EMOTIONAL FREEDOM ON THE GOLF COURSE

With the advent of Spring, I am beginning my 29th year of counseling golfers how to balance their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual bodies to produce lower scores on the golf course by accessing “the zone state” of being.

It has been my pleasure to work with golfers because they are willing to try anything new that could produce their peak performances. Peak Performance is a state in which the person performs to the maximum of their ability. It is characterized by feelings of confidence, effortlessness, and total concentration on the task.

Most sports are determined by how well you react to the action. Golf is different. The ball waits for you to hit it. However, your emotional mindset reacts to your programmed thoughts and controls your golf game.

Whatever is going on in your mind determines whether your inner state is peaceful or resisting. The good news is that you can be in complete control of your inner realm by releasing any resistance and by allowing your subconscious to create the effortless shot that you have trained it to make. Stay focused in the moment by using your pre-shot routine for every shot.

Change is constant. When you allow it, you are utilizing the natural laws of creation. As you resist change, you are creating opposition to those natural laws. To play to the best of your abilities, you must face your fear and anxiety feelings instead of giving in, or avoiding them, which only brings up more avoidance. Face your fears whenever you can because it is worse for your performance to avoid what you are afraid of instead of facing it.

As you shift your energies within, then your outer world can change. What are the thoughts and energies that you bring to the surface on the golf course? What would emotional freedom and peace feel like? The choice to stay emotionally in a fearful situation, or to expand beyond it is up to you. Discern what it is that you want alive within you and move beyond what you don’t want to carry forward.

Golf is an inner game. Get to know yourself well. Before you can be set free, you have to be aware of the “monkey mind” chatter going on in your head. How we feel is determined by our emotions. Our emotions are influenced by our thoughts and beliefs.

When we think positive thoughts, our brain releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. But when we think negative thoughts, our body releases chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline; the stress hormones that cause the “flight or fight” response.

As every player knows, golf is played in the mind as much as it is with the body. Controlling your mood of feeling 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.

Golf is a reflection of the journey into your inner self through exploring the mysteries of this royal and ancient game. At its highest levels of hitting perfect shots, and achieving your fullest potential, your spirit quietly soars “into the zone” where you are in a state of euphoria and trust. No longer is your spirit dampened by past experiences of fear, anxiety, indecision, distractions, and self-limitations. The joy you experience is in the moment, and not in the outcome of your score.

Before adding up your score after you complete your round of golf, ask yourself if you had fun and enjoyed your experience. Your answer will tell you whether you had a mindset of resistance or allowed yourself to enjoy your time on the golf course.

I have been writing monthly newsletters since 1999 that include every facet of the mental golf game. Log on to www.pmi4.com Archived Newsletters to find information relevant for improving your mental golf game.

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” guidebook for transforming your life

and golf game is available now on Amazon at

https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf programs!

How can I control my mind so I will be more consistent playing golf?

Your unconscious mind is what controls your involuntary actions. We operate 95 percent of our lives according to our subconscious programs. It is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious mind. Your subconscious mind is subjective and works like your computer by following the instructions it is given. The subconscious mind lacks reasoning, logic or rationalization. It is a creature of habit and repetition. Reprogram the data in your subconscious mind with positive thoughts and affirmations for what you require in a consistent mental golf game.

When you win there is nothing to learn, when you lose, there is something more to learn. Remember the following axiom: 

When you win, you win.

When you lose, you learn. 

To play more consistently you must have the same positive thoughts and attitudes and behave in the same way to promote success. If one of your thoughts is not consistent with another, it will contradict your desire and nullify your result.

Here is a check list of positive thoughts, attitudes and behaviors to anchor into your subconscious mind for consistent results:

  1. Trust Your Swing. Train your mind to feel and sense your swing instead of being paralyzed by constant analysis. Let go of mechanical thoughts of how to swing. It is impossible to “fix” your swing on the golf course after missing a shot. Instead, step aside and swing your club until you find the rhythm and tempo of the swing that you desired.
  2. Direct your brain with a consistent pre-shot routine. Your pre-shot check list prepares you to let go of conscious thoughts so you can allow your smooth automatic swing. For your swing to be consistent, your routine prior to swinging must be the same every time.
  3. Practice the way you play. Train your brain by using your pre-shot routine with every practice shot you hit on the range until it becomes a habit. If your practice routine and your on-course play routine are the same, your results will be similar.
  4. Correct your alignment and set-up.  If you set up incorrectly, even a great swing won’t produce a good shot. Every shot on the course is hit from a new position, which is very different from hitting from the same spot on the range.  Always pick a target for each shot so you will get feedback on how you are doing.
  5. Anchor your good shots.  Remember your good shots, not the missed ones. To be able to repeat your good shots, anchor them in your subconscious mind with the wonderful inside feeling of hitting a solid shot.
  6. Relax your mind and body. You can’t be relaxed and anxious at the same time. Take deep breaths to relax your body and slow down your thinking mind for sharper focus.
  7. Be patient. Golf is a waiting game. Wait for the opportunities to happen. The more you rush, the quicker your swing becomes and the more mistakes you will make.
  8. Concentrate only on your game. Being concerned with your competitors’ games will distract you from being in control of your own game.
  9. Play one shot at a time. Play each shot as if it is the most important shot you will ever hit by giving it your 100% full intention and attention.
  10. Change all fear shots into positive images. Stay focused in the present, giving your full attention to what you desire to happen, not what you are afraid will happen.
  11. Play target golf. Take DEAD AIM. Have a clear picture of your target in your mind and swing down your target line without your mind telling you how to do it. Your body knows how to swing if you will allow it.
  12. Be decisive. Indecision is the enemy of golfers. Don’t hit a shot until you have absolutely made up your mind which club to use and what you require to do with the shot.
  13. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself no matter what the results are. Believe in your ability to score. Trust that you can always improve.
  14. Less is more. Swing within yourself. Feel your awareness of balance, rhythm and tempo. The ball will go farther and straighter with a smooth, easy, effortless swing than a forceful, jerky swing.
  15. Let go of expectations. Don’t add up your score until you are finished. Enjoy each shot as its own reward.
  16. Enjoy playing the golf course. Accept and enjoy everything that happens from a place of childlike wonder and joy and you will then be playing from your heart space at your peak performance level.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart and Mind for Peak Performances

