Archive Monthly Archives: June 2010

You can be the next U.S Open winner! Fast facts and past winners

The US Open golf winner is THE man (or woman) and is my favorite golf tournament because:

1. Top 10 scores are right around par for the course (makes me feel better about my game)

2. The greens are usually extremely tough with ridiculous pin placements. (I like to see the best pros in the world miss 4 foot putts once in a while)

3. The longest hitters don’t have much of an advantage at the Open championship due to the height of the rough which makes driving long a very risky choice.

4. Anyone, I mean anyone can make and even win a US Open tournament

like Francis Ouimet did in 1913 at 20 years old with a 10-year old caddy

P.S. The (British) Open winner is right up there with the U.S. Open golf winner in my book except for the lousy weather. Maybe that makes it even more of an accomplishment but I like to see the sun, blue skies and the grass be a bright green.

So how do you go about trying to qualify to be the next US Open golf winner?The first thing you have to do is join the USGA (United States Golf Association)USGA Then, you need to establish a handicap. To enter the US Open championship, you cannot be more than a 1.4 handicap. Are you still with me? Then, go to the US Open application website to apply. Good luck and good golfing on your quest to be the next US Open golf winner! Apply for US Open golf championship As you can see, aps aren’t available til March and there is a deadline in April. You then play 1 round in a local qualifier. The 100 or so sites will be announced and you should find something within driving distance. If you place, then you will play 2 rounds in a sectional qualifier. If you place there, then you play golf in the US Open with all the greatest pros! There are about 150 spots for the Open tournament with about half of them reserved for exempt players. They are exempt due to having won certain pro or amateur golf tournaments or placing high on the pro money list. If you’re good in 3 rounds, you could play golf in the Open tournament with multiple US open golf winner, Tiger Woods, how cool is that?!


Past US Open golf winner and the course played:

2010 Graeme McDowell – Pebble Beach (CA.) Golf Links

2009 – Lucas Glover – Bethpage State Park (Black Course) Farmingdale, NY June 18 – 21
2008 – Tiger Woods – Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) La Jolla, California June 12 – 15
2007 – Angel Cabrera – Oakmont Country Club Oakmont, Pennsylvania June 14 – 17

2006…Geoff Ogilvy – Winged Foot Golf Club Mamaroneck, New York
2005…Michael Campbell – Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina
2004…Retief Goosen – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
2003…Jim Furyk – Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, N. Course
2002…Tiger Woods – Bethpage State Park, Black Course, Farmingdale, N.Y.
2001…Retief Goosen- Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Okla.
2000…Tiger Woods- Pebble Beach (CA.) Golf Links
1999…Payne Stewart- Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, No. 2 Course, Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
1998…Lee Janzen- The Olympic Club, San Francisco, CA
1997…Ernie Els- Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md.
1996…Steve Jones- Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1995…Corey Pavin- Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
1994…Ernie Els- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1993…Lee Janzen- Baltusrol Golf Club, Lower Course, Springfield, N.J.
1992…Tom Kite- Pebble Beach (CA.) Golf Links
1991…Payne Stewart- Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.
1990…Hale Irwin- Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, No. 3 Course
1989…Curtis Strange- Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.
1988…Curtis Strange- The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
1987…Scott Simpson- The Olympic Club, San Francisco, CA.
1986…Ray Floyd- Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
1985…Andy North- Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1984…Fuzzy Zoeller- Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
1983…Larry Nelson- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1982…Tom Watson- Pebble Beach (CA.) Golf Links
1981…David Graham- Merion Golf Club, East Course, Ardmore, PA.
1980…Jack Nicklaus- Baltusrol Golf Club, Lower Course, Springfield, N.J.
1979…Jack Nicklaus- Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
1978…Andy North- Cherry Hills Country Club, Englewood, Colo.
1977…Hubert Green- Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Ok.
1976…Jerry Pate- Atlanta Athletic Club, Duluth, GA.
1975…Lou Graham- Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, No. 3 Course
1974…Hale Irwin- Winged Foot Golf Club, West Course, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
1973…Johnny Miller- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1972…Jack Nicklaus- Pebble Beach (CA.) Golf Links
1971…Lee Trevino- Merion Golf Club, Armore, PA.
1970…Tony Jacklin- Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.
1969…Orville Moody- Champions Golf Club, Cypress Creek Course, Houston, TX.
1968…Lee Trevino- Oak Hill Country Club, E. Course, Rochester, N.Y.
1967…Jack Nicklaus- Baltusrol Golf Club, Lower Course, Springfield, N.J.
1966…Billy Casper- Olympic Country Club, Lake Course, San Francisco, CA
1965…Gary Player- Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO.
1964…Ken Venturi- Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, MD.
1963…Julius Boros- The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
1962…Jack Nicklaus- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1961…Gene Littler- Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1960…Arnold Palmer- Cherry Hills Country Club, Englewood, Colo.
1959…Billy Casper- Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
1958…Tommy Bolt- Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, OK.
1957…Dick Mayer- Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
1956…Cary Middlecoff- Oak Hill Country Club, East Course, Rochester, N.Y.
1955…Jack Fleck- Olympic Country Club, Lake Course, San Francisco, CA
1954…Ed Furgol- Baltusrol Golf Club, Lower Course, Springfield, N.J.
1953…Ben Hogan- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1952…Julius Boros- Northwood Club, Dallas, TX
1951…Ben Hogan- Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1950…Ben Hogan- Merion Golf Club, East Course, Ardmore, PA.
1949…Cary Middlecoff- Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, No. 3 Course
1948…Ben Hogan- Riviera Country Club, Los Angeles, CA
1947…Lew Worsham- St. Louis (MO.) Country Club
1946…Lloyd Mangrum- Canterbury Golf Club, Cleveland, Ohio
1942…Cancelled due to World War II
1941…Craig Wood- Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, TX.
1940…Lawson Little- Canterbury Golf Club, Cleveland, Ohio
1939…Byron Nelson- Philadelphia Country Club, Spring Mill Course
1938…Ralph Guldahl- Cherry Hills Country Club, Englewood, Colo.
1937…Ralph Guldahl- Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, MI.
1936…Tony Manero- Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.
1935…Sam Parks Jr.- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1934…Olin Dutra- Merion Cricket Club, Ardmore, PA.
1933…Johnny Goodman- North Shore Golf Club, Glen View, Ill.
1932…Gene Sarazen- Fresh Meadow Country Club, Flushing, N.Y.
1931…Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
1930…Bobby Jones- Interlachen Country Club, Minneapolis, Minn.
1929…Bobby Jones- Winged Foot Golf Club, West Course, Mamaroneck, N.Y.
1928…Johnny Farrell- Olympia Fields Country Club, Matteson, Ill.
1927…Tommy Armour- Oakmont (PA.) Country Club
1926…Bobby Jones- Scioto Country Club, Columbus, Ohio
1925…W MacFarlane- Worcester (Mass.) Country Club
1924…Cyril Walker- Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
1923…Bobby Jones- Inwood (N.Y.) Country Club
1922…Gene Sarazen- Skokie Country Club, Glencoe, Ill.
1921…James M. Barnes- Columbia Country Club, Chevy Chase, MD.
1920…Edward Ray- Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio
1919…Walter Hagen- Brae Burn Country Club, West Newton, Mass.
1917…Cancelled due to World War I
1916…Charles Evans Jr.- Minikahda Club, Minneapolis, Minn.
1915…Jerome Travers- Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.
1914…Walter Hagen- Midlothian (Ill.) Country Club
1913…Francis Ouimet- The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
1912…John McDermott- The Country Club of Buffalo, N.Y.
1911…John McDermott- Chicago Golf Club, Chicago, Ill.
1910…Alex Smith- Philadelphia Cricket Club, St. Martin’s Course, PA.
1909…George Sargent- Englewood (N.J.) Golf Club
1908…Fred McLeod- Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton, Mass.
1907…Alex Ross- Philadelphia Cricket Club, St. Martin’s Course
1906…Alex Ross- Onwentsia Club, Lake Forest, Ill.
1905…Willie Anderson- Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton, Mass.
1904…Willie Anderson- Glen View Club, Golf, Ill.
1903…Willie Anderson- Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.
1902…Laurie Auchterlonie- Garden City (N.Y.) Golf Club
1901…Willie Anderson- Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton, Mass.
1900…Harry Vardon- Chicago Golf Club, Chicago, Ill.
1899…Willie Smith- Baltimore (Md.) Country Club, Roland Park Course
1898…Fred Herd- Myopia Hunt Club, South Hamilton, Mass.
1897…Fred Herd- Chicago Golf Club, Chicago, Ill.
1896…James Foulis- Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
1895…Horace Rawlins- Newport (R.I.) Golf and Country Club
us open golf winner list

