Category Archives for Mental/Emotional

#1 Golf Strategy Tip: Set Your Intention For Lower Score

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #3  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about overcoming all of the temptations golfers face on the course to do things that WILL NOT lower their score. For example, have you ever faced a shot from a difficult lie that would be a very low percentage chance of success and good strategy dictates that you should just pop it back out in the fairway and yet, you can’t resist and take your chances and end up with a blow up hole?  That’s just one example and there are hundreds like that. It’s time to make a real decision about your score and how that is the most important thing to you…unless it’s really not! 😉  

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

 


Here’s a common “secret of the pros:”
If you want to become as good a putter as a PGA Tour pro you should never practice improving your stroke on a putting green.
Here’s why…

Way # 3. Golfers don’t want to score lower

 

golf scoresWhat? How can I say that when golfers everywhere spend billions of dollars on this game chasing the lure of the great feelings of achievement they get when they improve?

The problem is that many amateurs are far more interested in things other than scoring lower such as:  big booming drives, making miracle shots, having a pretty swing (rather than an effective one), mimicking their pro idols, keeping up with their playing partner’s club choices, and/or just partying out on the course.

All of those outcomes are fine and dandy and I indulge in them too, but many times, they are directly opposed to you scoring lower! Wake up and smell the coffee! It’s time to make a decision that you are interested in lower scores and that you are going to do everything in your power to allow that to happen now- aren’t you?

Having said that, sometimes you might still want to go out on the course with the idea of just having some fun, or working on the concepts in this book and not caring about your score. Great! So long as that is your  INTENTION for the day.

INTENTION as regards your game. 

 

INTENTION simply means that you are going to make conscious decisions about what it is you are doing.  Decide right now that when you have the INTENTION to score lower, you are going to follow through with that.

golf swingJust so you know, INTENTION is my favorite word and I’m going to be using it and other important words in CAPS throughout the book because words have meanings beyond the obvious.  🙂

In summary, with everything you do, think or ask yourself out loud such questions as:

“Will this _____ help me to a lower score?”

“How can I turn this _____ into helping me lower my score?”

“What can I be doing right now that will lower my score?”

How To Lower Your Golf Score Immediately

Tip #17  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceis about switching your REASON for playing the game. We all know that tension ruins a golf swing. What most golfers DON’T know is that they can eliminate it quite easily and this may be the biggest score-reducing tip in the book that is so easy and efficient.  Spend all day practicing if you want but that won’t change one thing about whether or not you have tightness and tension when facing a 4-foot putt under pressure.

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

Way #17. Stop TRYING for lower golf scores

You go out to the course with a score in mind that you would like to record and the feeling of satisfaction that comes with it. tip to lower my golf score You have that in mind through every shot you take, as you walk between holes, and pretty much throughout the whole round.

What you have now done is set yourself up for tension, pressure, and anxiety – the enemies of a golfer.

You have created a mental framework that says:

Good shot = feel good and bad shot = feel bad. Good score = feel good and bad score = feel bad.

You have about a 50/50 chance of feeling good.

What if you set up the framework for your round in a different way so that you guarantee yourself of always feeling good and eliminating tension and nervousness? Wouldn’t you play a heck of a lot better if you started shooting lower golf scores?

The way to do that is to give yourself a new reason why you are out there on the course and playing this grand game. You want to be out there for the sheer joy and ecstasy of attempting to master the sport and being in the experience of what you love about the game.

Write down all the reasons why you love the game and then review it before you go out to the course. Vow to play the game for those reasons.things we love about golf

When I ask my clients why they play the game they say things like: the challenge, the scenery, the camaraderie, the outdoors, the excitement, anticipation and a whole host of other things that have nothing to do with the score.

Ironically, your best scoring rounds will happen as a byproduct of this intention and not because you focused on scoring well.

10 Tips That Work For An Average Golfer

Golf Tips for all

Golf Improvement TipsBefore I give tips about playing well as a golfer, let me introduce myself, and why I am “qualified” to give golfing tips since I have been golfing for less than 10 years, am past my 50’s and have not really taken any professional teaching per se.

