Are your subconscious thoughts sabotaging your golf game?

Over the last 25 years, I have been helping golfers and other athletes learn how to perform at their peak performance levels through an understanding and awareness of Self. The mental game of golf is not about just being stronger mentally. It is about changing your beliefs of lack and limitation that were ingrained in you as a child from someone else’s fearful beliefs and values. When you have the self-esteem to believe in yourself and your abilities there is no struggle and you can just allow yourself to play “in the zone.”

“As the twig is bent, so grows the tree* 

As an infant, you were constantly given attention because you were helpless and needed to be taken care of. As you began to move about in your first year, your parents began to treat you differently. They were aware of the many dangers that could befall a toddler, like falling down the stairs or running out into the street. Throughout your childhood years, you were then told over and over again what you could not do. In truth, you were told this many times more than what you can do. So around the age of two, you began to willfully say NO.

By the time you were five years old, you were told negatives or NO, 30,000 times. By the time you are 13 years old, you are told negatives or NO 100,000 times. You grew up in an environmentally negative society. You heard the word bad more often than good. You were told you were wrong more times than you were told you were right. You were criticized more times than you were praised. You were told not to do something more times than you were told what to do.

Negative programming for athletics 

As a child and teenager you were warned hundreds/thousands of times by your parents and other authority figures of the dangers in physical activities that included running, catching, throwing, lifting, tugging, kicking, twisting, turning, pushing, pulling, jumping, climbing, rolling, swinging, hanging, and sliding. What you were told was that you would hurt yourself by breaking an arm or a leg, tripping, banging your head, scraping your knee, or just bruising yourself. When a child hears these messages, s/he visualizes the scenario and the subconscious mind then programs and stores the injurious situations that the well-meaning parents were striving to avoid.

If on the other hand if you were told repeatedly as a child that you are athletic and well coordinated, have a good golf swing and that you will be a great golfer, you would believe that and follow this dream. A good example of this kind of loving conditioning is Jack Nicklaus who was trained to believe in himself by his parents and his golf pro. How else could he play like a champion when the galleries were shouting a derogatory “Fat Jack” at him? He transformed his image into “The Golden Bear” with his winning performances. His thinking is always positive and he had to strain to think of anything negative when the press asked him about missed shots.

What will they think of me? 

As adults, golfers put the biggest pressure on themselves by worrying about how they will look to others. On the pro level, the media is constantly judging them by pointing out mistakes and failures.

Self-esteem is the issue. Children learn early on that when a parent, teacher or trusted authority figure says you do something wrong, you need to be punished because you are bad. Hearing these messages over and over, they are programmed into your subconscious mind and take on the role of the authority figures even after they are gone. When you are standing over the golf ball and one of these self-doubting thoughts surfaces, your self-sabotage takes over and punishes you with a missed shot. 

Your Inner Child 

The inner child is a powerful psychology reality. The destructive programming you took in as a child is now an unconscious part of yourself because you took it in without question. These mental programs can be triggered on the golf course, especially under pressure.

As we grow into adulthood, our inner child’s capacity for joy and playfulness is stifled by listening to a society that tells us to act otherwise. Adults tend to believe they have outgrown their childhood fears, anger, traumas, and hurts. These memories and emotions are still alive in your unconscious mind unless you have re-parented your inner child with the protection of unconditional love and acceptance.

When you are feeling anxious, afraid, or not good enough on the golf course, you are tapping into the emotions of your dissociated inner child. As adults, we can’t expect golf or other people to fill this inner need when we look for what is missing by seeking it in the outside world. When we truly accept and nurture our wounded inner child, we will play to our full potential.”

*Excerpts are from Chapter 9: Performance Anxiety; “THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances”

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“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.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

To train your brain to play your best golf, listen to self-empowering Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs in the privacy of your own home, available at

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at 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.


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