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June 29, 2010 in Misc

Golf Fear: What to do about it

WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF, SCAREDY-CAT?!
Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP
Recently, within one week, I had two of my golfers and three of my other athletes separately bring up a performance theme which has been plaguing each of them.  It is a theme which not only derails individual performances, but also sabotages ongoing progress.  It is a theme which is devious in its nebulous nature.  It is also a theme that when the athlete grabs a hold of it, can transform their improvement all the way to the next level.
The performance theme is fear.
Especially on a golf course, there is really very little to fear for our safety (unless I am over on the left fairway going through one of my bouts with the shanks!).  Although a very small degree of fear might enhance performance in that it stimulates motivation, it very quickly crosses a fine line where it increasingly inhibits efforts.
Most fears are personal.  Although you may physically feel the fear in your gut, fears are psychological and emotional.  We allow little fears to creep into the recesses of our minds.  These fears soon bind together until they start influencing entire motivations, thoughts, actions, and even sap the joy from golf.
THE SHADOWY NATURE OF FEAR
Fears are devious.  They hold their power over us in that they operate just under the surface and behind the scenes.  Many years ago when I was a practicing psychotherapist, I learned that whenever I could not put a finger on what was going on with a client, I always asked myself this stock question, “What is she afraid of?”  I then asked myself the subsequent questions.  “What is he afraid of doing?  …of changing?…of losing? …of becoming?”   Once I thought about it, there was usually some combination of fears at the heart of the client’s problems and reluctances.  Only when we talked about fears were we able to make progress.
Way back in the dark ages of wooden racquets, I was a professional tennis player.  Back then, there were no such helpers as sport psychologists or mental coaches.  While I thought I was coping with all the pressures, at the root of them was fear.  It wasn’t until well after I retired that I realized that I had a fear of success which I allowed to hold me back.       You see, it was much easier for me to try hard, play gallantly, but lose the last set of a long match.  This self-sabotage was really more comfortable for my fragile psyche.  Here is the logic:  if I dug down and won that match, there would be more pressure of me to repeat the performance and win the next match.  And so on.  Deep down, I knew that I would eventually fail.  This inevitable failure would be more devastating to me.  It was much more comfortable for my ego to fail at lower levels than to extend myself and cope with the pain of inevitably higher level failures.
Of course, all of this makes perfect sense when I had the distance of time.  I used this awareness when I started helping athletes and performing artists.  I would have them talk about their fears. Many of them were initially reluctant to do so.  They were afraid of talking about their fears!  It is almost as if admitting that they had fears would weaken them or let an uncontrollable  “genie out of the bottle.”  However, they all learned that talking about and admitting their fears were the only ways to control them.
The ancient samurais had a wonderful saying which went, “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.”  You can control and transform your fears.  Here’s how.
THE SYSTEM OF OVERCOMING YOUR PERFORMANCE FEARS
Over the years from working with literally thousands athletes, performing artists, and business people, I developed a proven formula to address and transform personal fears.  We’ll expand on it later, but it is simply revolves around you asking, and answering, these three little questions:
1. What am I REALLY afraid of?;
2. What is the absolute WORST thing that could happen if this fear came into reality?; and
3. “And THEN what?”
That’s it!  That’s the system.  It is as simple–and profound–as that.
Let’s go through each question in more detail.
1. “What am I REALLY afraid of?”  I am a great believer that if you can specifically define what you are really afraid of, you are halfway there to overcoming it.  Remember, fears hold their power over us in that they operate behind the scenes.  Bringing them out into the light empowers us to confront them.  Awareness, admission, and acceptance of or specific fears deflate them.
Ask yourself this first question repeatedly.  Your goal is to specifically define those fears which are holding you back and even governing you.  Indeed, there may be multiple fears.  The better you can differentiate each the better you will be able to address them.  Sometimes, the core fear may not appear for a while.  Some performers have even found value in writing or even drawing their fears.
Ask yourself these related questions.  What are you afraid of changing, losing, and even becoming?  You might be surprised just how many fears you possess and how tangled they have become.  Actually, the process of asking yourself these diagnosing questions is almost as valuable as the answers you discover.
Here is some help.  In my first book back in the early 1980s, Performing Your Best, I presented four general types of fears.  They are:  (1) the fears of failure and success; (2) the fears of risk, rejection, ridicule, embarrassment, and discovery as a fraud; (3) the fear of change; and (4) the fears of the unknown as well as the known.  Now, there may be some overlap between a couple of these, but one of these will be at the core.  Dissecting your fears is frequently like peeling away layers from an onion.  Use these four basic categories to help you identify and narrow down your specific fears.
It has been my experience that most athletes and performing artists at one time will experience the fears of failure and success.  These two fears are intrinsically linked.  Many times, the fear of failure is actually a smokescreen for the fear of success.  Whereas the fear of failure may apply to individual performances, the fear of success applies to one’s overall career.  Detail your different fears of failure and success.  This can be a great help
Your goal in this entire assessment process is to specifically define your personal and performance fears.  Pay attention to the specific words you use.  The more specifically you define each fear the better you can subsequently address it.  Remember, if you can specifically identify your fears you are really halfway there to overcoming them.
2. “What is the absolute WORST thing that could happen if this fear came into actuality?”  After you specifically define fears, the way to assert control is to ask yourself this question.  You see, attached to each fear is the apprehension of what might happen if this fear materialized.
Answer this question to each fear in as much detail as you did in defining it.  Really dramaticize and even catastrophize your responses.  Go ahead, blow them out of proportion!  Let your imagination run wild of what would happen and how your life would change if this fear came into being.  Such as, “If I choke coming down the stretch of this round, I will lose the tournament.  I will then lose the opportunities presented to me if I won.  I will never have these opportunities  ever again.  All the work I have done would have been useless.  I would become devastated.  I will let down all my loved ones, teachers, and friends.  I will be ashamed of myself.  My dog would even growl at me!  I would lose it all.  I would then become lost.  If I miss this last putt, I might as well quit the game.  My life, as I know it, will be over.”  Ugh!
The more you catastrophize the answers to this question, the more you will become aware of how absurd these responses truly are.  By blowing them out of proportion the more you will see just how silly this fear is.  You will then reassure yourself that these things won’t happen.  As Mark Twain penned, “I have known many problems in my life…, but most of them never occurred.”
It seems strange, but to be able to accept and control your fears, you first have to let your thoughts run wild out of control.
3. “And THEN what?” Huh?  This is the kicker.  You see, many of us catastrophize fears and leave it at that.  By asking and answering this final question you become aware that life always goes on.  No matter what you do, there will always…always…be future options and decisions.
Even if the worst things occur (which they won’t) you will still have alternatives…if you allow yourself to consider them.  Granted, you might be disappointed and even discouraged.  But life always goes on.  The answer to this question revolves around the fact that you will go on.
So you might say, “If my fear comes to reality and these horrendous things occur, I will be disappointed AND I will go on.  Life does not always unfold as dreamed or planned, and I will adapt.  I will play the hand I’m dealt.”  But wait a minute…this stuff won’t happen.  The best way to ensure those fears will never materialize is to do the things I can control and play to my strengths.  Relax, have fun with the game, and laugh at the absurdity of my fears.  Whew!  And then what?  Let’s go on to the next tee.
Ask and answer these three questions.  This process might take longer than you think.  After you have developed your answers actively confront your fears.  Without putting yourself down in the process (such as, “You such a scared wimp”), address them.  Keep on repeating your answers to the above questions.  Shrug your shoulders, say “What the heck,” and throw yourself into the next performance.  Even laughing at yourself is a way of confronting and then releasing your fears.  Indeed, it is an essential battle of who has control over you:  your fears or yourself.
As you learn how to control, channel, and transform your fears,
might become amazed at how much energy you were diverting to feeding those fears.  You will discover how quickly these fears dissipate.  You will also then free yourself up.  Playing within yourself, staying out of your way, and true confidence are all grounded in transforming your fears.  Indeed,  there is true personal power in being in control of your fears.
What are you afraid of?  What’s the worst thing that can happen?  And then what?  Stop cowering and answer these questions.  You will then become like the metaphorical swashbuckler who places his hands on his hips an laughs at his fears.  “Ha!  Bring ’em on!”