Self-empowering hypnosis mental golf CDs are available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If this article is helpful to you, and you want to learn more, call Joan for a complimentary 15-minute consultation about improving your mental game. She can be reached by phone at 828-696-2547, or by email pmi4@bellsouth.net

 “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” guidebook for transforming your life

and your golf game  is available now on Amazon and Kindle

https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

Feel the love of playing golf in your heart

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

February is the month of love. The feeling of love comes from your heart. The feeling of hitting a perfect golf shot resonates in your heart. Discounting that feeling by judging the result keeps you in your thinking mind.

Love is a state of peace inside and out where you are focused in the moment. There is no worry, fear, doubt, indecision, humiliation, feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, inferiority, or superiority.  Any impulse to aggressively control your game will move you into these feelings of self-judgment.

One of the mental keys for successful golf is to let go of self-judgment. When you think about how you are doing, or how to do it, you are judging yourself and your performance under the guise of helping your game. When you judge yourself, you are likely to feel anxious, guilty, embarrassed, or angry. These feelings will ultimately sabotage your golf game, lower your self-esteem, and keep you from being successful.

“In the rounds of golf where you are in the zone and everything seems to flow in perfect order, your heart rhythms, blood pressure, and brain waves are entrained, or in sync. When you have a passionate love for what you are doing and are playing at your peak performance level, you have bypassed the fears of the ego.

The power to do this is in the heart. By activating feelings of the heart, you gain powerful insights that we call intuition, or inner wisdom. You intuitively know what to do.

Your mission is to discover and embrace the real you, not the person you think you have to be to be loved or accepted. Your hopes and dreams are waiting for you. Claim what your heart already knows and turn your dreams into reality. Love is the intuitive knowledge of our hearts. Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned about limiting our belief in ourselves. When we release the limiting and self-sabotaging thoughts, we free our minds and can return to love.

You will have your share of heartache on the golf course, but it doesn’t have to be a negative. See it as another vitally important experience that is useful to learn from. Then bring your awareness back to your heart to remember why you love to play this intriguing and seductive game.

Every thought and emotion you have produces chemicals and affects your central nervous system. When you are frustrated on the golf course and your body produces adrenaline, there is an easy way to bring your state back to peace and calm by thinking of someone or something you love.

Thoughts and senses of love produce endorphins. What do endorphins do? They calm and relax you. All you need to do to access this state is to move your thinking from your head to your heart. Holding the feeling of love for thirty seconds will balance your hormonal system.

Think about someone or something you love. For example, think about your pet. Imagine your pet giving you its unconditional love by jumping up and down, being excited to see you, licking you and wanting to play with you. With this easy imagery, your heart is filled with love, and the anger you experienced moments ago has dissipated.

Emotions like anger, frustration, and anxiety cause your heart rhythms to become irregular, which causes an energy drain in the brain that results in doubt and insecurity, making it difficult to make decisions. On the other hand, feelings of love, caring, and appreciation increase the access to clear, effective thinking and problem solving. These emotions produce more coherent heart rhythms, thus reducing disorder in the nervous system.

You have probably experienced the separation of mind and body and heart and have called it indecision or doubt. It is when you know in your heart you want to choose a certain club, and your rational mind talks you out of it.

You will be creating at your highest level when the electrical patterns of your heart and mind are entrained. This is done by creating positive attitudes and beliefs in your mind and by feeling emotions of love and fun and in your heart.

The best state of mind/body for competing is the attitude of going out and having a good time. This will give you a feeling of being loose and free. When fun, not score, is the desired outcome, it won’t matter what the score is, and more than likely the score will be a good one.

Being in the flow or zone happens when a golfer is totally engrossed in the process of playing. Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances. The fun happens when the golfer’s mind and heart are entrained in the challenging activity that matches the person’s skills. You forget about yourself and are one with the feeling of euphoria that comes from being in love with playing the game. The mystery is solved, and you want the feeling and game to go on forever!”