I live in Oregon, where it sunshine’s on the days I work, and rains on my days off.  I have used the official pro golf grip successfully when golfing, but not really wired for that grip.

I was born when all people were right handed  (1950”s).   Left handed people did not exist.

When I began golfing, my cross handed grip caused a minor stir, and I tried to adapt to the correct grip, but found it to be awkward .  I found out that there were a few cross-handed pro golfers, and they were good golfers, but never really acknowledged as such.  (BTW, Phil Michelson is right handed).

After struggling for a couple of years trying to adapt to the correct grip, I found a pro golfer who encouraged golfers to grip the club anyway they wanted to.

As he so well said, the goal of golf is to move the ball from the tee box to the green and ultimately to the hole in the green in the fewest strokes as possible.”  I adapted that mind set, and am a happy golfer even when the ball doesn’t go exactly where I want it to go.

3784888_xlTip #1.  A golfer’s goal should be the least strokes, not how far you can hit the ball.  Too much money is being spent on buying the newest club, rather than learning on how to move the ball from tee to green in fewest strokes.

Tip #2Leave the driver in the bag unless you can consistently move the ball forward and keep it in the fairway.  Digging the ball out of the rough costs strokes.

Tip #3.  Find a good 3 wood or 4 wood and use it as your driver.  Played correctly, the distance between the 3 & 4 wood and the driver is not that far, and the ball is still in the fairway >75% of the time.  (I have a 3 wood that I can carry almost 250 yds, and the ball is in the fairway  >75%).

16148799_xxlTip #4.  Stop spending money on expensive golf balls.  The average golfer does not swing fast enough to fully compress high-end golf balls.  Buy a 3 ball sleeve of several golf brands and play them.  Some give you more distance, some less spin (more control and straighter), some putt better.  (Also gives you more money to play golf.)  You will find golf balls that fit you perfectly.

Tip #5.    Practice putting, practice putting, practice putting.  Of the 18 holes placed , “the perfect score is 72 strokes and 36 of them are putts. “  How many putts do you use?

486693_xlTip #6.  Try different ways to putt.  At present time, after getting a sense of the greens contours, I set up and then focus on the hole, not the ball.  Relax, keep your eyes on the hole and stroke the ball.    Practice this for a while, and you will be making 20 foot 1 putts, no matter whether the green is flat or undulating.  Why does it work so well, I do not know, it just works.  (BTW I have a golfing partner who is scratching his head over this.)

Tip#7.  “Remember this is a game.”  Remind yourself every time you golf that “this is a game”.  There is no reason to bend your clubs, scream and holler (feels good though), and have any other types of tantrums because the ball did not go where you wanted it to.  (Yes you can throw it into the pond, but that means you will have to buy more balls.)  Remember the goal is to use the same balls, every time you golf.  (They should be well trained about 4th time out).

diet for golfers

Tip#8.  Get rid of some of your irons,  #3, #4, #5 and maybe #6, and use hybrids instead.  Hybrids are easier to use, hybrids are easier to use, did I say hybrids are easier to use, and that means more distance and consistency.   Be careful of the loft you get.  Make sure the hybrid loft is either the same loft as or within 1 degree of the iron you are replacing.  Practice with them to find the normal distance.   (Hybrids also make good “chip & run “ clubs).  I have used hybrids for a number of years and do not regret taking irons out of my bag.

Tip#9.   Take drinks, (Gatorade, not that other stuff), snacks, sandwich, cookies, nuts, and other snacks when golfing.  Keeps energy up and keeps game fun.

Tip#10.  If you don’t remember anything else I wrote, remember this…..  Golf is a game, play it as a game, enjoy it as a game.

Tee high, score low

John V.

Tiger Woods Comeback – What Did He CHANGE?

Tiger Woods Comeback – How did he do it?

Tiger Woods Interview

That’s almost hilarious. There was never anything wrong with his swing or his physical game or talent. We all know exactly what happened to him.