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“Do you really want to listen to someone who actually makes sense about this crazy game? Tom Kubistant is almost a reclusive man, but golfers who find him are always rewarded by his complete system of the mental game, his practical applications, and his everyday wisdom. Tom has been a regular contributor to my radio show since 1997. I am continually surprised at how much he knows for every playing situation. He just makes so much sense. Doc is also one of the few in his profession who strictly maintains his professional ethics regarding confidentiality with his golfers. So he cannot say who he works with. But I can! I have seen him work with his golfers at tournaments and have even interviewed a couple of them for my show. He is their secret weapon”

Vince Mastracco – Host of the nationally syndicated radio program: “Golf Talk”

Dr. Tom Kubistant, sports psychologist has worked with world-class athletes since 1971. He is one of the most prolific writers and speakers on the mental game of golf on the planet. To take advantage of his decades of golf wizardry, visit Mind Links

golf psychologist

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

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Copyright © 2008 Tom Kubistant

HOW NOT TO PLAY THE Golf Errors GAME

Eliminate golf errors

Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP

For years in these pages, I have presented a comprehensive system for optimizing golf performances. I addressed broad playing perspectives, general strategies, and specific tactics. I always strived to make these principles and techniques easy to understand and apply. From your feedback, it seemed to have worked. Golfers of all abilities have experienced greater improvement and enhanced joy in playing this grand game.

However, I am continually amazed how so many golfers make the same basic mistakes. These flubs are not so much mechanical, but mental. While some of these errors emerge from encountering new situations, most of them are repetitions. When we talk, golfers confess these patterns seem to be deeply ingrained within them. It is like they cannot stop themselves. Quite often, golfers fall into the same patterns because: (1) they are not aware when errors are emerging and (2) they do not know any alternatives.

It makes sense that if players could prevent errors from grabbing hold, they would squander less shots. They would then be in stronger positions to maximize more of their abilities. Indeed, managing error patterns is one of the basic keys in playing better golf.

So as much as I have always been positive, I�m going to become negative here. I am going to present what NOT to do in golf. I will also then include alternatives to that error. Let�s begin with general emphases.

APPROACHING THE GAME

Simply stated, how we approach the game determines how we play. Sure, we would like the time to practice everyday like the pros do. For most of us, this simply is not possible. If we can become a little more purposeful toward our games, we can achieve sustained improvement. Here are some basic “don�ts.” .

NEVER BE LACKADAISICAL TOWARD YOUR GAME. Golf demands ongoing attention. Actively commit yourself to your game. Now, commitment does not mean sacrifice. One secret to success is to live with your commitments. Motivation, consistency, and resilience all emanate from commitment. Nothing in life stands still. Remember, if you are not actively improving your game, you are allowing it to slowly deteriorate. This is an essential choice. But on the other hand…

NEVER CHANGE JUST FOR CHANGE SAKE. As detrimental as not being committed is always changing. I�ve worked with too many golfers who changed so much until they lost their essential games. They lost touch with those core skills and emphases which initially made them successful.

You see, there can be a very fine line between systematic improvement and capricious experimenting. Always ground your game upon existing strengths. Identify and honor these. Consider any change in terms of how it will enhance your base. Along with this…

NEVER TAKE ANY UNSOLICITED ADVICE. Every golfer–even those who have been playing for just a couple of years–seems to have a “magic” swing theory. While we should have our own theories, we should keep them to ourselves. But many of us just can’t! All of us have experienced times when we think we have found “THE SECRET.” And then we have to profess it to everyone! Although we have good intentions, realize that your secret won’t apply to everyone.

Whenever someone needs to give you advice, graciously thank them…and let it go. They have no idea the emphases and sequences of your practices. You cannot control them telling you. You do have control of what you choose to emphasize in working on your game. And finally…

NEVER BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU READ (including this article!),

VIEW, OR HEAR. There is so much golf information out there. Some of it is proven, but some of it is utter garbage. Added to this, there are new products coming out every month. The psychology of new implements imply that one can buy a better game. Sometimes you can, but most of the time you can’t.

Approach any improvement in your game with a healthy dose of caution. Be wary of what, and when, to add something to your game–whether it is a change to your golf swing, a new driver, or a new grip during putting. Only after the change has proven itself effective should you embrace it. “Caveat Emptor — let the buyer beware.”

For my money, one of the best theorists in playing the entire game is Mike Hebron. His mind-body series of books have become classics. He once said that one “has to have strong concepts to play strong golf.” No matter our current abilities, each of us has to create solid general approaches to our games before our approaches on the course can be solid.

PLAYING THE GAME

There is a plethora of playing strategies and tactics. In every shot situation, there are at least a half-dozen different things you can do. Even though this can be overwhelming, exploring shot options is really one of the joys in playing golf. While there are some things always to do (such as concentrating, following your preshot routine, and swinging relatively easily), there are things never to do. Here are the most destructive of these playing patterns.

NEVER FORCE A SHOT. Whenever you feel tempted to blast or jam a shot, you are actually outside of your optimal playing rhythms. A forcing mentality promotes greed and impatience. It seems strange, but you cannot force power nor precision.

Stay aware of not only your swing rhythm, but also your thinking rhythm. Develop the discipline to take out one longer club, choke down on a shot, or swing easier. Not only will you better execute these shots, you will better stay in the rhythm of the rounds. Implicit in this is…

NEVER QUESTION INTUITIONS. How many times after a bad shot did you lament, “Deep down, I always felt it was the wrong club,” “I knew not to miss it there,” or “I sensed the ball would react that way.” These are instances you had intuitive messages.

Especially during decision making, really listen for any intuitions. Listen closely for valid intuitions as opposed to impulses, doubts, or expectations. Even if you cannot explain them, trust that all intuitions are true. And then immediately implement them. Doing strengthens trust. Part of this includes…

NEVER SUCCUMB TO TEMPTATIONS. Golf tempts us. While it is fun to succeed with risks, most temptations suck us down into a morass of frustration. Again, even if you cannot explain it, whenever you sense being tempted DO EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. So if you are tempted to bust a driver, immediately swing easier. Or if you are tempted to cram an approach shot to a tucked pin, immediately take out one more club and smoothly stroke the ball to the middle of the green. Or if you are tempted to hit a flopper from a downhill lie, immediately pitch beyond the pin.

When you think about it, most temptations create disastrous results. Whenever you feel tempted, immediately do just the opposite. Tied in with this is…

NEVER BE TOO CUTE WITH SHOTS. Temptations trick us into believing we can execute with a very fine margin for error. Especially late in the round and under pressure, we at-tempt too many cute finesse shots. Fatigue, stress, greed, and even desperation all conspire to corrupt fine motor skills.

Learn to play–and accept–the percentages. The entire round actually becomes easier when you think clearly and play standard shots. As Tommy Armour always advised, “Play every shot to make the next shot easy.” All of this takes into account…

NEVER CHANGE YOUR PACE UNDER PRESSURE. Sustained playing pressure does some interesting things to the mind and body. One doesn’t have to be a tour pro to experience pressure. A three-footer on the final green for all the skins is as valid of pressure as during tournaments.

When one is under playing pressure, there is the tendency to change the pace of play. We walk or talk too fast, fidget, become timid and somber, mentally short-circuit and blank out, and/or rush our routines. Our swings typically then become shorter, quicker, and more staccato.

Become aware of your personal thinking and feeling patterns under pressure. Rely on those regular patterns of decision making and preshot routines which enabled earlier successes. Don’t be afraid of pressure. These situations are really gifts from The Game. Seen in this light, pressure is actually a doorway to improvement. A part this is…

NEVER WISH-AND-HOPE. Whether it is reacting to expectations, pressure, or temptations, we often hit shots which we just want to get over with. We wish the first drive into the fairway, we hope the ball over a hazard, and we pray a putt will stop somewhere around the hole. Golf is a game of targets. It is also a game of precision.

Precise targeting commences in the mind. Take time to plot out the desired outcome to a specified target. Detail the target–whether it is a brown patch in the fairway or the exact edge of the hole in which you want the ball to enter. Then precisely visualize how the ball will arrive there. Mentally and physically rehearse ideal swings. Then, forget it! Trust you have programmed your mind and body. Finally, immerse into what I call being “Clear & Committed.” Have a clear mind over the ball and settle into the shot performance. All of this includes…

NEVER FOCUS ON OUTCOMES. Now, this may seem contradictory to the above, but hear me out. One temptation is to become distracted with outcomes. I am sure that all of us have encountered situations where we stood on the 16th tee fantasizing about what a great final score would mean. And then what happened?

Yes, have goals and be Clear & Committed with them. However, you cannot totally control outcomes. Instead, learn to emphasize those processes and qualities to reach those outcomes. You CAN totally control these. Believe that if you emphasize the shot processes and personal qualities, the outcomes will take care of themselves.

