Category Archives: Mental Game

Clarity is a Major

0 for 1 on our first attempt at waterfall viewing on the Blueridge Parkway

The body responds.  It responds to very clear and confident images, feeling, sensations and directions…. It also responds to foggy images, feelings, sensations and directions.  Truth is, and I don’t think this is a tough thing for any of us to comprehend, the body responds far more predictably and consistently to clear direction!

It’s so easy to step on a tee box and not feel confident about an upcoming shot.  It’s very easy to be unsure of how you may hit the shot…. Right, left, fat, thin, etc….

It’s easy, but it’s destructive! 

Do your best to be very clear on what you want to happen.  Be very clear on the swing you would like to make!  It’s no guarantee, but it certainly ups your odds!  Be decisive and clear. 

Luck, part II

Second kind of luck is simply when great shots, good shots, and lousy shots happen.  If you happen to hit a lousy shot on a wide open par 4, let’s say way right… you may still have a shot into the green and make par or birdie! That’s great luck!!!  And then on the next hole you have a simple chip that reaches the outer limits of your talent (on the bad side) and you catch it slightly fat…. Well now, the ball catches the fringe, dies, and hits a slope that throws the ball 50 feet further away from the hole….  Then you 3 putt.  Bad luck!

Wait!  You might be thinking that it’s not luck, but skill, or concentration (or lack thereof), and you would be incorrect, if you were mentally sound during the shot.  You see, everyone has a TALENT CURVE.  Your talent curve is the sum total of your skill.  Inside your talent curve you have great shots, average shots, and bad shots…. Most of those shots are average.  You must understand that you can’t get rid of the bad shots!!!!  They come with you on the course. 

Think about it this way.  Go on the range on a beautiful afternoon and hit 30- 7 irons.  You’re in a great mood, totally free from mechanical thoughts and just confidently swinging away….  Are all your shots perfect? (did they exactly hit your target?) Or did you mis hit a few?  Did a few go right and left?  Unless your Jim Furyk reading this, the truth is that even under the best circumstances, we’re not dead on every shot (and even Jim isn’t perfect!).  

So when you go on the golf course, luck plays a huge role in your game.  On any given swing you have very little control over which of your shots comes out if you are mentally strong (Your talent curve shifts backwards if you become mentally weak…).  The key again is to understand the dynamics of luck and not let it effect your MENTAL! 

This is incredible stuff I learned from Dr. Rick Jensen.  If you have any questions or comments about it, SEND THEM TO ME! 

Talent and Luck in Golf

Talent is by far the greatest determining factor in how one scores on the golf course.  The 90% mental thing is silly (and this statement comes from a guy who has studied and taught the mental heavily for close to 20 years!). 

As important as talent is on any given day, luck also plays a huge role in your score.  Let’s talk about luck.

The equation for your score is as follows:

YOUR SCORE =  Talent – Mental +/- Luck squared. 

Luck is huge!  It can work for you or against you.  Luck works in two ways, one that is obvious, and one not so obvious.  Most of us think of luck as when the ball hits a tree as it is sailing into the woods an bounces out to the middle of the fairway!  That’s good luck.  Bad luck is when the ball bounds off a sprinkler head 30 yards over the green and into the pond…. 

Luck on any given day can have a serious impact on your game.  It can mess with your score by it’s result alone, and it can also have a good or bad effect on your mental! 

How this kind of luck effects your thinking is extemely pertinant to your golf!  The key here is to not let “bad” luck effect your mental toughness!!!

Let’s talk about the other “luck” later.  HAVE A GREAT DAY! 

Throw Out The Junk!

comments about clutter!  Thanks, 

to thank Bonnie for giving me the idea for this one! 

got a ton of stuff in my house that I just don’t use, need or want.
Some of it is nice stuff, some of it is pure junk.  I can’t tell
you how liberating it is to go through it and PURGE!  Sometimes
it’s even more satisfying to get rid of the nice stuff (donating or
selling) that I simply no longer use…

And that brings me to
golf!  Let’s clean out the brain.  I’m convinced that most
golfers have way too much information about the golf swing crammed
into their brains.  Worst of all, we are avid collectors of more
golf junk!

My suggestion is to have a method, and stick to
that method.  Answer all you golf questions within that system
of learning.  THROW OUT ALL THE OTHER STUFF!!!  Even the
really cool stuff you know should be purged if it doesn’t fit the

Clean out your brain and you will play
better golf!  You will learn faster and have more consistency.
You will play better because you won’t be constantly ‘bumping’ into a
clutter of informational changes as you play!  

solid pre-shot routine is a great way to clear the mind!  SEE

Distance Control

Often, it’s the fear of 3
putting that causes distance problems with our putting.  You see, when your brain is focused on not
3 putting, or on the possibility of 3 putting, you are not learning how to putt
with good pace. 

Fear, indecision, and doubt keep
you from building your skills of distance control!

This isn’t a cure all, just a
step in developing into a better putter.
Focus on the possibility of great touch!
Focus on rolling the ball with perfect speed.  Now trust it!  