Nobody thinks it’s a total coincidence that his game went downhill after his personal problems.He has said in interviews that he rebuilt his swing and his game…blah blah blah…

Awhile back, I wrote a post saying that Tiger Woods is not mentally tough. I got all kinds of flack for that from Tiger fans. But, I was just calling it exactly like it was at the time. He wasn’t. His personal life hurt his golf and he didn’t win for quite a long time.  That’s not even debatable.

So what about today? Well, since I preach to all the teams and athletes I work with that mental toughness is 50% resilience, then yeah, I have to say that Tiger, having regained #1 world status again, has become mentally tough….and that’s not really debatable either.

Whatever you think of Tiger Woods, his recovery in golf brings up an important point for your game…and your life.

What did he change and how do you make CHANGE like that?

Well, this is exactly what I do…help people CHANGE.

If this weren’t the case, people could give up smoking easily, we wouldn’t have an obesity or drug and alcohol problem.  AND, this is the same functionality that creates problems with your golf swing or putting stroke. If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, you know that this is the core of everything I teach here.For starters, in order to make any kind of permanent or long-lasting CHANGE, it has to be done at the unconscious (subconscious) level of the mind.

Tiger Woods Comeback SwingWhen you tighten up, you have a program at the unconscious level that needs to CHANGE.

When you “yip” a putt, that’s your unconscious mind creating that problem.

When you can’t stop all of that negative thinking and worrying on the course, that’s also your unconscious. You are in need of CHANGE.

In fact, all of your problems out there can be traced to the unconscious mind…and so were Tiger’s.  There was never anything wrong with his game or swing.

So…step 1 is just understanding that you have a conscious and an unconscious mind and that you must INTEND to make your CHANGE in the unconscious mind because this is what controls your emotions, and your emotions are the police force for your behaviors and performance. If you get to understanding this, you are 40% of the way to making your CHANGE.

8121786_xxlStep 2 Find an antidote thought. This is something that “counters” or directly challenges the problem at it’s core. For instance, you might have the program:  “This hole always gets to me and I never do well on it.”
The antidote could be:  “A golf hole is a golf hole no matter where I play and the fact that I know this hole makes it more likely that I can own it.”

Do you see how this antidote is really specific to the problem? We’re not just doing a general “affirmation” like:  “I’m a great golfer”  which is supposed to overcome all of your problems. That kind of general antidote doesn’t have near the CHANGE power as one that is specific. You are now 60% of the way there.

Step 3Mental repetition with INTENTION to go to the unconscious.  Think your antidote thought at least 10 times a day. Take a moment, stare off into space or close your eyes, take a deep breath and think your antidote thought.  Let the antidote thought integrate with the rest of your knowledge of the game and your other beliefs. Process it in. ( I could write a book on just this step but this is the basics)

This is probably the most common and simple way to make CHANGE. If you do step 3 with INTENTION, you are basically doing hypnosis. Hypnosis is nothing more than communication with the unconscious mind.

Golf Mental Game TipsAnother even more powerful way to make CHANGE is to take advantage of highly emotional states.  Whenever you are in high emotion, you have opened the gateway to the unconscious mind.  When that gateway is open, whatever you are thinking at the time has a very good opportunity of becoming your new program in the unconscious mind.

So, going back to Tiger Woods comeback, I don’t know exactly how he rebuilt his mental toughness but somehow, he had to integrate what happened in his personal life with his beliefs as a world class golfer.

Clearly he did that. Bravo for him for making this CHANGE. Sure would be nice to hear from the press about any positive changes he’s made in his personal life in addition to his game.

You can do the same thing with any problem for your golf game all on your own…or, you can get guidance with someone like me. Basically, coming up with antidotes is all I really do. Maybe you’ve picked up some by now!

I’d love to see your comments or questions below.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Craig Sigl

How to Avoid A Back 9 Choke On The Golf Course

practice putting 3 balls

Putting warmup

You show up to the course with 20 minutes to spare before your tee time. You spend it chatting with your buddies, stroking a few on the practice green to get the feel of the day’s putting.

Maybe you squeeze in a small bucket and somewhere in there you find the time to put the club behind your back and stretch a little.

Maybe you kind of just wander around feeling your way around the practice area and clubhouse or maybe you have a really solid, consistent pre-game routine.