Golf wisdom comes from learning and honoring essential playing strategies. Now, these strategies may not seem flashy, but the results are satisfying. All golfers say they strive for consistency, but relatively few honor their playing strategies. Consistency emanates from strategy.

BLENDING WITH THE GAME

Good golf, creative golf, and adaptive golf are all dependent on blending with the conditions, the situations, and yourself. As such, there are some things which deflect and block this blending mentality. The following are specific club and shot issues you should avoid.

NEVER SWING THE SAME ON FULL SHOTS. Now, this may seem illogical, but one of the secrets to consistent ballstriking is to never swing the same. Especially with drives and approach shots, there is the temptation to always swing full-out–at the outer limit of that club. Granted, you may pull off a couple of these shots, but doing this for an entire round is nearly impossible. Full-out rhythm and timing are difficult to achieve, difficult to maintain, and once lost, nearly impossible to regain.

Great ballstrikers and scorers understand the need to continually adapt and adjust. Just as every shot situation is unique, so must be the response to it. Granted, there are times to hit full-out swings on some drives and approaches, but these are really rarities. As such, creative players calibrate each of their swings based on their optimal (not maximal) rhythm. Particularly if they choose to work a shot (high or low, left or right), these require easier, abbreviated, and softer swings. There is an inherent joy in matching the appropriate swing to the specific shot.

A round of golf is NOT a long drive nor busted-iron contest. Remember, ultimate consistency involves continual adjustments. Applied to the short clubs…

NEVER HIT A FULL WEDGE. Wedges are key scoring clubs. There are a multiplicity of shots which can played with each of them. Many times, the wedges overlap. Learn to create different shots with each of your wedges. Distance, trajectory, spin, and release are all factors to take into consideration when creating short shots.

The only factor to avoid is to swing fully with a wedge. Even if you can pull off these shots, you tend to lose precise control over the ball. Such full shots usually produce more spin and height (not to mention skulls and chunks!) which actually reduce direct control. It is actually fun to create different touch shots with each wedge. These shots may not look as spectacular as when a high lob sucks back, but the better results will speak for themselves. Related with this issue is…

NEVER BECOME INFATUATED WITH THE LOB WEDGE. I have encountered so many players who have fallen in love with their lob wedges. They use it on every short game shot. They rationalize “Tiger and Annika do this, so I should as well.” A lob wedge is a very difficult club to master and it requires constant practice to keep it sharp.

Now, there are situations where the LW is the best choice. However, use this club as the last option. In short game decision making, start with your longest flattest clubs (including the putter, hybrid, or fairway wood). Proceed considering club options going from longer to shorter. When you arrive at the best choice, go with that. Such decision making usually creates easier, more effective, more forgiving, and more consistent shots. Starting each short game decision with the LW not only is more risky, it also stifles creativity. Here is a new one…

NEVER THINK OF SHORT SHOTS IN TERMS OF “UP-AND-DOWNs.” One of my tour pros brought this up. He became aware that thinking of “up-and-down” was too result oriented. This mindset took him out of the flow of executing the shot.

Instead, he came up with the notions of “approach chips” or “approach pitches.” Such concepts anchored him in the same solid frame of mind as his approach shots or approach putts. He could then better emphasize the processes of execution. (And oh, by the way, his up-and-down conversions improved significantly.) Experiment with the mindsets of approach chips and approach pitches. And finally…

NEVER GIVE UP. Perseverance is not only essential to golf, but to all of life as well. Giving up tempts us. Whether it is on a shot, near the end of a discouraging hole, at the end of a round, or during a tournament, giving up tempts. You question, “Why persist?” Only you can answer this. And you had better come up with many positive answers.

Golf is tough enough in itself without us becoming pessimistic and giving up. You see, giving up is really a contagious disease. Once we give up, it is easier to give up next time. Very quickly, giving up expands to become the norm. Learn to persist, persevere, gut it out, grind, hang in there, remain doggedly positive, redeem, and believe. There is strength, and even pride, to be gained from these qualities.

So these are things NOT to do…along with some alternatives. It makes sense that if you can eliminate the things not to do, what is left are positive alternatives. Become more aware of your own self-destructive playing patterns. Catch them and do something different.

True to what I said, DO NOT believe me! Find out for yourself. Now stand back–I’m gonna swing out of my shoes on this next drive!

Cheers! Tom

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Dr. Tom Kubistant is one of the original modern day sport psychologists. He has been researching the mental game and helping athletes since 1972. He has written five books and over 440 articles on the psychology of human performance. ==========================================================

“Dr. Kubistant does a tremendous job in helping people reach their goals not only in golf, but in all aspects of their lives. It is remarkable watching him work with players from the junior level all the way through the college and professional ranks helping them reach as high as they can go.”

Pamela A. Whalen – Executive Director, Northern Nevada Golf Association

Dr. Tom Kubistant, sports psychologist has worked with world-class athletes since 1971. He is one of the most prolific writers and speakers on the mental game of golf on the planet. To take advantage of his decades of golf wizardry, visit Mind Links

golf psychologist

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

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Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant
Posted by
June 29, 2010 in Misc

How to prepare for a golf tournament

PROGRAMMING YOUR PLAYING BIOCOMPUTER

Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP

One of the neat things I observed from watching the recent Winter Olympics was how so many announcers, analysts, and even athletes referred to golf in describing performance situations. Golf is THE most complex of all sports. Not only does it involve a myriad of mechanical components, it also includes overlapping psychological, emotional, and playing issues. More athletes from other sports are not only recognizing the principles of golf, but adapting them to help in their own performances.

What all sports have in common is the necessity of preparation. In golf, it not only includes warming up, but being truly ready to play. This readiness applies to being able to quickly adapt to any situation encountered during the round. Concentration, consistency, mental toughness, as well as creativity and even intuition all depend on the quality of preround preparation

Although we wish every round would enfold smoothly with our performances being completely in control, they rarely do. We all hit bad shots and encounter rough patches. When you think about it, one of the fascinations with The Game is learning how to minimize and adapt to various adversities. Most great performances are grounded in successfully responding to early challenges.

Are you truly ready to play every round? C�mon, be honest with yourself. Rocky starts, disjointed swings, poorly thought-out decisions, dumb course management, and even emotional reactions all stem from not be properly prepared. How many times have you stood on the third tee wanting to go back to the clubhouse and play a “do over?” Even though many of us think we are ready to play a round, we could do much more.

All complete preround preparation includes: (1) stretching; (2) relaxing/centering; (3) warmup on the range, chipping, and putting greens; (4) mentally rehearsing how to play each hole, and (5) engaged playing scenarios. Rushing up to the first tee with shoe laces untied, arranging wagers, fumbling for a tee, taking a couple of abbreviated practice swings, and hoping for the best is not preparation. We can do…and be…so much more. Even though a four hour round of golf goes through different phases, very few of us can recover from an ill-prepared start.

An integral component of preparation occurs away from the course. It is mentally rehearsing various playing scenarios. Whenever I begin working with golfers, I ask them a series of questions to determine just how well they prepare for rounds. These questions often take the form of “What if…?” scenarios–both about ideal qualities as well as responding to challenges. There is nothing hypothetical about them. Even though most players believe they are prepared, few can completely answer these questions. You see, even though we all dream about playing well, few do much beyond this fantasizing.

Simply put, golfers who start off well, play consistently, successfully cope with adversity, finish well, and generally allow solid efforts to emerge have programmed themselves to do specific things. It is like their minds and bodies are complex biocomputers. Constructing answers to specific playing scenarios efficiently programs efforts. Now, this mental programming is not catastrophizing. Far from it. Mentally playing out different playing scenarios helps: (1) tap into good performances, (2) prevent or minimize bad stretches, (3) allow emotional reactions to more quickly run their courses, and (4) facilitate better and faster decisions.

If you have worked out possible playing situations you will be better able to respond (not react) to them when they emerge. Even if you encounter situations you haven�t programmed, you can more quickly create appropriate responses. You see, much of self-control actually occurs before the round. If you wait to figure something out when it actually happens, it is usually too late. You tend to get thrown for a loop, become confused, allow emotions to bubble up, and lose your way. Appropriate situational responses are programmed well before the round.

Below is an exercise to help you prepare better. What follows are seven key playing scenarios. Each one includes two separate parts: (1) what to optimally do and (2) “what if” this ideal doesn�t work. Here is the best way to benefit from this exercise. Spend one day contemplating each of these scenarios. Depending on your learning and remembering styles, you might want to write down each one and carry it around with you occasionally referring to it. Write down and/or repeatedly mentally rehearse your responses. Your goal is to create a clear and comprehensive plan for each one of these. Spend an entire day developing responses to each of these scenario pairs. Players who have done this report this has been one of the most productive weeks of their golfing lives. Have fun with these!