*Excerpts are from “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances”; Chapter 19 The Heart Connection

“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 guidebook for transforming your life and golf game

is available now on Amazon at

https://amzn.to/3rI8XiJ

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

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.

 

 

 

SUCCESSFULLY MANAGE YOUR WAY AROUND THE GOLF COURSE

Understand the design of your home course and why you make mental playing errors 

Before the golf season is in full swing, why don’t you take the time to analyze the holes at your home golf course? The golf course architect designed each hole with a specific purpose. If you look at the holes from the architect’s perspective, with your abilities in mind, you might find a smarter way to play them.

Golf is a game where the position of your golf ball is vital for scoring. Without a plan it is easy to beat yourself. Professionals have a plan to play each hole for the lowest possible score. With the plan in mind, they then focus by taking dead aim at each target, one shot at a time. 

In planning your strategy, visualize the entire hole or use Google Earth https://www.google.com/earth/ It allows you to search for your golf course and measure hole distances using satellite images.

In planning your strategy, ask yourself the following questions for each hole:

  • What is the length of the hole?
  • Is the fairway landing area wide or narrow?
  • Is it flat, undulating or sloping?
  • Is it straight away or a dog leg?
  • What is the yardage from the tee to the trouble (bunkers, water, trees, etc.)?
  • Where do I want to land my tee ball to avoid all the problems?
  • Is there trouble around the green (water, sand bunkers, trees behind, etc.)?
  • Is it better to hit short or long on this green?
  • What is the shape, slope, speed of the green?

You may have lots of talent, but if you don’t know how to think your way around the golf course, you aren’t going to play to your potential. Here are some tips for managing your golf game:

  1. Play the percentages. Don’t expect to hit your best shot. Hit the shot that you can hit 75% of the time.
  2. Hit the ball in the fairway. Sometimes that is easier said than done. Know where the widest part of the fairway is and hit to the largest landing area. This may require using a 3-wood instead of a driver. Know exactly how far it is to avoid the fairway bunkers.
  3. Par 3’s: Know where to miss it away from any possible trouble spots. Plan to land the ball where you haven’t “short sided” the next shot. Give yourself the best angle to hit to the green. If the pin is on the left, tee your ball up on the right and vice versa.
  4. Par 4’s: Use the terrain of the hole to help you put the tee ball on a flat fairway lie. If you miss the fairway, knowing the layout of the hole will enable you to change your strategy for the best possible recovery.
  5. Par 5’s: These longer holes give you one more chance to recover. If you have to lay-up, place the ball where you can hit a full shot and have a good opening into the green.

If this is your “off season” it would be a good time to formulate your plan now before you get back to the golf course. By looking at the yardages on each hole you can make decisions on which clubs to use to avoid the trouble and hazards. This will allow you to avoid indecision, thinking and analyzing when you are on the course.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to use imagery 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” guidebook for transforming your life and your golf game is available now on Amazon and Kindle at https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Your Strategy for Having Fun on the Golf Course

During this holiday season, I send my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to all of you for your continued support in my mission to help golfers achieve joy, peace, and awareness in their lives and in their golf games.

December is a month of reflection and preparation. It is the arbitrary end of a cycle we call one year. This natural cycle is one way to measure your movement along your path of life. It is an opportunity to look back upon the experiences you have had: the successes, the missed opportunities, and the memorable moments. It is a good time to ask yourself some questions that will empower you to ensure that next year is even more fun and rewarding than the past year.

Among the pandemic, economic slowdown, and election year, many circumstances, and relationships have been put on hold.  With a few new restrictions, golfers have been fortunate to move out of quarantine and on to the golf course for enjoyment as an outlet for exercise, companionship, and competition during the past nine stressful months.

Are you having fun playing golf?

When you watch golfers on TV, do they look like they are playing a game? …. or closing a business deal?

I remember playing in the Palm Beach County Women’s Championship at Ironhorse Golf Club in Florida. Next to the 17th green, there were several men putting a roof on a new home. They had their boombox playing loudly. They were laughing, obviously enjoying their work as they scampered across the roof. As I looked at my playing partners waiting for their turns on the green, it was quiet, somber and serious. What is wrong with this picture? The roofers were having fun while they worked, and the golfers were working at having fun.

When you watch golfers on TV, do they look like they are playing a game? …. or closing a business deal?

When I ask golfers why they play golf, they almost never mention it is to have fun. Somewhere along the timeline of learning how to play the game, golfers move from their heart center which feels the love and fun for the game back into the brain to analyze, criticize, and problem solve in hopes of moving to a higher level of performance. 

Play golf from your heart, not your ego 

When I ask golfers why they spend 4-6 hours of their unbelievably valuable time playing golf, the general answers I receive usually include:

  1. The challenge of the game; the competition.
  2. Because they are good at it, or want to improve.
  3. To enjoy the game with friends – the sociability.
  4. The scenery, being outdoors, the exercise.

While these are all good reasons, the intentions usually get lost in the round of golf, and the fears of not performing well enough surface instead. Rarely do I hear that the number one reason for amateurs and professionals to play golf is to have FUN.

