The Real Cause of The Golf Yips – Putting, Chipping, Full Swing

I read with empathy and fascination golfers descriptions and struggles with the yips. Everyone knows what it is but nobody seems to know the definitive way to get rid of the problem.

In trying to solve a problem, especially when you are working with the human body, wouldn’t it be most efficient to find the cause first? Unfortunately, much of Western Medicine and golf instruction ignores this and treats the symptom.

In my opinion, this is what folks trying to fix the yips do as well. Most instructors will give you some kind of workaround for your swing or putting stroke.  This is like giving aspirin to a person with a brain tumor.

Yes, you need band-aids and aspirin as part of any first aid kit but they aren’t going to cure cancer now are they?

I have heard many stories of golfers getting one of these work-arounds for, say, putting, and then the yips moves over to becoming chipping or full swing yips!

And we all know about the famous failed workarounds of Hank Haney trying to help Charles Barkley with the full swing yips on his TV show.

Most Get It Wrong

Even the famous Mayo clinic did a study on it and concluded that it’s caused by “focal dystonia” from overuse of certain muscles. Yeah, right.  This makes no sense…

If that is so, how is it that golfers get the putting yips ONLY when they are facing crucial putts in competitive situations and NOT on the practice green?  How is it that an older golfer gets the putting yips but not the full swing or chipping yips when they have had FAR more full swings in their lifetime which are far more physical than the act of putting? How is putting the “overuse” and not the swing?

Secondly, go look up “focal dystonia” and most information says there is no cause.  This is what science likes to say when they don’t have answers because of sheer arrogance, in my opinion.

I believe there is a cause for every effect! Just because we can’t see or know the cause doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Sometimes, an educated guess that is BELIEVABLE is all you need to be able resolve the problem.  That’s what I present to you here because ultimately, the mind and body are one and the same and, even if my theory about the cause is totally false, BELIEF in it is what contributes greatly to solving this problem anyway!

If you suffer with the putting yips, all you care about is getting out of it, right? Who cares if the “science” supports how you got out of it, just get out of it!

I call this my “Plausible Cause and Effect” principle.

Where am I going with all of this?

Many sports psychologists have rightly come to the conclusion that the yips come from an accumulation of perceived mental, emotional, and mechanical errors in golf. I would add to that all the “errors” in life as well.

In short, your unconscious mind has accumulated or repressed unresolved “negative emotions” and the reasons for them in your memory. Many get attached to the act of putting or swinging to such an extent that it has now created a response that is similar to many irrational fears and phobias.

Why does your unconscious mind create the yips?

It’s simply to protect you.

Remember, the number one job of the unconscious mind (ucm) is to keep you alive. It doesn’t care about your golf game or your putting. Everyone is different but in those folks who get the yips, their ucm is running a program to stop them from putting because:

  1.  It believes it is dangerous to their health
  2. AND/OR, the yips are a message the unconscious is sending you that you now can deal with all that old stuff since you are now out of danger (this is why it hits so many older retired golfers.)

Your unconscious mind has the dual, opposing functions of repression and bringing up for resolution. It keeps unresolved traumas repressed so that you can go about your life doing what you need to do and then when your life settles down, it brings them up for final resolution.

Golf putting is dangerous? How is that possible?
Because the negative emotions surrounding putting are causing internal stress to you. Stress is a killer. Your ucm knows that and is trying to get you to stop playing golf because it’s made you a wreck of built up emotion that leads to physical illness.

This stuff goes deep and nothing about your surface thinking or actions is likely to solve it. You can’t practice your way out of the yips.

The real solution to fixing this is in:

  • Clearing all the negativity stored in the cellular intelligence of your body (The inner mind or unconscious mind) from your past experiences with putting, especially the fingers, hands, arms, etc.
  • Creating rapport with and teaching the ucm that putting is not only safe, but that it is beneficial to your health to golf and putt so that it will release the behavior. De-link golf from your personal stuff in the process.
  • Reconditioning a new response mechanism (undoing the “habit” of yipping)

The most important point for you to go with here is THE BELIEF that you can fix this problem. After all, you created it and so you can also un-create it. Nobody did it to you. It’s not a disease. There’s no virus. It’s not overuse as I said above.  It didn’t happen in a vacuum.

I personally have seen mental/emotional patterns from numerous golfers that have given me this theory that we use to clear all forms of the yips – putting, chipping, and full swing. My theory here has come from studying the work of Dr. John Sarno, in particular, his book: “The Divided Mind. The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders. ”

Bottom line?