DAY 1. How best do I settle into deep and sustained concentration? What if I become distracted, too intense, or get in my own way?

DAY 2. How do I start off well? What if I don�t get off to a good start?

DAY 3. What are my optimal playing routines? What if the pace of play becomes very slow or erratic?

DAY 4. How do I feel my optimal swing rhythm? What if my rhythm goes out of synch?

DAY 5. How do I best relax and stay centered? What if I start feeling anxious or angry?

DAY 6. How do I best remain patient? What do I do if I encounter adversity, bad luck, or good shots that don�t end up well?

DAY 7. How do I best finish off a round? What if I get ahead of myself or become greedy?

Now, each of these scenario pairs may initially appear simple, but they are far from that. Each usually has multiple layers, much like that of an onion. Of course, seeds for the answers for each second part can be found in the first. This exercise requires a lot of energy. Take your time and completely explore these scenarios. Create a clear picture of your plans and responses. You will know when you have completed each scenario when it “clicks” into place in your mind. You have then programmed your great golfing biocomputer in that area.

If you are like other players who go through this week, you will probably encounter other spinoff issues as you explore these seven scenarios. When you do, just write these down and put them aside. You are actually developing scenarios for the second week!

One of the best feelings in golf is feeling well prepared. True confidence not only comes from belief in self and previous successes, but also from full preparedness. Smooth golf is prepared golf. It seems to be paradoxical, but in order to allow the best performances to flow, one must have first have created a structure for them. Program, rehearse, and then do.

MIND LINKS Update

Over the last year, many of you have inquired how you could obtain a copy of my venerable book. I wrote this in a practical notebook form exploring thirty key mental and playing areas. I have always been surprised how well this book stood the test of time. After ten printings, I thought it was time to let it go. From what I have heard, it has now become sort of a collectors� item. By the way, for you collectors, the first 100 copies of MIND LINKS were numbered, autographed, and contained both a special stamp and embossed three letters imprint on the title page.

Many of you loaned out this book never to see it again, wore through your copy, or wanted to give it as a present. Among those who contacted me, Craig Sigl persisted in wishing to resurrect MIND LINKS. I gave Craig permission to record this book onto CD. He did an outstanding job with its production. The electronic book, along with neat bonus features, is now available on Craig�s website of psychologyofgolf.com. Truly, there are links of the mind to golf performances!

Over the last fifteen years, Dr. Tom Kubistant has been THE most prolific writer on the psychology of golf. Tom is a member of the TOUR INSTRUCTIONAL SERIES which offers seminars around North America on the mental, biomechanical, and playing dimensions of golf.

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Dr. Tom Kubistant, sports psychologist has worked with world-class athletes since 1971. He is one of the most prolific writers and speakers on the mental game of golf on the planet. To take advantage of his decades of golf wizardry, visit Mind Links

golf psychologist

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

Way before the current crop of golf psychologists, 2 decades before anyone ever heard of the term “sports psychology,” Dr. Kubistant was working with Olympic Athletes, World-Class Tennis players, Baseball pitchers, Football Quarterbacks, Bowlers, Drag Racers, Body builders, Poker Players , Ballerinas, Gymnasts, Skaters, Rodeo Barrel Racers, Business Sales and Corporate Professionals and of course, Golfers.

In 1971, after working in private psychotherapy practice he dove headfirst into Human Performance and Achievement and became one of the pioneers of modern sports psychology. His own athletic prowess as a tennis pro and accomplished golfer spurred him on. If that isn’t enough, he maintains the complete “Bibliography On The Psychology Of Golf;” everything ever written on the mental game of golf. And HE HAS READ EVERYTHING IN IT!

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Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant
Posted by
June 29, 2010 in Misc

Learning From Your Misteak Patterns Part 2

THE PLAYING MISTAKES ASSESSMENT

I have developed a self-assessment of golfing mistakes. No, it is not just for masochists! Here are the most common patterns of mental and playing mistakes. Which fit for you? Please take three minutes and answer the following questions. Write down a number after each question of how many times per round you typically commit this type of error. Now, they may not occur in every single round, but they are definite patterns. Go ahead…you very well may be surprised at what you discover.

HOW MANY TIMES PER ROUND DO YOU…
Expect things to be perfect or smooth? _____
Make dumb or poorly thought-out decisions? _____
Cut short or eliminate preshot and postshot routines? _____
Fall prey to temptations and greed? _____
Allow your concentration to slip and/or become distracted? _____
Try too hard? _____
Lose your patience? _____
Not feel really ready to hit a shot? _____
Attempt “wishes and hopes” shots? ____
Allow your emotions (both positive and negative) to bubble up? _____
Not feel totally committed to a shot? _____
Make errors due to looseness (that is; quick, mindless, and no-brainer mistakes)? _____
Make errors due to tightness (that is; too tense and/or the mind too jumbled up)? _____
Allow subtle fears to influence? _____
Have too aggressive of a mindset? _____
Have too timid and cautious of a mindset? _____
Attempt swings that are too fast or too hard? _____
Try to force or make things happen? _____
Make wrong club selections? _____
Make wrong shot selections? _____
Try things that are too complicated? _____
Attempt shots that are not targeted precisely enough? _____
Attempt shots that are too cute or have too fine a margin for error? _____
Attempt shots which haven’t been practiced nor refined? _____
Stay stuck in the low ebb of a couple of bad holes? _____
Space out and go off on mental “walkabouts?” _____
Think outcome numbers and results (instead of here-and-now qualities and processes)? _____
Allow self-imposed pressures and stresses to choke you? _____
Get down on yourself, become negative, and/or give up? _____
Stop enjoying the process of playing the game? _____
ANALYZING YOUR MISTAKE PATTERNS

Okay, now please add up the grand total of how many typical mistakes you make. You will probably be surprised–or even shocked–at how many mistake patterns you have. In finalizing this article, I had seven women on a university golf team with whom I have been working answer the above questions. Their results may surprise you. Their totals ranged from a low of 26 to three of them admitting to well over 200! And these are all fine elite golfers.

As you become more aware of your mistake patterns you will realize that one pattern opens up others. This is why the above number can grow so high.

You may commit multiple mistakes on the same shot. I call these “situational mistake patterns.” For example, when I have lost my patience, I may rush my preshot routine so I do not acquire a specific target nor am really ready to hit the shot. I then allow my frustrations to take hold and try to force a cute shot. I will typically swing too hard, become even more angry, and “mail in” the rest of the round. Whew…no wonder I go nuts with this game!

Upon reflection of these questions you might be left with the feeling of how you can possibly execute any good shots at all! Your specific answers to these questions can be quite revealing. You see, it has been my experience that if you can accurately define the problem, you are halfway there to resolving it.

Here is how to make sense from your responses. In each of the above 30 mistake patterns if you admitted to more than three per round, you have indirectly identified a factor you need to address. Look back at your answers and give a priority to the three most frequently reported categories.

Then with each of these, detail a specific plan of how to overcome them. So for example, if I discovered I committed too many errors due to looseness, I would plan to concentrate more on layup shots and better feel my rehearsal swings. Or if I admitted that I tended to swing too hard, I would better tune into key rhythm cues and keep using my centering techniques. Or if I became aware I had little fears inhibiting me, I would ask myself “What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?” and then throw myself into the shot. Awareness of mistake patterns is good, but implementing a game plan to overcome them is better.

Resolving, or just minimizing, your unique mistake patterns can be quite liberating. In order to allow good efforts emerge and flow, you first have to eliminate the mistake “dams and bottlenecks.” Once controlled, you can then rechannel these patterns into more fluid performances.

golf psychologist
Click the image

RECOVERIES

Even though we plan to consistently hit fairways and greens, we are not robots. We have variations and we make mistakes. However, mistakes can actually be seen as methods to spice up the game. One of my mantras I continually verbalize to my golfers is that, “there are many ways to score.” Recovering from mistakes–tactically, emotionally, mentally, and shotmaking–actually provide opportunities to expand your game. You see, making a mistake may not be the sin. Repeating it and not quickly recovering from it ARE the sins. When you have made a playing mistake, your first response is to remain calm. That shot is gone. There is nothing you can do about it. Then positively and purposefully devise a solution to your situation. Seen in these lights, recoveries can be one of the most satisfying elements of playing golf. Recovering is as much as an mental process as it is a mechanical one. Forgive yourself, accept your situation, and concentrate on creating the appropriate response.

Reflect now on some of your best performances. I would bet that somewhere in these rounds you recovered wonderfully from mistakes. These recoveries not only salvaged the round, they were springboards to heightened efforts. Recovery is redemption. And this has its own rewards.

