Did my email anger you?
Did you feel threatened?
Did that bring up some old feelings?
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”
“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,
In case you missed part 1, you can go read it here: improve your golf game – part 1
Now to continue on with the story…
My first drive is perfect. I can’t ask for more. What do I do? Instantly after watching my ball land right where I want it to and as I walk towards it, I am reminding myself of what made that happen, namely, my plan I told you about in part 1.
I followed my plan to the letter. I did exactly what I said I would. I got the result I wanted. I felt totally empowered. I told myself that I got it now. I replayed that shot over and over in mind as I walked to the ball. I talked to my unconscious mind and thanking it for pulling the “280 yard straight shot” file from the filing cabinet in my mind. I told it that I wanted that again and again…all day. I went over an over in mind what went right. I filled my thoughts with “this is how I play” and “this is how I drive the ball.” Etc.
And…I’m smiling all the way as I keep walking to the ball.
I get up to my second shot and it’s about 70 yards to the pin. Great, no problem. I know what to do here as well. I know that my sand wedge will go 70 yards at about a 3/4 backswing. I figure that out a couple years ago when I took a bucket of balls down to the schoolyard while the kids were out and I placed a rag at 30, 50, and 70 yards out and then hit while only observing how far back I take my backswing. You really only have to do this once and it pays off for years.
Now, the problem for me wasn’t my distance on approach shots. The problem was hitting the darn thing straight. Standing over the ball, I re-committed my entire mind and energy to what I had been working the last 2 days…square and point.
I took a look at the pin and used that target to draw an imaginary line to my ball. I squared my body up to that target line. I went through my preshot routine like religious monk in prayer. I NEVER LOOKED AT THE TARGET AGAIN. I didn’t have to!
Yes, I know, this goes contrary to popular golf advice for score improvement. Everyone says to be “target oriented” and so do I. But, you see, at my level of play and for 90% or more of all recreational golfers JUST PICKING A TARGET AND FOCUSING ON IT ISN’T ENOUGH. We need to have an intermediate, simple instruction between the target and our swing that bridges that gap.
That “bridge” is the 12-18 inches of imaginary target line from the ball to the target.The simple instruction I give to my unconscious mind is to “square the club face at the point of impact and point it (or “follow it” if you like that better) down the target line”
I hit to about 10 yards from the pin, I lip out my putt and tap in for an easy par.
My son, on the other hand, is in big trouble having hit his shot into the lateral hazard. He pulls out a bogey and I can see the sweat starting to bead on his forehead as says “nice hole Dad” to me…and we go to the next hole.
I end up following my plan to near perfection. I end up the day with NO DOUBLE bogeys and 1 birdie. I shoot a 79 playing strictly by the rules of golf and I win the bet. I’m very excited! I’ve got my game back!!! Woohoo!!!
My son owes me 12 hours of labor. What do you think I should have him do for me? 🙂
Car washes? Clean my clubs? Clean my house and toilets!, Yes, that’s it…hahaa.
I don’t rub any of it in with him. At the end of the round, I’m a good sport and I put my arm around him and remind him of some great shots he made.
We go out to beer and pizza afterward and have a good laugh about the round and the funny things we said and did that day. We love golf. We love the camaraderie that goes with the game. We love the competition whether it’s with someone else or with just ourselves to beat our personal best. We love the outdoors and we love the game itself.
I go to bed that night in total gratitude…
The next day, in the car on the ride home, I ask my son what his plan was for fixing what went wrong with his game. He gave me the typical teenager “I don’t know” answer.
We had a long talk and I helped him devise it. He says he is committed to the plan…we’ll see
We’re playing tomorrow.
I’ll let you know.
Greens and fairways,
p.s. This just came in from one of my golfselfhypnosis.com members:
“Thank you so much. I’ve really been helped with my golf game. Having
been a therapist for several years before I retired and got to play
more golf, I’ve seen what hypnosis can do. I usually shoot in the low
100s, but after listening to that one time I shot a 92. I’ll be sure
to keep it going. I hope any of the older women will go with it. I’m 68 and
it’s great to play better!