This is caused by primarily mental/emotional issues and have everything you need inside for physical, emotional and mental health to undo it.

Powerful release intervention work through this inner mind connection is THE quickest and most effective way to get back to enjoying your game and your time on the greens. This requires your full attention, focus and INTENTION if you really want the results fast. The yips didn’t happen to you overnight and so they won’t go away overnight either but you absolutely can get there in a few weeks or maybe a bit longer. You may find some additional personal benefits outside of golf from working your way through this.

Do not attempt to putt during the first two weeks of this process unless the yipping is very slight or you don’t do it that much in the first place. Don’t expect a miracle during these first 2 weeks but it is possible.

I have created a 3-part guided visualization process that is obviously not personalized that has done wonders for many golfers. The next step after that would be to work with someone One on One who understands release processes and the connection to the yips so that you can go deeper through your specific and unique issues.

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

Tip: Straighten out your putting stroke from home on the carpet

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #42  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice is another simple thing that you can do in the comfort of your own home, to dramatically improve your putting stroke!

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

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42.      Make more of those 4-foot putts

Woman PuttingAmateur golfers get so wrapped up in tweaking their putting mechanics so that they hit the ball along their target line, and rightfully so.

The problem, however, is that they forget that a big reason for missed putts is not just the aim and follow through.  Having a ball that rolls true, or, end over end without any sidespin is just as important.

This is so easy to permanently fix and you can and should do this at home on your living room carpet.

Get one of those $3 plastic templates that snaps over the ball and helps you to put a perfect line around the ball.Golf Ball Liner

 

There are battery-operated devices that actually will find the natural balance point of every individual ball for this line.

Putt with ONLY the INTENTION of getting the ball to roll perfectly without wobble.

DO NOT putt to a target. The line you drew on the ball will give you the exact feedback you need to monitor your efforts as you watch it roll across the floor.

As I mentioned in the forward of this book, the point here is to isolate out and train one thing at a time and then move on to the next tip.

When you are able to make the ball roll true, stop and go over what you did right for a minute.  When you putt and the line wobbles, forget that you ever hit that putt and start fresh.

Putting on carpet tipContinue to reinforce to your mind what you do correctly and that you want more of those putts.

That night as you go to sleep, you will be replaying those visions of golf balls rolling pure from a precision stroke.

If you did just this trick for a few times a week with INTENTION as described here, you will cut your 4-10 foot misses by a third.

The best golf advice I ever received

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #18  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about breaking free from the slavery of all the tips out there.  Haha, yep, I am going to actually rip on myself with this tip and tell you to enjoy the irony. Golfers who want to improve are generally a very open-minded, coachable group.  You want to improve, you want to experience the joy of lowering your score and the feelings of accomplishment you get from applying yourself to a a goal.  Yeah, me too! The problem comes in when you start to realize that golf instructors contradict each other regularly!  Who are you supposed to listen to?  I’ve got great news for all golfers…what is good for a touring pro may not be good for you.  What is good for a beginner, may hurt your game.  What one instructor teaches and professes to get great results with for his students….could actually be the worst thing you can do for your game!  There is no one way to golf. There is no one way to think about golf. There is no one set of clubs that are best for all, or even most golfers.  You need to be your own coach and trust your instincts.  

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice?  Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/

18.   View all golf advice with skepticism

best golf advice

Not all golf advice is good for you!

Listen, golf instruction is sort of like religion. Everyone thinks their way is the best way and that they have figured out how all golfers should swing, putt, chip, etc.

The best instructors are the ones that have many tools and techniques in their bag and they have enough experience to sense what is most appropriate for a particular individual, and then tailor it to him or her.

You play a unique game, have a unique swing, have your own body style and ways of thinking and moving.

What makes you think a cookie-cutter system is going to work for you just because it worked for someone else?

“You can borrow, and you can steal, but don’t copy- that’s my tip for today. Take a little from here, a little from there, a little from everywhere. Then make it all your own. Fiddle with things until you get something that works for you. It has to be a natural movement for you or it won’t hold up when it counts.” – John Daly from Golf My Own Damn Way

best golf adviceI like John’s advice.  I haven’t taken a lesson in 17 years as of this writing and have been studying golf the whole time.

I stay away from most swing instruction AND I recognize that there is some great stuff out there to help you and so I will recommend it.

But you have to be the one to decide if it fits you.

I give you full permission to fully ignore, scoff at, or reject any golf instruction you run across (including mine here) and go with whatever strikes you that it will work for you.

