The puzzling question in golf has always been; “How do I get into ‘the zone’ or ‘flow state’ to play automatically at my personal best?” This is the biggest mystery of golf.

I live in an area that is known for being a rainforest. We have a substantial amount of sunshine and an equal amount of rain to keep the grass, trees, and flowers lush and growing. This fall I dug up the crabgrass in my lawn and planted grass seed in the bare spots. I watered it faithfully every day for a week and then I got busy and didn’t water it for three days. The hot summer sun dried up the seed and most of it died. Weeds grew In the remaining dirt because weeds don’t need water. Weeds grow because they have shallow roots and absorb water at the top of the soil which steals it from the grass that has deeper root systems.

Nature is a metaphor for the growth and success we desire in our golf games. When we win, fulfillment is only temporary. It must be done again. Even the grass goes dormant in the winter.

What we need to do first is get rid of the baggage (the weeds) we are holding inside so it won’t come back and interfere with our future successes. To be successful at golf requires finding the right knowledge (soil), removing negativity (weeds) and a healthy sense of self-esteem (water).

Mental Interference

Your mind is your servant, and you can do anything you want with it. While your mind is the most powerful computer, we constantly interfere with the programming we have put into it. And we are not always aware of the existing programming we accepted in our childhood as truth. We are still being manipulated by someone else’s beliefs. You will be the master of your mind when you clear out thoughts and beliefs that are not your own. The latest buzz word is “overthinking.” Let go of too much analysis and instead learn from the experience of feeling to give you awareness. It is only in your quiet, focused mind that you can access “the zone.”

Fearless Golf

Fear and excitement operate in the same vibrational frequency. The difference is that fear keeps us stuck in our old patterns which have mostly been handed down to us. Fear keeps us anchored in belief systems that may not even be ours to begin with. Discern what is your truth and what belongs to others. Pay attention to your feelings. They tell you about you.

The only way to remove fearful thoughts and emotions is to face them head on. When you face them, your anxiety will go away. Fear is only part of the equation when it comes to facing something uncomfortable. You need motivation to conquer your fear. Instead of letting fear hold you back, use it as motivation to achieve your goals.

In my golf career I took lessons from many of the top Professional Golf Teachers. They all had different ideas about the golf swing depending on their own experience. My home Pro spent restless nights trying to figure out how to cure my shanks. It wasn’t until I shanked my way all around a par 3 during the club championship, that I was motivated to go to the range to discover how to shank on purpose. Then I was aware of what I was doing and how to correct it. To exercise control over your mind, you must detach from your thoughts (or someone else’s) and experience for yourself.

Golfers think that finding the perfect swing is the answer. They spend hours practicing technique to groove their swing. How many times do you revert to your “old” swing when things are going badly? You do not use the same swing every time. Every shot and situation are a new and different experience. The one constant to practice is your personal tempo, which is a feeling, not a thought.

The Zone State of Awareness

I easily recall the feeling of being in the zone on the golf course. Although I shot memorable scores, it is the feeling of this higher state of consciousness that reminds me of the freedom that happened without conscious effort or thought.

In this higher state of awareness, there are feelings of total calm and peace (no fear or anxiety); ease and effortlessness in swinging; a heightened sense of intuition; ease of movement; total enjoyment; weightlessness; a sense of euphoria; increased power; intensified concentration (no indecision or distractions); mental clarity (seeing a line on the green or a line to the target); and being in complete control.  Golfers “in the zone” state typically play with more accuracy due to an increased sense of feel and awareness, hit the ball longer, and shoot lower scores indicative of their peak potential.

When you are “in the zone” you are in an altered state where time appears to stand still. What happens is that you have slowed down your conscious problem-solving mind. At the same time, your intuitive subconscious mind has speeded up so that you intuitively know what to do without any interference from doubt, anxiety, or fear. You are in the flow where you are fully involved in the process of creating the shot, enjoying the feeling. You have let go of the problem and allowed your higher consciousness to create what you desire. Clean out the clutter. It may not be yours.

Breathing is your portal into the zone

Breathing is what you do every day without thinking about it. Have you noticed that the rhythm of breathing is like the rhythm of your golf swing? When you inhale, there is a brief second pause before you begin your exhalation. When you swing a golf club, there is a momentary pause at the top of the backswing before it changes direction for the downswing.

When you are in an emotional state such as worry, anger, or fear. your breathing will be quick and erratic. The rhythm of your breath is affected by any state of mind. Your breathing is in sync with your thoughts. You can modify the state of your mind by changing your breathing pattern.

The Pre-shot Routine

The key to accessing this awesome superconscious state of being is your pre-shot routine. It is a technique to take you out of your conscious mind, letting go of planning, and into your subconscious mind of just allowing. Focusing on slow, deep breaths serves as a key to unlocking the door to this extraordinary realm. Taking deep breaths allows you to transcend the limitations of the physical world and experience the expansive nature of your true self.

As you practice the technique of deep breathing, use your sense of visualization or imagination to watch your exhaled breath move away from you, stopping, and returning in a slow, methodical rhythm. When you visualize your breath in this way, your mind stops. Feel the quiet, calm, relaxation move into your mind and body. Install 2-3 deep breaths into your pre-shot routine and practice this routine on the range with every shot until you feel comfortable with the extraordinary freedom feelings of being “in the zone.”


When I started my workshops, I wanted to show golfers how to have fun playing golf instead of complaining about what wasn’t working. The way to have fun is to love playing golf for the challenge and experience instead of the results. Feel and use your senses. Play with the feelings of a child who plays for the sheer enjoyment of what he/she is experiencing in the moment.

Take care of the seeds (thoughts) that you plant. You are the gardener; knowledge is the seed. For maintenance, use your mental weed whacker and remove all the weeds (mental debris) that interfere with your serenity.

Play “in the zone” with Joan

            Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances 

Additional information on all aspects of the mental golf game is available on the Positive Mental Imagery website at Archived Newsletters.

To train your brain for improving and trusting your short game, listen to the Positive Mental Imagery self-empowering guided imagery self-hypnosis CDs/MP3s in the privacy of your own home. Eight different empowerment audios are also available at

If these golf tips are of value to you and you would like to improve your mental golf game, call Joan for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. She can be reached by phone at 828-707-5478, by email at or through the Positive Mental Imagery website or blog.


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