Either way, you walk up to the first tee like you’ve done a hundred times or more before and everything seems ok. Not amazing or in the zone, but just ok.

The holes fly by and before you know it, the front 9 is over and you are making the turn.

positive golferYou add up your score and are somewhat surprised to see how well you’re doing! You thought you were playing pretty good but didn’t realize just how good! Wow, exciting. Much better than usual. “This game is pretty fun after all” you think to yourself.

Walking up to the 10th hole your mind is filled with thoughts of what could be.  “If I can repeat what I did on the front, I’ll shoot a ______ “(which would be one of your best if not your best score ever.)

A little jolt of energy shoots through your body.

You tell yourself to calm down and just get back to playing golf like you did on the front 9. You start having a full-blown conversation with yourself with one part of you thinking about how great it will be to get the respect from your buddies for such a great round.

Another part of you, the worrier part, starts to give you all sorts of advice inside your head for how to repeat what you just did with your swing and putting or the last advice you got from a book or pro.

Your game falls apart.

Making the turn

Making the turn

You start steering your tee shots. You spend too much time over the ball on the green and overthink everything there.

You feel the tension or stiffness in everything you do.

…and another round that “Could have been”  goes into your memory banks.

As you followed that story from the perspective of me writing this as an outside observer, can you see yourself in it?  It’s so hard to see/feel/know  what’s going with us WHILE it’s going on but it’s crystal clear from this viewpoint right?

What caused the problem in the story?  The obvious answer is because SCORE became the focus of the game on the back 9.

“But Craig, how am I supposed to avoid focusing on the score? It’s right there and I have to put down a number every hole. I can’t just ignore it.”

Yes, I get that.  Our unconscious mind is too smart to try to fool it by pretending SCORE doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter or to NOT think about it. Your unconscious is what kicked into gear those destructive parts that hurt your back 9.

I teach all of my clients that it is SO MUCH easier to replace thoughts than it is to NOT THINK of certain thoughts.  This is what you did on the front 9 that worked so well for you. In sports psychology terms, it means “playing in the present moment” or “one shot at a time.”

You hear that advice so often but it goes in one ear and out the other and what does it really mean anyway in reality out there on the course?

ScorecardIf you want to actually follow that advice and play like the first 9 holes, It means to make a DECISION at the beginning of a round WHAT you are going to focus on for the whole round.

It means WHAT are you going to fill your mind with while you play so that SCORE doesn’t have an opportunity to take over and ruin your game?

Why not make a list, in advance, on a 3×5 card for what things in your game that you will dedicate the next round to focusing on.

Pull that card out of your pocket and look at during the round to keep you on track.  This kind of mental work is what is going to keep SCORE in the proper mental compartment  and allow the back 9 to repeat the front.

Craig Sigl

Craig Sigl

Also, the next time you have a great 9 (or if you can remember the last time), see if you can identify the difference in your thinking from front to back. Write down WHAT WORKED on the front about your THINKING.  Add it to that 3×5 card. Bring it to your next round.

DO NOT assign your front 9/back 9 breakdown to any physical part of the game. That’s the trap you’ve always been in and there’s no way out of that because your swing is already good enough to go low.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

P. S. I’d love to see your comments and additional help for other golfers on the front 9/back 9 problem. Let’s help each other all out. I read and answer every comment.

How to get confidence in golf

Today, I want to discuss Confidence and whatever that means to you.  Recently, I interviewed a 20-year sports psychologist who had taken teams to the NCAA finals in his sport and had coached professionals for years.  I asked him about Confidence and how you get it.

I’m not kidding when I tell you he said: “I don’t know any other way to get confidence other than to have success. You get confidence from past successes. Maybe a hypnotist can do some things but that’s been my experience. (he did not know that I do hypnosis…hah!).”

Anyway, I began to think about that on my last round when my golfing partner mentioned that he always putts his best when he has confidence stepping up to the ball.  I agreed with him wholeheartedly that it seems that if you have the feeling like a ball is going in the hole, then that is the biggest factor in whether or not it goes in the hole or not, right?