Start to discriminate a lot more about what you will incorporate into your game and you will save strokes and frustration.

Swing tip to stop slicing off the tee

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #38  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about a simple way to fix your slice swing OR, to put more draw on your normal shot with one move and without changing anything else about your swing.  

That’s the key, don’t do anything else but what I describe below in the tip in the book and in the video I did more recently where I have more details on this tip and a video here

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice?  Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/

38.  Emergency fix for slicing golf

Slice setup golf swingI used to be a regular slicer or power fader.  Once I learned how to draw (hook), my game actually got worse.

I later dialed in tight to that sweet place smack dab in the middle of both extremes using mental techniques.

I am now going to tell you how I cured my slice forever, in a 5-minutes lesson from a pro.

I have since passed this tip in the middle of many rounds to golfers who have asked for it with instant, very dramatic results.

Many slicers have no concept about the direction their shoulders are pointing. Hold a club against the fronts of the shoulders at address and look to see where the club is now pointing. 98% of slicers will have the club pointing left (for right handers) of the target.

Grab their shoulders from behind and point that club to the right of the Shoulder Turn To hit drawtarget and tell them to swing without changing that position of the shoulders.

Some will open their shoulders up again on the swing and you have to give them feedback on that by watching.  You can do this for yourself using video or a mirror at home.

Most instructors teach something about “rolling or rotating the wrists over” but that is a forced move and assumes a lot of things that just aren’t there for a long time slicer.

Once you hold the shoulders in a closed position, everything else falls into place.  Slicers might want to exaggerate keeping everything constant and not swinging their regular swing at first.

Instead, find the “feeling of keeping the shoulders in a closed position a lot longer than a normal shot.”

How to reduce tension in the golf swing

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #19  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about overcoming all of the nervousness, tension and tightness golfers face on the course that destroys their swing and putting stroke. Simply put, it comes from fear.  Fear of missing to be precise. Sometimes it’s a strong feeling and you can literally shake or tremble but most of the time, it’s very subtle and IS THE CAUSE of not being able to bring your relaxed practice swing to a round that matters.

Typical sport psychology mental game advice to deal with that is the golfer is told to “play in the present moment.”  This is good advice, however, most golfers have no idea HOW to play in the present…and the tension and tightness continues no matter how many times you tell yourself to “play in the present.”  

No, you need stronger medicine. You need a quick thought that can trigger a different emotion to get you out of the emotion of FEAR that is causing the tension.  This mental shift tactic has the potential to do that for you.  You’re welcome!

Greens and fairways,  

Craig

 

19.  Instant cure for the fear of missing

golf putting tricks…You’re on your home course at the 12th hole with that out-of-bounds fence line on the right.

…You long ago lost track of how many balls have sailed over that fence and cost you a balloon score.

…Every time you get up on the tee box for this hole you find that you get a pit in your stomach feeling or a twinge in your arms that works it’s way to freezing up your muscles.

…You make it worse by allowing the thought that “I hate this hole” or “I’m not going to hit this one out of bounds.”

…You might even voice it out loud as if you are telling God or The Universe that that is exactly what you want to have happen…    

Sam Snead used to say that he was more afraid of a 4-foot putt than a charging elephant on his hunting safaris.

Fear sets in and you feel it.

golf putting tricksBoy do you feel it, and you know what usually happens next- right?

I’ve got the shortcut for how to deal with fear when you haven’t learned my emotional mastery process.

The antidote to fear is CURIOSITY and it is now and forever your best friend on the golf course.

Any time you feel any sort of overblown fear going into some unknown situation (like “will I make this putt or not”), you want to tell yourself in the most playful, cheery tone you can muster: “I wonder what this will be like?”

You see, if you go into things for the main reason of satisfying your CURIOSITY, then you will always be successful at that and you will have no fear.

Changing your outcome and then knowing it will happen can rearrange your emotional chemistry in seconds.

How To Make Practicing Your Game Fun and At Home

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #39  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about breaking out of the box that says that golf is only for a full-sized course in a pristine country club setting where we have to dress up and observe all the traditions.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for that and I enjoy that just as much.  However, let’s face it…we all play golf, ultimately, because it’s fun and enjoyable.  So, why don’t we give ourselves the opportunity to expand those possibilities with this awesome game?  I say we can.  

AND, we can also have fun while working on improving our game…to boot!  