So here is the bottom line. 1. Accept you will make mistakes. When you make one, be like Walter Hagen who passively chalked it up to one of his allotted ones. And then play on.

2. The best way to minimize errors is to miss shots in the right places. Granted, always be positive and committed in decision making, but also factor in that if you miss the shot, where that might be.

3. When in a tough situation, learn to “take your medicine.” Pitch back to the fairway or chip beyond the tucked pin to the fat part of the green. In these ways you can cut your losses. The golf gods frequently reward such discipline…sometimes during the same hole.

4. Recovering is as much of a matter of attitude as it is shotmaking. After a mistake be positive and even eager with the prospects of the next shot.

5. Listen and honor your intuitions. A big part of minimizing mistake patterns is awareness. Resist your greedy temptations. Even if do no know why, immediately do the opposite of what is tempted.

Keep on learning about your playing patterns. Good play is smart play, not only with pure shots, but also with poor shots. Accept that mistakes are an integral part of The Game. These are not only tests of your game, they are also tests of your character.

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“Kubi has done so much for me and my team that words are hard to use to express it. I met Kubi last year. He did a group session for our women’s and men’s teams together. He talked to them about pressures, expectations, successes and how they are created, and seemed to roll everything into life. That session left my team motivated and energized for their first event. We traveled to Arizona’s tournament with no practice as we were under feet of snow last February and still finished better than anyone thought we would.

Kubi coaching the team and myself on our mental thoughts and attitudes has helped me to learn more than I could have ever dreamed of. He knows so much and relates so well with all of us that I couldn’t do this job without him.

Judy Dansie, University of Nevada Reno Women’s Golf Coach

Dr. Tom Kubistant has been called “The Master of the Intrinsic.” He maintains the entire bibliography on the mental game of golf…and has read it all! Nobody is more experienced than Tom. He continues to work with professional and average golfers every day.

If you want to get your game to the next level, click here to get Mind Links now!

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant

Improve after the golf choke

LEARNING FROM YOUR MISTEAK PATTERNS Part 1 (or how to get better after you choke in golf)

I GUARANTEE that if you reduce your playing mistakes by just twenty percent you can lower you typical scores by at least five shots per round. Skeptical? Good! Read on. Without changing a single thing with your swing, you can significantly improve your scoring. How? Simple…by becoming aware of, preventing, and recovering quicker from mistakes.

One cornerstone to good playing is minimizing mistakes. It has been said by many golf pundits that those who play well are those who make the least number of mistakes, least severity of them, at the least crucial times, and recover most quickly from them. Years ago, I created the “cake” metaphor for good scoring. Great shots and pure hits are merely the frosting on the cake. However, consistency is the cake itself. And one way to improve consistency is by controlling mistake patterns.

In any round of golf, there is a plethora of possible pitfalls. On any given shot, there are so many things that can go wrong–mechanically, physically, rhythmically, mentally, emotionally, and tactically. In fact, there seems to be a least ten times as many things that can go wrong than can go right. No wonder so many of us are basket cases!

When we become aware of what can possibly go wrong, we tend to become more tentative and even defensive in both thinking and executing. It is, indeed, a self-fulfilling prophecy that the more we attempt to prevent errors the more we actually ensure them occurring. (Remember your “Don’t hit it right OB” admonition? And where did that shot go?!) However, we can’t ignore their reality either. Inconsistent play, blowup holes, and even giving up are grounded in such ignorance. Clearly, in order to play smart golf we have to better understand and channel our personal error patterns.

Think about it, what is the first thing you remember about the most current round? Mistakes. You think about the number of “shots left out on the course,” the big blunders, the missed opportunities, the dumb choices, and even the outright chokes. The more you reflect on your mistakes the more aware you become that you have made similar ones before. Just as there are patterns to your optimal play, there are also patterns to your mistakes.

Now, think about this: no mistake is ever made in isolation. Mistake patterns have components that are mental, emotional, and/or tactical. Even a blatant mishit is grounded in your mindset as you set up over the shot. From twenty-plus years of playing sessions with golfers, it has been my experience that in every double bogey there was at least one shot that was a dumb play.

golf psychologist Click the image to get your head right and get Mind Links.

Realize that there has NEVER been a perfectly played round. Even at the height of his powers, the great Ben Hogan admitted that in any given round he only hit about seven shots purely or, as he said, “as I intended.” If the great Hogan said he only hit seven pure shots per round, how come you expect to hit every shot perfectly? Also, in the early days of the golf handicapping system, Walter Hagen equated players’ numbers to about the amount of major swing errors they typically committed per round. There is a lot of wisdom in his concept. Everybody has a choke round here and there. It’s inevitable.

In fact, I have expanded Hagen’s theory to include mental, emotional, shotmaking, and course management mistakes as well. Here is my ratio: ALL GOLFERS MAKE MISTAKES AT LEAST TWO TIMES THEIR INDEX NUMBER. Hence if your current index is 12, you will make over two dozen little mistakes per round. Think about your playing patterns before you accept my ratio. It is nothing about which to become discouraged. You see, only after we fully accept something can we then do something about it. Golf is just a darned difficult game. And mistakes are an inherent part of the game. Accept the fact that you will make mistakes. Give yourself a break and be easier on yourself. This is the first mindset to establish in playing better and more enjoyable golf.

To be continued next week…

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“They Keep Lying And You Keep Buying” Aren’t you tired of missing 3-footers? They not only cost you the hole, but it costs you your cool and about 5 more holes right after…Yeah, that little train-track putting gadget you bought really saved your butt under pressure there didn’t it? Did you know that recent machine tests have been done that prove that an old persimmon wood (yep, you read that right, the kind your grandfather used to play) hits the ball the same distance as all those fancy new metals of today?

And yet, with larger sweet spots, with all those gadgets, all those swing instruction programs, all those new high-tech fancy clubs, all those new golf ball polymers, all those perfectly manicured courses and even GPS units that tell you exactly how far your next shot is…Average Golfer Scores Have Not Dropped Since Steel Shafts Replaced Hickory! Why is this?

The mental game…

Craig Sigl – The Golf Anti-practice expert

Dr. Tom Kubistant, sports psychologist has worked with world-class athletes since 1971. He is the most experienced psychologist on the mental game of golf on the planet!! To take advantage of his decades of golf wizardry, Eliminate the choke round, Get Mind Links now!

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

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Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant

Top 10 tips from golf teaching pros


golf psychologist


THE TEN THINGS YOUR TEACHING PRO WON’T TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR GAME*

No, it’s not repeating Sam Snead’s classic line to, “Take two weeks off…and then quit the game!” On the contrary, your golf teacher is a committed professional. She or he is dedicated in assisting you improve and better enjoy this great game. They make the confusing understandable and the elusive achievable. Still, there are some things your pro won’t tell you about your game.

Over the decades, I have had the opportunity to know teaching pros unlike most students ever do. I survey them on various mental game research projects I conduct. I also train them on such issues as: learning and retention styles, pre-teaching assessments, content sequencing, human performance, guest servicve, marketing, and even help them with their own putting yips! I learn as much from them as they do from me.

Some of the most memorable conversations I have ever had with them are informal ones over beverages as we discussed the natures of learning and playing the game. Their clarity and passion about the game was inspiring. I wished we could have recorded these sessions for all golfers could have learned so much from them.

Trained and experienced LPGA and PGA teaching pros are the pinnacles of professionalism and ethics. As such, many restrain themselves from confronting students about certain issues. Some pros are reluctant to assert themselves about what their students need to do. They won’t tell you…BUT I WILL!

The following are the ten issues which frustrate teaching pros the most about students’ approaches to their games. As you read through these, reflect on which you commit…and what you can do differently. Here is what your teaching pro won’t tell you about your game!

1. YOU ARE NOT TRULY COMMITTED. No matter how experienced the player, teachers frequently report to me that many golfers are not fully committed to improving their games in the long run. Teachers become frustrated when they are more committed to their student’s games than the golfers themselves. Some golfers still expect the pro to fix them or the problem to magically resolve itself…in one lesson. And when it doesn’t occur, they give up or blame the pro. Golf is THE toughest game and consistent improvement begins with a honest and full commitment.

2. YOU DON’T PRACTICE ENOUGH. Change does not occur during the lesson. Rather, change occurs from systematic practice of the lesson material. As I surveyed teaching pros over the last seven years, more reported they will not allow students to schedule another lesson until they have practiced the previous material at least three times. New skills need regular practice over a period of time for them to sink in. In fact, practice can become fun in its own right.