From the beginning, it has always been my purpose to show golfers how to have FUN playing the game of golf. Once this intention is sidetracked the ego takes over. If golf isn’t fun, it will be a struggle. For me personally, my number one reason for playing golf is for my own enjoyment; to have fun.

Are you having fun on the golf course?

What then is fun? Fun is an activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation.

What does it mean to play? Engaging in play is a physical or mental leisure activity that is undertaken purely for enjoyment or amusement and has no other objective. You experience play when you are totally engrossed in the moment.

My basic premise is that golf is a game we play for FUN. And the operative word is play. We don’t golf, we don’t go golfing, we play golf.

For most of us, it was the first shot we hit perfectly on the sweet spot that made us feel so wonderful inside…..and we were hooked! That is the heartfelt feeling of fun!

My second premise of that if you play for fun and enjoy what you are doing, then you will play well. All you have to do is look back on your school years. The courses you took that you really enjoyed, you did well in because it was fun to put in the effort.

My Uncle Dick loved to play golf. His favorite way to play golf was to go out late in the afternoon and play a course of his own design. He would tee off and then play cross-country creating shots across fairways instead of playing down them, and then hitting shots back to put the ball in the hole. That was his way of having fun.

The mental game of golf is the same for all golfers, amateur, and professional. Arnold Palmer was trying to shoot his age (66) at the GTE Northwest Class in Seattle. On the 18th hole, he crushed his drive and had 205 yards left, which was a perfect 5-wood for him. He let his desire overcome his allowance and he choked. He said he was so nervous he hit it fat and left it 50 yards short of the green. He said he could have hit it that far with his backswing! After regaining his composure, he pitched his third shot within a foot and tapped the putt in for a birdie, and was able to shoot his age.

Most golfers rely on playing well to have fun. I believe that the opposite is true. The more fun you have, the better you will play. You will have fun when you are at ease, focused, and enjoying what you are doing.

How then do you have fun? 

Children have fun when they are totally engrossed in what they are doing. That is why they can watch the same cartoon over and over, enjoying it the same every time. They can play the same game a multitude of times, enjoying it every time. There is no judgment. There is no criticism. There is no analysis. They just enjoy being a part of it.

Golfers, on the other hand, make work out of what is supposed to be their play. Golfers can make golf a game of frustration, aggravation, humility, fear, worry, anxiety, and other self-defeating emotions. Where is the fun in that?

Most golfers believe that when they play well, they will be happy. And when they aren’t playing well, they experience anger and frustration. To be successful requires a paradigm shift in the thoughts that cause your emotions. It is important to remain in a state of loving the experience of playing golf no matter what the results are.

Get out of your own way on the golf course

You have heard that golf is a metaphor for life. The way you play reflects the way you live. When you lose your focus, you become self-centered and forget about having fun.  Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

The best state of mind/body for competing is the attitude of going out and having a good time. This will give you a feeling of being loose and free. When fun, not score is the desired outcome, it won’t matter what the score is, and more than likely the score will be a good one.

The Human Spirit of the Golfer

Golf reflects the journey into your inner self through exploring the mysteries of this royal and ancient game. At its highest levels of hitting perfect shots, and achieving your fullest potential, your spirit quietly soars “into the zone” where you are in a state of euphoria and trust. No longer is your spirit dampened by past experiences of fear, anxiety, indecision, distractions, and self-limitations. The joy you experience is in the moment, and not in the score.

Being in the “zone state” or flow on the golf course is the feeling of being in love. You have lost your personality self by being in love with the game and have forgotten the worries, judgments, and thoughts you have about yourself and your game. Align with your mind-body-spirit by experiencing love for the game rather than fear.

Show how strong your spirit is. 2020 was a year of living through fear potential. Keep your heart disconnected from the fear. Maintain neutrality through all your experiences.

Make next year more playful and fun

Trust that you have practiced enough mentally and physically and can let go and allow what you have learned to happen so you can have fun playing the game with full awareness of experiencing being in the moment.

Trust! Allow! It’s just a game. It’s supposed to be fun! Enjoy yourself and enjoy the journey!

Remember that the more fun you have on the golf course, the better you play. Put a smile into your pre-shot routine so you are programmed and ready to enjoy!

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

Gift yourself this Christmas with Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs to program your game for success, 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 guidebook for transforming your life and golf game is available now on

https://amzn.to/37PE9EA

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

SUPERSTITIOUS GOLF

Superstitions give golfers a feeling of luck based on their past performances. Some golfers believe superstitions help them to avoid bad luck and that their performances would fail without them.

What will the pros who are superstitious think and feel about playing Augusta National Golf Club on Friday the 13th?

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day and the most feared date in history. The second round of the 2020 Masters will be played on Friday the 13th. If the Masters had been played as usual in April, the only other Friday the 13th in 2020 would have been avoided as it was in March.

In addition to the fear of playing on the 13th, there is the Masters superstition jinx that if a player wins the Wednesday Par-3 Contest, he will not win the tournament as no one has won both in the same week. in 2009, Tiger played in the Par 3 contest at the Masters. He was 8 under par and hit balls in the water on 9 and 10 to make sure he wouldn’t win the Par 3 contest and jeopardize his chances of winning the Masters. Angel Cabrera won in a play-off against Kenny Perry that year. And in 2004 Tiger withdrew from a three-way playoff just in case the superstition was real. He finished tied for 22nd.