Well, to take this further, I thought, well, I’ve made lots of putts when I DIDN’T have any confidence or I was just feeling nothing or neutral.

My brain always starts checking on my theories by taking them to the nth degree. In other words, a theory must hold up under extreme situations, it has to be taken to it’s logical end.

So, I tested this theory that you get confidence from having success… and it failed miserably. I thought about all the times I’ve had confidence with ever having any success AND, more importantly, I came to the conclusion that you DON’T EVEN NEED CONFIDENCE in order to have success!!!

Yes, confidence is a good thing. It certainly helps things…but it’s the cherry on cake! it’s not the cake!

Follow me here.  We were all babies at one time, right? And most of us learned to walk from scratch, right?  In other words, we learned to walk (got success) without ever having had any success at walking! Furthermore…we weren’t TAUGHT to walk.  We just learned it by trial and error and modeling grownup humans already walking.

Therefore, we created success without ANY previous success!  We had no confidence, just a DESIRE to walk and a willingness to get back up after we fall down. (maybe that’s all confidence really is)

I keep hearing from golfers saying that they lack confidence standing up there on the tee box about to hit an important drive.  Or that their last miss on the green was because of doubt. Or, that they lacked confidence about to speak or present to their team or boss at their job.

Sooooo, what’s the point of this article?  The punchline?

We don’t need confidence to do anything! The sooner you let go of that, the faster you will get confidence!

Really what happens when you do that, is you let go of some FEAR about whether or not you have confidence or not and can make this shot or not.  When you let go of the FEAR, that’s when you play to your natural potential.

The formula for success is:   Performance = Potential – Interference.

FEAR is the biggest interference in your golf game (and other areas of your life).

I’m going to get into this formula a lot in coming weeks. Stand by….

Greens and fairways,

Craig

When you melt down on the course

Get out and go golf now!  It’s high time for us Northerners to take full advantage of the weather.

GET EXCITED! Get out there! I know I am. 🙂

Ok, that’s just how I’m feeling right now about this time of year when the Tours are in full swing and the days are the longest….LOVE IT!

We go out with all the hopes in the world, you just feel like this is a fresh new season and this is the year that you are going to break your scoring barrier. We show up to the course smiling and taking deep breaths soaking in the smell of the fresh cut grass and hearing the sounds of balls pinging off drivers on the range – Remember the last blog post where I discussed FOCUSING on what you’re senses are taking in?

You get up on the first tee and pull hook it OB. “No problem, I’ll just take a mulligan and start all over.”
Your next shot is reasonable and your approach comes up short. You chunk your chip, hit the next one 30 feet long and then 3 putt coming back for a triple bogey.

All the air has been taken out of your sails. Maybe you are able to shrug it off and start fresh again on the second hole. But, inevitably, more bad shots show up and you stop scoring about the 13th hole and start calling the round a “practice” round.

All of a sudden, you start making more shots! 5 foot putts start dropping and seem easy. Your body actually starts feeling more flexible and loose and the next few holes has you feeling like a kid again.

What happened here?

Maybe this exact scene hasn’t happened to you but I would bet that the part about letting go of your score and then starting to play well has!

I am going to say something bold here today….

If you have learned the fundamentals of golf and have had some good holes before, then

ALL of your mistakes can be attributed to your mental game.

This is the biggest problem with golfers actually realizing new personal bests for scoring.  They just think they need to hit more balls and buy the newest equipment and get another swing tweak and then the game will be all better.

Let’s turn this all around now.

What if you were to just go out the next couple rounds not even caring about your  score or even bothering to put it down on the card and just focusing on hitting a few great shots and putts?

What would happen if your whole reason for playing was something other than score?

Even more important…what do you do when you are in the midst of a melt down? How do you stop it? I’ve got an answer for you here today.  (Sorry about the rambling above, I’m just writing what comes to mind today).

For instance….I followed my 18 year old son around at the High School State Tournament.  He wasn’t playing to his potential through the first 9 holes and thought he was out of it. But as he checked the leader board at the turn, he found out that he would make the cut for the 2nd day if he played the same way on the back. With the bad weather, everyone was turning in high scores.