3. YOU DON’T PRACTICE CORRECTLY. Mindlessly banging out balls is not practice. In the first session of a lesson series, innovative teaching pros cover how to practice the material. For each practice session you should have a specific plan of what to emphasize and how to do it. This plan should be an extension of what you have recently done and fit into the overall direction of growth. Specifically, each practice session should begin with a full warmup, conscientious work on one or two isolated elements, and then reintegrate changes back into the entire swing. Rhythm is key in both warmup and integration.

4. YOU DON’T DEVELOP AND INCORPORATE PRESHOT ROUTINES INTO PRACTICES. Teaching pros just shake their heads when watching “machine gun practicers.” You know the type: they quickly bang out buckets of balls believing somehow “muscle memory” is working. Intelligent practice sessions include complete preshot and postshot routines. Hence, you should only be able to hit, at the most, two balls per minute. Pretend certain range shots are like those specific ones you will encounter during a round. It is true, “If you want to play like you practice, then practice like you want to play.” Spend time reflecting on this maxim.

5. YOU DON’T PRACTICE YOUR SHORT GAME NEARLY ENOUGH. When I asked top teaching pros about practice prioritizing, most reported that students should practice their full swings only 33-50% of the time. The rest should be short game practices: chips, pitches, sand play, and putting. Think about it, there are perhaps three times as many options on short game shots as there are with full swing ones. If there is one element of the short game teachers say students don’t practice enough, it is the 20-50 yard half-pitches. I advise my players that after they have a pretty good handle on their full swing mechanics, 70% of all practice sessions should be entirely on short games.

6. YOU DON’T REQUEST PUTTING SESSIONS. Way back in 1992, I surveyed teaching pros about what percentage of their students EVER requested a putting lesson. The results may initially surprise you. I discovered that only 6% of students ever requested a putting session. Since the putt is the shortest shot in the game, most golfers feel they can master it on their own. Sure, anybody can putt, but few can putt consistently well. Beyond stroke mechanics, teaching pros can expand your awareness about reading greens, speed and distance control, preputt routines, various targeting systems, and handling pressure.

7. YOU DON’T ASK ABOUT TRANSFERENCE. Many golfers still mistakenly believe that if they take lessons and regularly practice, these newfound skills will automatically transfer onto the course. LEARNING HOW TO SWING AND LEARNING HOW TO PLAY ARE TWO SEPARATE PROCESSES. If there is a weakness I see in teaching pros’ content sequencing, it is that they do not spend enough lesson time on the issue of transference from range to the course. Granted, this is a fairly sophisticated psychological concept, but the issue has to be covered about the strategies and tactics of bringing one’s game onto the course. Good teachers address this issue at the end of each lesson. Such short conversations can be as valuable in the long run as another series of lessons. Really.

8. YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT CONCENTRATION. Just as there are specific skills involved with learning and retention, there are other specific skills involved with playing the game. Concentration is the core of human performance. It is much more than the ability of not being distracted or even visualizing the shot. Granted, hardly any teaching pros have comprehensive training in golf psychology, but they can teach the basics of how to best apply your mind during a round.

9. YOU DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PLAYING SESSIONS. After you understand the fundamentals of the swing, the best time you can spend is booking regular playing sessions with your pro. Teaching pros are very good players and such sessions provide unique opportunities to pick their brains over specific situations encountered during a round. Even if such playing sessions are only six or 9 holes, you can learn so much from them. Course management, targeting, shot selection, settling into the round, flow, short game options, coping with frustrations, and finishing off a round are just some of the topics which can be discussed, Contrary to what you may believe, most teaching pros love these sessions. I believe all players should book playing sessions at least once every other month. You will greatly reduce your learning curve about how to play the game.

10. YOU DON’T HAVE A LONG TERM PLAN FOR YOUR GAME. Teaching pros are tickled when students ask for input about long term progress–at least for the upcoming season. Such discussions not only include mechanics, equipment, and playing the game, but also ancillary areas as fitness, specialized training, and developmental phases. Such interest conveys students are really committed to improving their games. This brings us back full circle to #1.

Okay, to which of the above do you plead guilty? And what are you going to do about it? You see, I don’t really care if you choose not to improve your game. If you enjoy knocking the ball around, grand. However, if you sincerely want to improve, you have to fully commit to a process. Not doing the right things and yet expecting improvement only sets yourself up for frustration and failure.

You have a grand resource in your local teaching pros. You don’t have to travel across the country to work with a “name” teacher. Your local pros can do as good (if not better) of a job. They are much more than friendly faces behind the counter or the encouraging presences on the range. They genuinely want you to grow and succeed. Take advantage of them.

* If teaching pros see value in this article, they have my permission to make copies and distribute it to their students through 2007.

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“Tom is our secret weapon for competitive golfers. He both calms us and inspires us. It sometimes gets lonely and confusing out there. Tom is our refuge for us to come back to our best performances.”

Frank Roberson, Touring Professional

Dr. Tom Kubistant has been called “The Master of the Intrinsic.” He maintains the entire bibliography on the mental game of golf…and has read it all! Nobody is more experienced than Tom. He continues to work with professional and average golfers every day.

If you want to get your game to the next level, click here to get Mind Links now!

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

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Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant
Posted by
June 29, 2010 in Misc

Play your best golf game

Playing Your Own Golf Game

STAY IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY OF SUCCESS

My sister, who is a very fine golfer in Chicago, gave me a call the other day and said, “Guess who showed up on the course today? Me’ This may seem like an odd thing to say, but ask yourself this How many times does your best and most natural self show up on the golf course?

Playing your own golf game and staying within yourself during a round are a couple of the classic maxims of properly playing the game, but relatively few of us honor these precepts. Only after making critical mistakes during a round do we reflect on what we should of done by saying such phrases as, “I tried way too hard out there:’ “I pressed too much’ “1 tried to force things to happen:’ and “I wasn’t myself out there.

Of course, hindsight is 20-20, but just how can we apply our best selves into a round? One of the fascinating aspects about golf is that it constantly tempts us away from ourselves. The pressurized situation, worrying about the score, fears about the consequences of the outcomes, competing with others, greed and even ego and pride all pull us away from being ourselves.

In order to play our own golf games, we first have to become aware and then prevent those personal tendencies that can take us away. For example, -whenever I feel the temptation to swing hard and force a shot, a little alarm bell rings in my head. I know when I have these feelings I need to do Just the opposite; that is, swing easy and release the club.

Being aware of and reversing my own greedy tendencies has saved me many strokes .and good sleep that night! In order to play your own game, you must start with what not to do. The next step is to become aware of just exactly what to do. A good way to accomplish this is to do this little exercise of mine. It’s called “Play (your name here)’s Game? Especially when I want to _ play really well, I say to myself beforehand, “I m just going to play Tom’s game

I have become aware of all those key qualities and elements necessary to play my own best game. I constantly remind myself and expand on them. Currently for me ,this list is more than 20 elements. So when I say “Play Tom’s Game,” this represents all of these elements. Spend some time now and list all of these elements, processes and qualifies essential for you “Playing (your name here)’s Game?

You might be surprised at all the ones you discover. I am a great believer that the best human performances are based on building on your strengths. Both consistency and improvement are grounded upon emphasizing what you do well. I have found that the more you emphasize your strengths, the more your weaknesses take care of themselves.

Or at least, you are then in a much better position to address your weaknesses. For example, the more my full swing rhythm is easy and fluid, the more all of my improper mechanical positions improve on their own.

This is the foundation for “Playing Tom’s Game.” I emphasize the strong elements of my game, not trying to do things I don’t do well. So I will emphasize consistent ball striking, great putting and, most importantly, my deep concentration. I do not care if my playing partners bomb their drives past mine, hit three clubs less into a green or flop lob wedges. Good for them. I will continue to play Tom’s Game. In the end, I will do just fine.

This is the secret of playing … and staying within yourself.

Play your own game. It is then familiar territory to do the strong things you are used to doing. Playing your own game is particularly important when you are under pressure. This is precisely the time to stick to your guns and play to your strengths.

Multiple PGA Tour winner Jerry Kelly says, ‘If you change your persona coming down the stretch, you change your game.”

A big part of playing maturity is to be true to the good things that got you to this point Beyond any specific swing techniques, fancy shots or hot putting, consistently good golf is being true to your essential self “To thine own self be true” is as valid today as it was five centuries ago.

Avoid the temptations presented during a round and tap into your strengths. By playing your own game, you just might show up on the course.

Cheers!