Katharine Abbott, Ph.D., Provo UT
I just got back from my annual golf vacation trip to the Running Y in South Central Oregon. It’s a beautiful Arnold Palmer course along Klamath Lake. It winds in and around some amazing scenery and you usually get to see wildlife like snakes, eagles, squirrels, marmots, deer and I once saw a bobcat there.
Anyway, the first round out, I played horribly. I put a couple dollar bet on the score with my 17 y/o son who lives for the days when he can beat me at golf. He’s well on his way and ended up winning by a stroke as I carded an 88. Ugggh. I was not happy with my game at all. Usually on vacation, I play my best because, well frankly, I’m in a great mood as vacations tend to do that!
After that game, I examined myself to find out why I played so poorly. By the way, the time to do that is after the round. During the round, you just want to focus on your successes and forgetting your misses. In that review of each hole, it was obvious to me that I just wasn’t hitting my approach shots which is one of my strengths!
As I teach my son and you, I then went about designing a plan to fix that before the next round and that plan revolved around “square and point.” (If you missed that video, here it is: straight golf shots)
I thought, “Great, I know the problem, I have the solution, I know what to do” and vowed to put some attention on it during my warmup before my next round.
So the next round comes up a couple days later and I go to the range to warm up. I go through my usual routine of pretending to play the course while on the range. During my “pretend” approach shots, I’m thinking and practicing “square and point” and my shots seem a lot better than before.
I go out on the course and shoot an 86. Ugggh!
Please understand that I don’t mean to insult you if that’s a great score for you. Everyone has their standard and mine, of course, is to break 80.
“What’s going on here” I again reflect and ask myself after the round. I was making putts and chipping reasonably well but my drives were bad and that undermined my confidence for my approach shots. Net effect on score: NO GAIN.
We had a 3rd round planned in a couple days. I vowed to fix these problems and finish the week with a great score.
With my driving, it was simple. I found myself trying to be too tricky in “working” the ball. I was trying to turn it over to get that extra 10 yards so as to make sure I out drive my son. I was trying to be Mr. Pro Golfer by hitting the low screaming drives against the wind and making it fly high with the wind…all fun things to do, but if you aren’t good enough to be consistent with that (I’m obviously not) then that is a BAD plan.
I let go of that and made a solid commitment to hit my regular consistent straight shot… every time, no matter what the hole or how long it is. Follow my preshot routine, pick my target, align my body along it, and just do “square and point.”
I spend the next 2 days thinking “square and point” with every free moment. I listen over and over to my golf hypnosis recording for accuracy. Before the round and warming up, I leave my woods in the bag and completely dedicate my warmups to “s and p.” I turn myself into a robot before I ever get to the first tee. I allow myself to have fun and joke and mess with my brothers and my son between shots but as soon as the preshot routine begins, I am Ben Hogan jr. with my icy focus on S & P.
Look over what I’ve written here as there are powerful messages on how to really improve your golf.
1. Review your game after every round.
2. Come up with a plan to fix what went wrong. In doing that, know that if you’ve hit good shots before or putted well before, then you have the answers within you. Ask for help if you need it.
3. Completely commit to the plan. Believe in yourself and the plan. Go all out to execute it.
What do most golfers do instead? The same thing they always do. They go to the range, do the same routine they’ve always done, and then they just HOPE that the golf gods will smile on them and give them a good score the next time. Not me, there is no HOPE in my vocabulary. There’s INTENTION and COMMITMENT.
My son makes a bet with me for straight up scratch scores. If he wins, I have to buy him a new pair of Nike Golf shoes. If I win, I get 12 hours of free labor from him for whatever I want.
The round begins and I rip my drive 280 right down the middle….
…tell you the rest in my next post.