There comes a time in every golfer’s life when we realize it doesn’t matter how many practice balls we hit or how many sets of clubs we buy. It’s that lightbulb moment when we realise that without mastering the mental game of golf we’ll never achieve our true potential in the game.
Sun Tzu said; “Every battle is won first before it is ever fought”.
Henry Ford said; “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right”.
And Bobby Jones said; “Golf is a game that is played on a five-and-a-half inch course…the space between your ears”.
Golfers have been using psychological approaches to try to achieve peak performance for decades, indeed long before the terms “golf psychology” or “mental game” were ever even conjured up.
Walter Hagen (“Who’s Gonna Be Second?”) and Ben Hogan (“The Wee Ice Mon”) were masters in the mental game of golf…completely different in their approach but they found what worked for them.
Jack Nicklaus was an advocate of visualisation throughout his career, claiming he “went to the movies” before every shot. I followed Jack on TV throughout his career – in fact, my very first memory of televised golf was the 1970 British Open, when he beat Doug Sanders in a play-off – and never once did I see him pull the trigger until he was ready. His mental discipline was extraordinary…and never was it better exemplified than on that putt on 17 in Augusta in 1986, with everything on the line.
Gary Player attributed his wins in the US Masters and British Open in 1974 to self-hypnosis. He was a walking billboard for the power of self-belief – and still is!
Several prominent professionals on the US Tour during the 1970s and early 1980s were psychology graduates – most notably Tom Watson. This was also the period when the popular Inner Game of Golf book by Timothy Gallwey was published.
And then, in the 1990s we had the emergence of two extraordinary talents in Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam, whose mental strength was amazing and for whom anything seemed possible.
And who could forget Bernhard Langer, who conquered the yips on multiple occasions and went on to become World No. 1, winning 2 US Masters in the process. And more recently became the oldest Senior Major winner by winning the US Senior Open at 65 years of age, as well as the all-time leader in tournament wins on the Senior Tour. A truly remarkable mind.
So what separates winners from losers?
Identifying what made these players special and translating it into strategies that can be taught in a systematic way to players is the realm of golf psychologists and golf mental game coaches.
This website is devoted to introducing you to the modern science of golf psychology and to some of the best golf psychologists who are working with PGA, LPGA, Tour Champions, LET, and DP World Tour players, as well as amateur players of every standard. Visit their websites, give them a call, and see what they can do for you!