After re-reading what I wrote in the book below, I found this guy who created a website to help you have fun and PLAY GOLF EVERYWHERE!  I hope you do it.  

http://golfeverywhere.com/

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

39.      Improving your short game is fun

Ok, let’s face it…the problem with practicing is that it’s not fun. If it were as fun as the game, then we would MAKE time to do it all the time. That’s the secret here!

One day in my teens, I’m home from school with an illness. I hear dogs barking in the neighborhood and look outside.  I see 2 guys chipping from lawn to lawn of the houses on our street. I go out to talk to them and they are having a blast playing what they call “street golf.” They are bouncing the ball off the street and everything else and they weren’t drinking!

Since then, I’ve found a whole society called Guerilla Golfers.

Not long after that, I go to a golfing buddy’s house to watch a sporting event and show up an hour early.

We started with our sand wedge and then injected difficulty into the game with having to chip with our hybrids and then onto other clubs where the starting lie dictated it.

The next day, I killed it on the course!

The thing about this is that we always put something at stake and THAT made it fun.

I used to play a putting game with my young son that had golf balls colored and numbered like billiards balls and you putted then into the holes just like a pool table.

Family time and great putting time all at once!

Are you getting the picture?

Get creative and find ways to make working on your game fun and then it’s not practice!

How to play a golf practice round for maximum game improvement

Tip #31  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceis about taking a typical thing that golfers do to help improve their game, hit 2 or more balls in a practice round,  and supercharging it using the power of the mind.  

Every golfer knows the difference between how they feel approaching a shot in a practice round vs. how they feel in a competitive round.  If I had a dollar for every golfer who plays amazing in practice but can’t bring it to the course, I’d be rich. Overcoming this is one of the holy grails of golf, right?  

A typical tip given for this is to inject pressure into your practice and that helps… but what if you could inject your calm practice round swing/putting stroke into your competitive swing/stroke?  This would train your unconscious mind, through repetition, to come to some kind of mix of a pressured swing and a practice swing that would show up whether you are in practice or competition, just the same!  Hmmmm….Check it out:

 

31. Double your green fee golf value

Purposely schedule yourself a round when you know the course is uncrowded.

You want to do this in order to allow yourself to play 2 balls on the course.  But instead of the typical golfer who does this with a lackadaisical attitude and carefree swing, you want to do it with purpose and INTENTION.

What you want to do is play your first ball with the same intensity and pressure that you might have when playing the final round of the club championship.

I recommend putting a bet on it with a buddy and play strictly to the rules.

Do everything you can to put pressure on yourself with this ball.

With your second ball, you want to drop it in places where you need the most work such as in the rough, under a tree, behind an obstruction, with a bad lie, etc.

You will be alternating shots without fail.

 Notice how you take yourself from pressure to relaxed…pressure to relaxed….pressure to relaxed.  At some point, you will realize things about yourself that will give you the belief that you are in control of your state.

This is the magic for you!

And, you will be giving yourself a fabulous opportunity to work on the shots that you never work on while blurring the mental lines between pressure and relaxed.

If you go out and do this exercise with a blank mind, you won’t get much out of it.

This is what most golfers do when I see them playing 2 balls.

If you follow my advice, you will be improving your game WHILE still enjoying the challenge of shooting for a good score.

How To Clear Mistakes And Get Over Bad Shots

Tip #6  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceis about continuing to learn how to golf with your unconscious (subconscious) mind and fully utilize it’s power. It controls your body, right? Last time I checked, you golf with your body.  My foundational formula that I build everything off for performing in anything is:  

Performance = Potential – Interference.

When you make mistakes and choke on shots, you literally create like a tiny “injury” to your psyche and it is literally “stored” in the wiring of the nervous system – your unconscious mind. This is some of what we are calling “Interference.”    These things build up just like a volcano. The tip below may seem a little “out there” I know, but trust me, it works, even if you don’t believe it will work. But if you BELIEVE it will work to improve your performance, well then, it works even faster and more efficiently.   So, what would you like, faster or slower results from using the tips below?  It’s your choice.    Whatever you do, you must eliminate the interference.  

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

 

6.      Clear your past misses and chokes, unleash your potential!

clear mistakesYou see, your body stores these misses in it’s cellular memory. The emotion you felt from those misses encodes the thoughts you have about the chokes literally right into your tissues.

Over time, these build up and your nervous system automatically re-runs the disappointment, anger, frustration and pain that you felt over the years every time you now have a putter in your hand facing a must-make putt.