With the Masters Tournament just two weeks away, the committee just announced cancelation of the Par-3 Contest because of the lack of fans due to Covid 19 restrictions. The fear of the jinx is gone for this year. 

This got me to thinking about how professional golfers view superstitions. I had always heard about tour pros repeating rituals when they were winning. They would drive the same car to the golf course, wear the same shoes, the same clothing, go to the same restaurant, eat the same food, and use the same number on their balls. Since their livelihood depends on their ability to play consistently, it is understandable that they don’t want to change anything when they are playing well. However, some of the pre-game rituals they use make me wonder if they have convinced themselves that it will really affect the outcome. A ritual is an action an athlete takes with the belief that it has the power to influence their performance.

Why do golfers believe in superstitions?

When a golfer has an exceptionally good round, s/he usually goes over the round to figure out how it happened. What did s/he do to “cause” it? In addition to reviewing their swing mechanics, they might notice what they wore or ate, and anything that might be unusual. The success of the round is then attributed to one of these “causes” and the golfer will then try to recreate the same situation.

I remember hearing of a high school team who won their first spring match when everyone was wearing their team sweaters. They didn’t want to “jinx” their success, so they wore their sweaters even when the temperatures climbed into the 90’s. Does this make sense?

Superstitious beliefs on the Pro Tours

The Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary defines superstition as “an unfounded belief that some action or circumstance completely unrelated to a course of events can influence its outcome.” Here are some examples of superstitions that world-class professionals believe will make them perform better.

Bubba Watson eats one or two burritos every day while playing the tournament. He won twice there.
Tiger Woods always wears a red shirt for power in the final round of a tournament.
Paula Creamer changes her shirt to pink for the final round of a tournament.
John Cook marks his golf ball with the quarters that have state pictures where he played well in tournaments.
Doug Sanders considered white golf tees unlucky and refused to play golf with them.
Tom Weiskoff said he never teed off without 3 tees and 3 cents in his pocket. He will only tee off on a par-3 hole with a broken tee.
Paul Azinger always marked his golf ball with a penny, with the head of Abraham Lincoln looking at the hole for good luck.
Christina Kim doesn’t step on the edge where the fairway meets the green, as she believes this will bring bad luck to her golf game.
Jesper Parnevik always marks his ball with the tails-side up.
Jack Nicklaus always played with three coins in his pocket.
Ernie Els changes to a new ball after every birdie because he figures that ball’s luck is all used up. He also believes the number 2 is unlucky.
Retief Goosen starts the 1st round of a tournament with a ball with number 4, number 3 in the 2nd round, number 2 in the 3rd round and a number one ball in the final round.
Davis Love III only uses white tees and marks his balls on the green with only 1965 or 1966 pennies. Any coin minted after that will bring him bad luck!
Zach Johnson’s wife made him a ball marker that contains biblical phrases and verses that he reads during the round.
Vijay Singh uses balls in the reverse order.
Ben Crenshaw only played low number balls to keep his score on a hole to four or below.
Davis Love III marks his ball with a 1965 or 1966 penny.
Stewart Cink who stays clear of all superstitions because, he says, all they do is bring him bad luck.
Graham DeLaet grew the traditional Canadian playoff beard and applied it to golf. He grew a thick beard for the FedEx Cup.
Lee Trevino, a former U.S. Marine wouldn’t play yellow tees because yellow is the color of cowardice.
Some players do not play number 3 balls because they think it is a jinx for 3 putts.
Golf balls with a number higher than four are often associated with bad luck and are hardly made anymore.

Fear vs. Luck

Would it affect your luck if you did not act on your superstitious beliefs? Does it bring you luck? I believe there is a certain amount of luck in the game of golf. I also believe that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

To have consistent results in the game of golf, it is necessary to have a consistent pre-shot routine. The rituals listed above are routines that are not needed. Golfers practice superstition routines in the hopes of bringing success, or to keep away the fear of bad luck. Fear is always a belief conjured up by the individual that keeps the mind emotionally engaged. If the golfer forgets to do the ritual, the fear of creating bad luck takes over.

Golfers always want to have more control on the golf course. Practicing superstitious rituals gives away your power as it occupies the mind with thoughts that have no relevance to preparing for the shot/putt. Visualization and mental imagery are mental routines that recreate successful past shots and feelings as if they are happening in the present moment. Prepare your mind with these useful mental skills and forget about the rituals based on an irrational belief. Put your trust in yourself, your preparation, and in your abilities.

The secret to success in your golf game is NOT in having what you want but in being grateful for what you do HAVE. Having an “attitude of gratitude” on the golf course brings you into a higher vibration that moves you past any negative situation and attracts more of the best in your game. Remove your expectations from all outcomes of attachment to how you want things to be. Enjoy the process of being in the present and PLAYING this wonderful game of golf.

Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Brain for Peak Performances!

Improve your control, consistency, concentration and confidence to play focused golf by listening to PMI compact discs in the privacy of your own home. As you listen to these audios repeatedly you will program your mind to become more consistent every time you play because you will be in control, concentrating easier, and having more fun playing the great game of golf! Available now 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” guidebook 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!