He got a renewed sense of hope…and then promptly on the 10th hole, he birdies it.

On the par 3 11th, he gets up there and hits a horrible shot that goes into the bushes. Totally miffed after lying 3 near the green, he chokes the chip and ends up with a triple.

He lost it and ended up tripling the next hole and doubling the one after that and ended up not making the cut.

You might be asking, aren’t you the mental game guru? Why couldn’t you help him?  Well, I wished I could have but the rules prohibited any contact with the gallery.

What he needed to do after that 3 par miss was to use a powerful tool I call “The observer” in order to stop the meltdown of his emotional state.  This is where you pretend you can take yourself out of yourself and observer yourself like another person would and you comment on what you are observing.

This is such an effective mental game technique because of a bunch of reasons. One, you automatically take control of your thoughts instead of your thoughts controlling you. Two, you become bigger than your problem at that moment. You can see more clearly. As an objective observer, it’s easy to see what the problem is and how to solve it. Three, I can’t explain it, but there is some mental magic that happens when you do this technique that shifts your energy.  You’ll just have to do this for yourself and experience it.

I’d love to see your comments below

Greens and fairways,

Craig

HOW to play golf one shot at a time

How many times have you been out on the course and experienced frustration at not being able to play the kind of game you know you know how?  I’ve got an answer here today for you.

Mike is a fanatical weekend golfer.  He plays year round and whenever he can get enough time for 9 holes or just an hour to hit a few balls on his way home from work mid-week.  He loves reading golf magazines and email newsletter tips and really enjoys following the professional tours.

When the weekend comes around and he gets to play with his buddies in a friendly match with some money on it, he is so excited driving to the course that he just can’t stop smiling and his body has this light tingling feeling of anticipation. He loves the camaraderie and the competition.

He pulls into the lot visualizing his best shots and talking himself up that he’s a great putter.  After checking in and getting a small bucket, he proceeds to work his way from pitching wedge to driver on the range…and he’s feeling good!

He moves over to the practice putting green and calmly sinks 4-5 foot putts one after the other.  He takes a few lag putts and is satisfied with how he is reading the greens in leaving the ball within 2 feet.

He’s ready..and he feels it! His confidence is sky high.

After a few light verbal jabs shared with his buddy, his group is called to the tee and his first shot is a good one which increases his excitement to be out on the course this very fine day!

His approach shot is a bit short so he pulls out the lob wedge to float it over the bunker for a soft landing.  It’s a tricky shot but he’s done it successfully many times.

Unfortunately, he blades it a bit and the ball runs past the hole and he ends up 2 putting for a bogey.

Still beating himself up over the chip shot, he goes to the next tee and hits a wild duck hook.   Bewildered where that came from, he still manages to pull out another bogey on the hole.

Mike starts figuring out what he has to do for the next few holes in order to “get those 2 shots back” in order to wipe the memory of them from his mind. In some twisted way, he’s connected future birdies in his mind with past mistakes much like an amateur gambler does when thinking “I need to get even” after being down and then starts doubling the bets from this faulty thinking.

Mike starts pressing for a birdie to make up for those bogeys.  He’s now lost the great feelings he had when he showed up to the course. His mind is making all sorts of “calculations” about the rest of the round.  He’s forgotten about having a great time with his buddies.  He’s forgotten why he plays golf in the first place. He’s totally centered his entire experience on his score….

…and that’s why he’s not scoring well.

And now he’s added frustration to anger and disappointment. Not the best state to be in to have a great round.

It is often repeated by sports psychologists to play one shot at a time. This is where Mike went wrong.  But how do you do that?  How do you play one shot at a time when your mind isn’t cooperating?

My problem with a lot of golf mental game advice is that you hear such simplistic terms without the tool to make it happen.   Here’s my tool to play one shot at a time:

During the round, your goal is to be in the present moment. You do this by putting your focus on what your 5 senses are taking in.  You get out of your head and into your senses by noticing what you see, hear, feel and touch and yes, even your sense of smell and taste.  That’s what will put you in the present moment.

You see, all of Mike’s problems came from thinking about the past or the future.  When you think about what your senses are experiencing right now, you are directing your mind in a very easy, natural way that works wonders for your golf score.