Confidence. Get it!

I like the way Chuck Hogan put it.  If you don’t have confidence, fake it!  This game is tremendously difficult to play with doubt and fear.  Heck, this game is difficult to play even with confidence!!!

I believe that a golfer’s most important tool is positive self-talk.  It’s not easy to be confident, especially after a few bad rounds, or a bad warm up session, or a bad start to the round…. I’m just saying that its importance must be smacking you in the face while you are on the course.  

Be obsessed with walking, talking, thinking and acting with confidence.  How would it feel?  How would you walk? What would you be thinking?  How would you be acting if you were confident?

Over time, you’ll find that this thinking becomes more natural, both because you are focused on it consistently, and because in all likely hood, you’ll be playing better golf!

At first, FAKE IT!

A Little Zen

“All know the way, few actually walk it” -Bodhidharma

Most golfers know more than enough to play better golf.  Few actually take the time to master a consistent swing.  It takes high quality training and many many months of consistent and systematic practice to experience deep change.  It’s a journey, and it’s worth it!

Why People Think They Have To Think And Why They Are Wrong, I Think…

If you picked up a tennis
racquet, or a baseball, or a football, or even a bowling ball, most of you
would perform the leg motion naturally without any thought.  If you were to toss the baseball 10,000 times,
my guess is that you would step forward and plant your forward leg before you
made an upper body motion to throw each and every time! And you would never
have to think about it!!!

Now let’s talk about golf.  Most golfers do not get to the forward leg
before they deliver the arms and club towards the ball….  When I discuss the importance of the correct
move and they begin to train, it tends to become very cerebral.  

People tend to have to think too
much simply because their target perceptions are wrong.  Remember all those “bad targets” I discussed
in previous blogs?  Well, they are the
reason that you are stuck in a thinking mode, rather than a playing mode!  

 A major goal of ATHLETIC GOLF is
to get you into a throwing mode out towards the real target so the motion of
the body, arms and club become natural and non-thinking! 

 Completely and totally throw the
club through the ball and out to the target (in a circle around the body) and
you will move seamlessly into the forward pivotal axis every time!

 *take some rehearsal motions
right now.  Look out at something and
think about throwing the club out there.  Don’t worry about impact right now, just
throw!!!!  Can you feel the natural
athletic motion?  

Control Your Thoughts

“Good thinking, good golf.  Bad thinking, bad golf”
 -Moe Norman

Golfers all over admit to me that they think poorly.  They admit toconstantly changing their swings and swing thoughts, that they have noconfidence in their games, and that they don’t think things will change…. 

Your thoughtsabsolutely affect how you act, behave, and yes, swing a golf club 

If you’re waiting for the magical tip, the secret thought to confidence in yourgame, or to play consistently well before you think well, YOU’VE GOT ITBACKWARDS! 

You’re old thoughts are part of the problem, and they will keep you fromfinding what you so badly hope for!

Changing swings and swing thoughts keep a golfer from ever mastering theswing.  You’ve dabbled in dozens if not hundreds of different swings,never mastering any! 




Confidence is something that must be practiced.  If you wait untilyou hit every shot perfect….  You’ll never find it!  On the range,and on the course, you MUST look for any possible reason to be confident.Golf is too difficult at every level (yes, even scratch players feel like theyhit almost every shot less than perfect) to simply build your confidence onsolid and straight shots!  


Thinking things won’t change will guarantee that they won’t! Change inmotor learning is a long term process.  I take a lifetime approach inthe method I believe in.  I’ve learned that expecting change to happen ina week, or a month, or even in 6 months causes impatience, and too much stressin my training and play.  When I take the “lifetime” approach, Iconstantly search for positives and small victories as I trust in the approach to learningthis game.  I expect improvement, Iknow it will come IF I STAY CONSISTENT IN MY APPROACH! 

“Every morning I have achoice.  I simply choose to be positive” -Gary Player

About 14 years ago I decided to take Mr. Player’s advice about choosing to bepositive.  He advised golfers to stop making excuses on the first tee, tostop telling stories of their 3 putts and triple bogies…. he went so far asto leave the table when golfers began to talk negatively (I respect that aboutGary Player, but found that I’d be sitting alone almost all the time if I tookit that far!).

My advice to you is to TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR THOUGHTS!  You are the thinker of yourthoughts….. 

-Find a teacher and a method that makes sense to you. BELIEVE in the method and train it for the longterm!  

TRUTH.  Motor skilllearning takes time.  Motor skill learning takes consistentrepetition.  Motor skill learning happens with ALL GOLFERS who trainconsistently.  

-Catch yourself thinking poorly.  Catch yourself sharing golf ‘horror’stories.  Catch your own sarcasm.  Change your behavior! YOU CAN BEFUNNY AND CONFIDENT AT THE SAME TIME! 

-You will think poorly.  The key is to notice and CHANGE IT,  rather than just give in to it.  

-Thinking well does not guarantee good shots,  but thinking poorlyguarantees bad golf.  

“Golf is a game ofConfidence” -Dr. Bob Rotella