too much time in extraneous confusing thoughts.
What does being in the “zone state” feel like?
When a golfer is in the right state of mind s/he can access peak performance throughout the round. In this zone state, golfers feel as if they are in a trance, in a heightened sense of awareness where they have total control of all aspects of their game. Some golfers say they experience a sense of euphoria which includes total calm, ease and effortlessness in swinging and an enhanced sense of intuition. This is when golf becomes a spiritual experience.
There is also an increase in power. Crisper, longer and more accurate shots result from the magnified sense of feel and awareness. Golfers have intensified concentration and mental clarity such as seeing a line on the green. In this altered state of awareness, a golfer sometimes has the experience that someone else is swinging the golf club.
Arnold Palmer said that when he was playing in the zone, he felt as if he was above himself, watching himself play.
Ted Williams commented that when he was in the zone, he felt as if the baseball stopped at the plate, waiting for him to swing at it.
When Michael Jordan was in the zone making one of his spectacularly high leaps in the air, he felt as if he would never come back down.
John Brody, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback perceived the opposing line stopped when he was in the zone. He felt as if he had all day to throw the football downfield.
Andre Agassi said when he was in the zone playing in a tennis match, he saw everything around as blue; the court, the net, the stands, his opponent… everything except for the yellow tennis ball.
What do all these experiences have in common?
Time appears to stand still for athletes when they are totally focused on being in the process of performing. When golfers are playing in the zone state, they also have a distortion of time and are lost in the enjoyment of the game.
When we aren’t playing well we are focusing on the things that make up the process. We bombard our mind with distractions and instructions on how to swing the golf club. If you are thinking about parts of your swing while you are swinging, you are controlling or steering the club with your conscious mind. This kind of thinking results in jerky, inconsistent, off-balance, out-of-tempo, and offline shots.
We judge our golf shots unmercifully. We get wrapped up in negative feelings of incompetence, failure, doubt, and embarrassment.
Let go of trying and trust your training
In our society, we have been educated to “try harder”. We are taught that the more physical effort we put into something, the more likely we are to succeed. This is very evident in the statement we have been hypnotized to believe, “No pain, no gain”.
For golfers, a more appropriate truism is, “To gain control, you have to let go of control”. Once you have learned how to swing the golf club, you must LET GO and TRUST that the proper learnings will be sent from your unconscious mind to your physical body when you are playing on the golf course. You have then bypassed your conscious analyzing, thinking, controlling mind, and just react to all the learning and habits which are stored in your unconscious mind.
Let go of trying and trust your mechanics
To enter into the zone state a golfer must trust his swing and be prepared to allow it to happen. A rhythmic movement such as walking, deep breathing, humming or whistling your favorite tune can move you into a relaxed and alert state on the golf course.
To get relaxed and focused, prepare yourself in the way you are most comfortable with your personality. If you are a sociable person, converse with your fellow golfers. If you like to prepare alone, go to a place at the end of the range or green where you have quiet and solitude.
When you are aware that you are in the zone during your round, don’t think about what you are experiencing because that will bring you out of this altered state. Know that you are experiencing your peak potential performance and enjoy every minute of it!
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, and would like to learn more about accessing the zone state, email Joan at email@example.com 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.
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.