The funny thing is, you probably do this on the practice range and green. The really great thing about this, is that you can practice being in the present away from golf.
You can do it anywhere.

See how long you can put all your focus, awareness and attention on what your senses are doing before going into some kind of analytical thinking.  The more you do this off the course, the better you will do it on the course…and your best game will show up without even trying.

Greens and fairways,

Craig

p.s. I’d love to see your comments below

Is Tiger Mentally Tough?

Did my email anger you?

Did you feel threatened?

Did that bring up some old feelings?

or

Did you agree with the statement I made that Tiger Woods is not mentally tough and get a smug feeling?

Or did you have some other reaction?  Either way, I hope you felt something from that.

I received a lot of hate responses after that email. Some people said that I’m an idiot. Others said I was racist. Others said I had no idea what it takes to make it on tour. (I find it fascinating what it takes to get people to feel…something…anything and then respond.)

I pulled those statements I made about Tiger from yesterday’s front page of our local paper and another article I read online.  I didn’t even come up with them. I don’t normally make provocative statements but felt compelled to teach this way today.

…But this is not about me.  This is about you.

I write this blog and the emails in order to teach you something about golf that maybe you’ve never heard elsewhere.  But really, I’ve got a greater purpose for you in doing that. If you’ve followed me at all, you know that I think of golf as a metaphor for life. It’s almost like a religion. There are so many things to learn from playing this game that can be applied to the rest of your life. If you’ve read anything from me, you know that to be the case. You know you aren’t going to get mechanical swing instruction from me. I write about bigger things than that.

You know, I put out content all of the time and get no responses whatsoever. And then when I mention Tiger Woods,  the emotions come out.   Yes, yes, I could have said something about religion or politics to get a reaction but I thought I would stay within the bounds of golf since that’s what we are all doing here.

I sent that email out as it was…on purpose: to get a reaction from you for a powerful lesson and something I’ve been working on the last few years and that’s Emotional Mastery. A few years back, I became totally convinced that this is the key to opening the door to your golf (and life) potential and have been working on it ever since.

So why should you care about emotion and your golf game? Here’s why:

What is it that causes the yips? Emotion

Why does it seem that a 5 foot putt is sometimes harder to make than a 10 foot putt? Emotion

Why do we play well on the front nine and not on the back (or vice versa)? Emotion

Why is it that some golfers seem fired up and do very well when challenged? Emotion

Why is it that you play better on some courses and not on others? Some days and not others? Emotion

I could go on and on about that but you already know all of that.  All pressure is emotion too!

When teaching about emotion, other mental game teachers would just write something like:

“You’ve got to manage your emotions”

or

“Don’t get too high or too low”

“Get in control of your emotions”

When have you ever heard from someone who can tell you HOW to do that?

I, on the other hand, am trying to show you something by experience. In order to do that, you have to actually FEEL something and not just intellectualize it.There are answers and there are solutions to the emotion problem.

When you become aware of and work with your emotions, LIFE and GOLF gets so much easier and you perform better

Here’s some questions you might want to ponder about yourself. You don’t have to answer the questions directly…just absorb it and let your mind go where it needs to go.  The questions themselves will do the work for you and help you to take back control of your emotions. Take your time with each question and see where you need to go with it. I recommend you get yourself in that difficult emotion while doing this…remind my email again and get angry again if that helps.

In order to first make change, we have to aware of what needs to change.

If you got a strong negative reaction from my email:

1. How is it that you could allow a total stranger whom you’ve never met or seen in person cause you that emotion?

2. How does that happen on the course? In business, in your relationships?

3. Where does that emotion begin in your body. Try bringing up that emotion again and see where it starts.  When you become aware of this, you will be able to nip those troubling emotions in the bud BEFORE they become a problem.

4. Ask yourself:  “Why is it that some people would not have a strong reaction like I did”  Follow that up with: “Is that difficult emotion USEFUL to me?

5. Do I want to be a victim of my emotions out on the course or master them?

6. When have I been offended before OFF the course and shrugged it off? How did I do that? Can I do that ON the course just the same?