 

IMPROVE YOUR GOLF FOCUS

Now that the major championships are over and the golf season is drawing to a close, it is a good time to evaluate your golf game and instill new mindsets in preparation for a solid start next year. In short, it is time to begin thinking about improving your game of the future.

Focus!

How many times after a missed shot have you realized what you had done to cause it? Taking the time to focus and prepare mentally produces the results you desire.

Focusing on your score accomplishes the reverse effect of what you are trying to accomplish. When you think about your score you are keeping your focus from giving the shot your full attention. Your main objectives are hitting your target and putting the ball in the hole.  Do not become attached to the results of your actions. You know how well you can play with the result you should expect. When that doesn’t happen, frustration can negatively affect your mindset and game. Let go of expectations and any attachment to the outcome.

Give every shot your full intention and attention!

It is my belief that all missed golf shots are due to mental errors. The key to playing consistently is to prepare your mind 100% the same way every time so your results are consistent. Your pre-shot routine is the tool to bring your focus into the present. Practice your pre-shot routine on the range until it becomes habitual and you don’t need to think about it. This will turn your preparation over to your subconscious mind for allowing your body to perform effortlessly according to the information you have given it.

When you let go, everything is effortless. Your thoughts are no longer producing emotions that move you out of your desired focus. 

Instead of focusing on what you want to avoid, or upon the results, spend more time visualizing and imagining what you do want to focus on. Practice being in the state of mind where nothing exists except your awareness and hitting your target.

Ways to focus on your mental pre-shot routine!    

  • Do not rush your preparation. The USGA Rules of Golf allow you 40 seconds to prepare to hit your shot. This is plenty of time to do the following.
  • Use good course management. Take the time to think positively about your strategy. Take into account the lie of your ball in the grass. Is it on a slope? Is it under a tree? What is your safest target? Will the wind affect your distance and direction?
  • Be decisive about your club selection. Trust the club in your hands to produce a good solid golf shot. Believe in your club selection and target.
  • Clear your mind of all negative emotions.  Let go of all fears by thinking about the shot you want to hit. Focus on your target and how to get there.
  • Clear your mind of all distractions. If you are distracted by movement, noises outside your head or thoughts inside your head, back off and begin your pre-shot routine again.
  • Clear your mind of all previous shots. Thinking about other shots draws your attention away from the shot you are about to hit.
  • Take a practice swing to feel your swing tempo. Limit your thinking to one thought about how to access your rhythm.
  • Take deep abdominal breaths to slow down your thinking mind. Breathing deeply will put your mind and body in a relaxed state for easier focus.
  • Be precise in your alignment. Set up correctly. Pick an intermediate spot to align yourself correctly to your target.
  • Be ready to enjoy hitting the shot. Smile inside to create a sense of ease, confidence, and joy for the shot you are about to hit.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

Improve your concentration and mindset to play focused golf by listening to PMI compact discs in the privacy of your own home. As you listen to these audios repeatedly you will program your mind to become more consistent every time you play because you will be in control, concentrating easier, and having more fun playing the great game of golf!  Available now 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” guidebook 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do Slow Golfers Frustrate You?

LPGA Stacy Lewis had to develop a strong mindset for slow play to win the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open August 17th. Lewis said, “the pace of play is dreadfully slow, and that doesn’t play into my favor. People I’m playing with are pretty slow.” She added, “You really kind of get out of rhythm and it’s hard to keep things going.” In 2019 Stacy also said, “I will never understand 5 hours and 50 minutes to play a round of golf! It’s not fun for us as players and can’t be fun to watch!”

In 1987 I watched the USGA Men’s Amateur Championship being played at Jupiter Hills, FL The men played in twosomes and the round took 5-1/2 hours. I waited on a par-3 for 20 minutes for the green to clear so the twosome could hit their shots, and then I left. Nothing has changed in the 33-year interim!

Professional golfers on average will play a hole in 10 minutes, and amateurs will play in 15 minutes. This adds up to an 18-hole round of golf taking anywhere from 3 to 4-1/2 hours.
Everyone knows who the slow players are. I remember playing in the USGA North-South Senior Women’s Amateur Championship where I was paired with a player so slow that even the women’s locker room attendant knew who she was. Yes, at the end of 9 holes we were warned that we were behind on our pace of play.

The PGA Tour also knows who the slow players are. At the start of the 2020 season, the Tour put together The Observation List of the slowest 20-25 players. These players are notified prior to a tournament that they must make every shot within 60 seconds. If they do not comply, they are put on the clock and then financially penalized.

The Type-C “Slow Player” Personality

Who is this “slow player” that frustrates other golfers?

The golfer who takes more than the allotted 40 seconds to hit their shot could have a Type C personality. This is a person who is very detail-oriented, interested in accuracy, is logical and totally prepared. They are very careful in their planning, resourceful and will look at all aspects of preparation for the shot. They require a lot of details and facts before they make a decision.

Accountants and lawyers have Type C personality traits that require patience, facts and accuracy. Although you may not appreciate this kind of meticulously slow golfer on the golf course, you will certainly appreciate their details, accuracy and preparation of your tax returns! They seek perfection!