Tom

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So how’s your game been? Are you happy with it? Still taking lessons and thinking it’s all about the swing huh? How’s that been working for you?
When you are ready to actually start going where your low scores are and getting them, you’ll be ready for Dr. Kubistant. Nobody on the planet knows more about how the human mind operates in this game of golf….nobody.

Craig Sigl – The Golf Anti-practice expert
Hypnotist and Master Practitioner of NLP

Dr. Tom Kubistant, sports psychologist has worked with world-class athletes since 1971. He is one of the most prolific writers and speakers on the mental game of golf on the planet. To take advantage of his decades of golf wizardry, visit Mind Links

golf psychologist

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

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Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant

How to calm down that golf tension

Create Your Own Menu for C.A.L.M. to play your best golf

“To be a bundle of quivering nerves under control is to be capable of greater things.”
– Bernard Darwin, 1931

WHETHER IT IS ON THE FIRST tee at the U.S. Open, Q-School, your club championship, or just at your local muni with some strangers, you should be nervous! If not, you are not really ready to play good golf. This may not make sense to you, but read on. Everyone gets golf tension!

Controlling your performance stress and tension begins with understanding it. You see, the goal for managing your quivering bundle of nerves is not to get rid of them. You are just eliminating preciou8 energy you can use. Instead, the goal is to channel this energy to enhance your efforts. As the great actress Helen Hayes is originally credited with saying, “The goal is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach. The goal is to teach them to fly in formation.”

Granted, we all want to play well in important rounds, but many times these good intentions actually create more self-induced pressure. The net result is that we get in. our own ways inhibiting natural performances from coming out. Perform-ing well under pressure is a learned skill based on awareness and experience. I devoted a couple major chapters in my upcoming book, Golfing Your Roil: The Psychology of Playing Golf~ to the issues of channeling performance stress.

golf psychologist

The core strategy revolves around centering. Cen-tering is much more than physical relax-ation. It is the process that connects relax- ation, concentration, self-statements, mental imagery, intuition, and even spiri-tual dimensions. Centering unifies and co-ordinates performances. In essence, centering is that metaphorical valve which channels the flow of our efforts.

All of the golfers with whom I work develop personalized approaches of channel-ing their performance energies especially during pressurized rounds. From a state of centering, a common tactic most employ is how they can become and remain calm. “Calm” is such a nice word. It connotes feelings of both ease and assuredness.

“The goal is not to get rid of the butterflies in your stomach. The goal is to teach them to fly in formation.”

Calm can serve also as an important reminder of playing from center. Most of my golfers have taken these concepts a couple of steps further in using the word CALM as an acronym of their key playing emphases. When they think the word “calm” they immediately know what they need to do and be. Some players even write out the word on their score cards, on their personalized reminder cards, even on their golf balls.

This is an interactive article. If you agree with the importance of remaining calm, you may want to further define just what it specifically means to you. There are so many components we can include in the acronym. Here are just some of the more common ones my golfers have used.

C: centered, cool, connected, concen-trated, committed, and creative. A: aware, allowing, accept, affirmative, absorbed, and attentive. L: loose, languid, laugh, love, and lower. M: mellow, motivated, mental, and me-ticulous.

Use a combination of the above empha-ses now as a menu to create your own personalized acronym of C.A.L.M.

C______________________________________________________________

A______________________________________________________________

L______________________________________________________________

M______________________________________________________________

Creating your own CALM is important, but it is useless unless you refer to it during a round. Develop ways to remind (lit- erally, “re-mind”) yourself of how you can remain calm on the course. You might just become amazed at how well your little ac-ronym helps you stay in charge of your game. Deep down within you, you inherently know how to perform your best. Employ-ing a little reminder likeC.A.L.M. keeps you in touch with what . . .and how . . .you need to do. So the next time you are feel-ing pressure, just remember your mother’s advice and CALM DOWN!

Cheers!

Tom

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“Tom, Love the Mind Links cd set. Extremely handy for the car. Plenty of choice rather than this or that dogmatic set of instructions and fun to listen to. By being very conscious of the need to relax I have been able, most of the time, to achieve a reasonably relaxed state over chips and pitches and, on recent rounds, have been able to swing in the Dave Pelz mode as a consequence. The walking idea is very practicable: being left-handed I am walking like Phil Mickelson which to me means walking purposefully. I repeat, your writings and the Mind Links materials have helped me to be calmer. Hope springs eternal!!!”

Alan Rutherford, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Dr. Tom Kubistant has been called “The Master of the Intrinsic.” He maintains the entire bibliography on the mental game of golf…and has read it all! Nobody is more experienced than Tom. He continues to work with professional and average golfers every day helping them eliminate tension and stress in their golf game.

If you want to get your game to the next level, click here to get Mind Links now!

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

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Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant

Become Your Own Pro Golf Caddie

WRITE YOUR PERSONAL FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

golf psychologist


Most of the pro Tour and mini-tour players with whom I work do not have their own regular caddies. They usually employ a local golf caddie at week’s event These players are constantly forging new relationships with new caddies. Some weeks it works, some weeks it doesn’t.

A golf caddie is a critical element in performing well at a professional tournament. In addition to giving yardages and taking care of the player, a caddie can also be a coach, confidant and counselor Beyond the classic adage, “Show up, keep up and shut up,” a good caddie has to be continually in the head of the golfer. The caddie has to know when to say something, what to say, how to say it and, as importantly, when not to say anything at all.

One technique we have developed with touring players is to have a 4-by-6-inch index card that explains what the golfers want from their caddies during the tournament. Instead of explaining what the golfer wants at the beginning of each week, the player simply gives this index card to the caddie. On the card is what the player wants the caddie to do, what to say and how to say it.

The index card is really a compilation of how the player can perform well. Many of my players have reported that this index card was even more valuable than just a caddie briefing. Even though I never originally intended to be so (I am not that smart!), this index card represents the key elements in the player’s formula for success.

Frequent1y, the players read their cards again and respond, “Oh yes, that is what I need to do to play well.” Some of them regularly use this index card as a reminder for themselves as well. Let’s take this concept of the caddie card one step further. Answer this question: If you were to become your own golf caddie, what would you tell yourself about how you perform best? What are the key elements to your personal formula for success -especially under pressure? What things do you need to emphasize, de-emphasize and ignore? What would you like to say to yourself and in what manner?

Answer this question:
If you were to become your own golf caddie, what would you tell yourself about how you perform best? You may be surprised at what you write down

Pretend you are becoming your own caddie and educate yourself about you. Write out a caddie card for yourself. You’ll quickly discover that it is not as easy as it first appears. Not only do you have to determine what to say to yourself but also how to say it. Any formula – such as this formula for golfing success – has to be precise for it to be of any consistent value.

As an example, the following is the caddie card I wrote up when I last played The Old Course at St. Andrews. I usually do not like to use caddies, but sometimes they are a treat. Knowing for me that caddies can be as much of a hindrance as a help, here is what I wrote:

I am a quiet focused and creative player. Give me just enough information about a hole so I can figure it out by myself. I like making my own decisions and mentally rehearsing each shot.

Since I shape many of my shots and hit them at various speeds, please don’t recommend or pull a club for me. Quietly support me. No pushing or exhorting me. Sincerely compliment me after a good shot and find something positive to say after a poor shot. In everything you say and do, be positive about it.

When I am becoming too (in)tense, lighten me up by pointing at the scenery or telling a funny story. When I am angry don’t say anything. It will pass quickly. Just have me focus on the shot in front of me. When I am battling, support my fight. When I am playing well don’t say much and just keep me calm.

Since I read my putts by imagining the hole as a clock, if I ask you for help tell me at what hour and minute; (such as 4:30) you see the putt going into the hole. Until you understand this concept, just confirm what I say. Let’s go settle into ourselves and throw ourselves into this round!

You may want to write up your own caddie card. You will certainly have to revise it a couple of times. And you may very well be surprised at the final result. What you come up with is really your unique formula for success. Read it and become your own golf caddie.

Cheers!

Tom

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“Tom is our secret weapon for competitive golfers. He both calms us and inspires us. It sometimes gets lonely and confusing out there. Tom is our refuge for us to come back to our best performances.”

Frank Roberson, Touring Professional

Dr. Tom Kubistant has been called “The Master of the Intrinsic.” He maintains the entire bibliography on the mental game of golf…and has read it all! Nobody is more experienced than Tom. He continues to work with professional and average golfers every day.

If you want to get your game to the next level, click here to get Mind Links now!

Author of “Performing Your Best, Links Golf, Mind Pump: The Psychology of Body Building, business and sales training audios, over 280 articles for magazines and now………Mind Links – The Psychology of Golf.

==========================================================

Copyright © 2006 Tom Kubistant
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