Now, here’s the big kicker:  7. What is the belief I’m holding that is causing me to have a negative reaction.

I’m sure that the people who wrote to me expressing their anger and hate would say something like:  “What he wrote made me so angry”

But how can I MAKE anyone angry?  I can’t.

NOBODY or NOTHING outside of you can MAKE YOU EMOTIONAL

If you got NO EMOTIONAL REACTION from my statement, you want to ask yourself: “Do I allow myself to FEEL?”  Can I get excited and passionate about golf…or anything?

Some golfers may be missing out on their potential because their true nature is a FEEL golfer yet they’ve shut that system down over the years.  I’ve run into that many times working with male athletes.

Emotional Mastery isn’t just about dealing with difficult emotions. It’s also about creating the fun ones like joy, bliss, pure, flow, etc. All of those emotions and more are what golfers use to describe THE ZONE.

You might be thinking about now: “This is a bunch of garbage. This has nothing to do with golf or my life. All I need to do is work harder  at my game,  practice more and I’ll get better.

And I would have to ask you…”How is that belief useful to your game?”

Tiger’s got some work to do. That’s no secret. He can still develop a type of mental toughness that he doesn’t have right now. That’s also a fact.

My own personal opinion is that the game of golf would be so much better if he were back in contention every week and I want to see that.  He brought excitement and passion into the game and it is sorely missed now.

The first step to mastering your emotions is allowing yourself to feel them.

The next step is to resolve the reason for the emotion and tell yourself that resolution WHILE IN THE EMOTION.

There’s more to this. I’ve developed a 7-step process to Master your emotions.  I’ll tell you more later.

The next time you hear from me, I’ll be giving you some training from a real pro instructor….unlike me.

😉

Greens and fairways,

Craig

Lessons: Playing golf in the present

You hear it all of the time:

focus on the present

play one shot at a time

stay within yourself

Easier said than done right? You know what the problem really is? It’s that we have too much brainpower for this game. Our brains are way overdeveloped to be able to swing these clubs and knock this little white ball around a grassy field to drop it into a silly cup cut out of the ground.

Notice the beauty of a course

What I’m writing here today could just be a big breakthrough for you as it has been for a lot of my clients I work with in my office. You see, most of the athletes I see in my office for help with their mental game are smart, really smart. In fact, some are quite brilliant outside of golf and sport. Out on the course, this can be a problem.

You read all of the time about pros who say that they think of “nothing” out there on the course when they are swinging or going through their preshot routine. This is great advice FOR SOME PEOPLE. And poor advice for others.

For many golfers, much better advice is to DIRECT your mind and give it something to do that is constructive instead of the destructive things you are currently doing with it. You are too smart for golf and so you have to learn how to channel all that mind power.

Golf tee lookout

So, I have a couple main lessons for you here that once you understand, I think you could get a big “Aha” moment that frees your from your destructive thinking.

1. Just because a top pro tells you a certain way to think, don’t necessarily buy into it. Your brain probably works completely different than others. Everyone is unique. I’ve been preaching this for years now and sometimes it seems like nobody is listening. Do not think that advice from anyone in the golf world (including me) is good for everyone.
You’ve got to pick and choose and then trust that when it feels right or you somehow get a sense that this works for you, then it is!

2. I like to fill my mind with what my senses are taking in on the course. If you were to just stand on a course and just put all your attention on what your 5 senses are taking in, you will find many things to occupy your mind so that it doesn’t get in the way of your next shot so that you can play unconsciously.

3. Here’s the biggie. You’ve got to make a commitment BEFORE your round that this is what you are going to do during your next round. It’s a mental skill that you develop, get good at, and then do automatically at some point. It’s not going to happen without some effort and dedication. Too many golfers pay lip service to their mental game and then default right back to their old ways once they are on the course. If you haven’t pre-lived how you are going to think once you are on the course, then you’re unconscious is going to create a strong pull to do what you’ve always done…and you won’t break through.

Start tapping into the power of making a decision and commitment to practice using your mind in ways that support your game instead of being a victim of it. You have this power…use it!

Greens and fairways,

Craig

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