Your peak performance is in large part determined by your personal management of your own behavior. The more you understand your own behavior patterns, the more you can adapt to the different situations that come up on the golf course. The less you understand the fewer options you have.

The Type-A Personality

Americans are doers. Seventy-five percent of our large urban population is made up of Type-A people. About half of the general population has Type-A tendencies.

Type-A people exhibit the following characteristics on the golf course:
• They are easily irritated by delays.
• They have a high degree of competitiveness.
• They have a low tolerance for frustration.
• They are in a hurry to finish the round.
• They get really annoyed at themselves when they mishit shots.
• They cannot relax without feeling guilty.

Golf requires that you change your impatient, intolerant, always-in-a-hurry behavior. While you can’t change your personality, you can learn to behave in a patient, tolerant and more easygoing manner as required by the USGA Etiquette and Rules of Golf.

  • If you are a Type-A person, it is not enough to just learn how to relax. You must also change your thinking, behavior, and attitudes to avoid mental mistakes on the golf course.
  • Under pressure such as slow play, fast players will speed up to make up for the delay. Their swings become fast and erratic. Slow players under pressure (like being told to speed up) will slow down and become even more deliberate.
  • If you are a golfer who likes fast action, use the slow play as a red flag signal for you to change your hurried pace. Walk slower, breathe deeply to relax and use the extra time to plan your shots more carefully.
  • Slow down your mind instead of letting it race into the future “what-if” scenarios. Type-As tend to think rapidly with two or three ideas going simultaneously. Don’t decide on a plan of action until you get to your ball.
  • Most important is your attitude toward time and the sense of urgency. Decide that you will give every shot the same amount of time and attention making each one the most important shot/putt you will hit in that round.
  • Changing your behavior begins in the mind. Improve your time management by planning to spend more than four hours on the course. Consider all your options when you have a problem. Smile at your missed shots instead of being in a hurry to correct them. It is impossible to be anxious and calm at the same time.

The number one problem on golf courses today is slow play! This 18-hole game that should take about four hours has slowed to a 5 1/2-hour weekend endurance test! When you are playing behind or with slow players, change your own attitude and behavior to enjoy your golf regardless of the pace of play.

Everyone can be included in four basic personality types. Everyone has some of each of the four basic styles, but you probably have more of one type than the others. When you understand your personality traits, you can then consider the strengths and weaknesses specific to your style and can then relate your behavior to your golf game. Under pressure your strengths could become your weaknesses because you will use the behavior that makes you feel most comfortable.

For further information about how your personality traits affect your golf performances, link on to www.pmi4.com, Archived Newsletters, January, February, March, April 2004, “Who Are You?” https://cutt.ly/lflXzYa

Play “in the zone” with Joan
Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

Improve your concentration and mindset to play focused golf by listening to PMI compact discs in the privacy of your own home. As you listen to these audios repeatedly you will program your mind to become more consistent every time you play because you will be in control, concentrating easier, and having more fun playing the great game of golf! Available now 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” guidebook 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!

 

 

 

How do I play golf one shot at a time?

Golf is called a mental game because you need to manage your thoughts to play well. Internal or external distractions keep golfers from playing at their peak performance levels. Your mind is most alert and calm when you are focused on the present moment and not thinking about the past or the future which will result in performance anxiety.

In sports, concentration is more difficult because it is done under self-inflicted pressure. Pressure causes anxiety and anxiety is a distraction. Internal or external distractions keep golfers from playing at their peak performance levels. Anyone who is playing to their peak potential is perfectly focused.

Concentration is a mindset that you can develop as well as any professional. Lack of concentration/focus is due to many factors; including tension, being too involved with your score, correcting, finding or improving your swing, indecision, negative thinking,  fear of missing a shot, fear of keeping a good round going, etc. The list is endless.

Concentration is not thinking. It is not an analytical process where you think about what is going on, what has happened in the past or what will happen in the future. When you are concentrating, the past and future thoughts disappear, and you are experiencing the process of creating your golf shot in the present. It happens when you focus your attention on one image, object, experience, or line of thought as it is taking place. Your pre-shot routine prepares you to concentrate in the moment.

Your pre-shot routine is the map that gives direction to your brain about the shot you are going to hit. For your results to be consistent, your routine prior to swinging must be the same every time. The more you are absorbed in your preparation for the shots, the less you are distracted. When you focus on executing your pre-shot routine precisely the same way every time, concentration/focus just happens. Then there is no worry, no anxiety and you are in total control with your mind and body entrained.

The ability to focus your mind is all-important in achieving a successful performance.  For most people, concentration constantly shifts from outside of you between shots to inside yourself for the actual shot.  Watching an engrossing movie, your attention is focused on the action. In the same way, planning a golf shot can be just as engrossing. Focus your full attention along with your full intention on what you want to happen. Stay committed to your mental and physical pre-shot routines. This will keep you calm, in control, and focused on hitting one shot at a time.

A mind that is busy, restless or indecisive will find it difficult to concentrate on one shot at a time. The first step toward improved concentration would be to quiet your mind.  When it is your turn to hit, “turn on” your focus by going into your established pre-shot routine to keep your mind from wandering.

  •  Begin by taking deep abdominal breaths to relax and slow down your mind.
  •  Be decisive about the club you are going to use.
  •  Take practice swings to feel your tempo.
  •  Mentally rehearse the shot using positive images of past successful shots.
  •  Trust you will hit the shot that you have imagined in your mind.

As you approach your ball, begin to change your outer focus of attention to creating the shot you are about to hit by using your senses of feeling, visualization, and imagery. Imagine that you are wearing blinders and can only see and feel the execution of the upcoming shot.

Analyze the wind, yardage, type of shot, target and club selection. Be totally committed to the club and shot you have selected. Narrow your focus further by standing behind the ball, connecting clearly with the target, visualizing the flight of the ball to the target. Finish narrowing your focus by feeling the swing, either by swinging the club or mentally imagining it in your mind. If you have practiced your swing using a swing-thought or swing-cue, activate it to initiate your swing.

Concentration is the art of allowing yourself to become interested. Allow yourself to become enraptured with what you are doing.

“Discipline and concentration are a matter of being interested.”  ~  Tom Kite

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

Improve your concentration and mindset to play one shot at a time by listening to the PMI compact disc “Concentration for Consistent Golf” in the privacy of your own home. As you listen to this audio repeatedly you will program your mind to become more consistent every time you play because you will be in control, concentrating easier, and having more fun playing the great game of golf!  Available now 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” guidebook for transforming your life and golf game is available now on Amazon and Kindle at https://amzn.to/2MQzjfq  All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

Do Your thoughts get in the way of your golf game?

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT)

Do you think you are a positive person? According to the National Science Foundation, the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts every day.

Of those thoughts, 80% are negative and 95% are the same thoughts you thought before. Are you aware of the repetitive and/or negative thoughts you have on the golf course that are detrimental for your golf game?

Your golf game is a direct reflection of your thoughts and emotions. To change your game, change your thoughts and attitude because you are your own worst judge and jury. When you hit a bad shot, or make a big number, do you quickly rush to a verdict about yourself? The more you become aware of the power of your thoughts, the more you can be in charge of your experience and world.

Self-Talk 

Self-talk is your internal dialogue. It is influenced by your subconscious mind, and it reveals your thoughts, beliefs, questions, and ideas. Self-talk can be both negative and positive. The self-talk that we all have, is either voices from our past (fear) that we have chosen to replay on the tape in our heads, or thoughts of the future (anxiety) that we expect will happen.  Either self-talk will sabotage your golf game. Even a pro will experience anxiety over an expected result.

How do we get these voices in our heads and learn to sabotage ourselves? Children are like sponges and automatically believe every single thing adults say about them, and then they self-perpetuate those beliefs into adulthood. If someone told you as a child that you had a good golf swing, that you are well coordinated, and that you will be a great golfer, you have a dream and believe it. If you were told that you weren’t good enough, this notion is then installed into your unconscious mind and you will continue to struggle with being successful.

When you think the same positive thoughts consistently, you create a powerful momentum. Ask yourself if your thoughts agree with what you want to experience. The more you become aware of the power of your thoughts, the more you can be in charge of your golf game experience and your world.

The past is behind you and you must leave it there. Walk away from the past. Stay in the present to create each shot as a new experience. Do not keep looking back. Whenever you encounter a negative thought on the golf course, replace it with a positive one repeatedly so it will become an automatic self-affirming thought. In this way you can change your internal programming from being stressed out, anxious, fearful, worried, angry, or overwhelmed to a state where you feel playful, love, creativity, gratitude, joyful, and appreciation.

Mistakes

There is no such thing as an error-free round of golf. You are going to make mistakes and you are going to have some bad breaks.

Research suggests that regardless of the activity, we make between three to six errors per hour. That is the reason there is an eracer on the end of a pencil. We all make mistakes on and off the golf course. You are not your mistakes. What is important is how we effectively bounce back from our mishits and grow stronger from the learning experience.

One of the things that defines our character is how we handle mistakes. Let yourself learn and grow from them. Let yourself be. You are only human and will make mistakes. Don’t let your mistake turn into a habit. Learn from it and move on.

When you are playing “in the zone” there is no fear or anxiety. If you mishit a shot, it doesn’t bother you because you know that you are in control of all facets of your game. You are totally enjoying being focused on shot-making.

It is my belief that all mistakes on the golf course are mental errors caused by worrisome thoughts. When I mishit a shot/putt, I immediately physically replay it to anchor the swing and the tempo that I did want into my unconscious instead of leaving the negative feeling and imprint of a mishit. In that way, I can easily let go of the mishit and focus on the one I desire.

Making mistakes is part of the human experience. We all make them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are just proof that you are trying. Don’t judge yourself for making mistakes. Learn from them so you won’t make them again. When you make enough of them, you will have more control and have learned how to play the game successfully.

The only certainty about golf is its uncertainty.  One day you feel good about your game and play poorly.  The next day you have no expectations and win.

Keep your golf dreams alive with positive thoughts and emotions.  You never know when the miracles will happen.

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” 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!