Eventually, for some of us, this can turn into “The Yips” where the golfer literally shakes or jabs during the putt or shot. Here’s how to unleash your potential by clearing your failures:   Start with a few moments of FOCUS and conscious breathing as described earlier.

Then spend a few moments or minutes quickly rehashing your mistakes in your mind. Bring them all up and then imagine throwing them into a trash can, sending them out into space or, you can actually write them down on paper and burn the paper.

You can also write them on a chalkboard of your mind and then erase the chalkboard to start the next round fresh and clean just like a school teacher at the end of the day of class.how to get over a bad shot in golf

You can and should do this for individual misses and mistakes while on the course.  It takes 5-10 seconds and you can do it in between shots.

Objectifying or personifying the mistake activates and engages the unconscious mind to physically release the stuck negative energy and you can enjoy that lighter feeling and freer movement.

A Course Management Strategy Tip You’ve Never Heard Before

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #23  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about reconfiguring your brain out of that small thinking box that says “I have to hit it as far as I can every shot.”  

If you play this game with any regularity, you have doubtless had many rounds where a blow up hole ruined your score and it started by hitting the ball out of bounds or out of play off the tee.

Well, what if you could start a round virtually guaranteeing yourself that you would finish the round with nothing out of bounds and everything in play from your 2nd tee shot?

Let that sink in for a moment before you go on to the actual tip and then think about rounds you can remember where JUST ONE tee shot (or probably more) was the thing that killed your score. If you’re like me, this has happened too many times to count and the REAL cause of it is NOT because you had a bad swing that shot off tee.

The real cause is you haven’t mentally bought into the concept of playing conservative golf when it’s appropriate. You have an automatic habit to just bring out the driver, or whatever is the longest club you can hit, and mindlessly swing away without thinking.

Time to turn that around with this tee game strategy you can program your mind to. 

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice?  Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/

 

23. The second most powerful advice

Once a season, go out to a full-sized course and play a round with nothing longer than your longest iron.

Now, this advice is primarily for golfers who hit the ball 200 yards or more with their driver and won’t be as powerful for shorter hitters.  In fact, us longer hitters are going to emulate shorter hitters with this strategy in order to train ourselves in real playing conditions to expand our options and adaptability.

Because you are doing this on the course while still having the intention to score lower, you will learn at the cellular level the following:

  1. The value of keeping the ball in play and playing conservatively.  It’s so easy to always break out the driver off the tee and go for it but many times, it’s much smarter strategy-wise to play the odds and keep it in play. Our ego tends to get in the way of this and you will now come away with a new appreciation for strategy.   Living this lesson is 100 times more powerful than just the head knowledge.
  2. Learn to trust and even rely on your short game to get you up and down.  You get a mental shift in attitude about your wedges because you are going to have more short approaches in  his round. You will be “practicing” your up and downs with a different mindset that expands your confidence.
  3. You will use your long irons a lot more than you ever have and make huge gains in this area from the play/practice you do. The first time I did this I scored the same as I always do on that course and I was shocked. My first sub-par round came a month after.

Get ready, get set, go low…

What You Can Use In Your Game From Watching The Pros

52 Ways To Lower Your golf score without practiceTip #40  from my book, “Break 80! 52 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score Without Practice” is about using what is USEFUL from watching the pros. We all know that we play a different game than the pros and shouldn’t be concerned with things like backing the ball up on an approach shot when we have multiple double and triple bogeys to let go of – first and foremost!

However, what most golfers DON’T know is that sometimes, their scoring problem on a particular hole or shot comes down to simply not taking every shot seriously and focusing on everything you need to do to make a successful shot or putt…

Especially, the pre-shot routine. Pros NEVER make that mistake. After your next round, ask yourself how many times you casually went up to a shot or putt, and it cost you? Golfers are famous for forgetting that but very good at thinking they missed the shot because of some mechanical problem. Often, that’s not it.  Start becoming aware and make some easy fixes to lowering your scores…

Below is a quick tip from the book along these lines. Use it! 

Greens and Fairways,

Craig

p.s. Want all 52 Ways To Lower Your Score Without Practice?  Sign up for these emails. https://break80golf.com/

40. What you can copy and learn from the pros

 

Bernhard langer focusI recently attended the Senior U.S. Open Championship and watch some of the greats up close.  I was particularly looking for things that pros do that amateurs typically don’t, but could do.

The leader at the time and eventual winner, Bernhard Langer, really showed me how he sends the message to his unconscious mind as to where he wants the ball to go to.

From when he started his pre-shot routine through to the ball coming to a stop, he had the most powerful, steely-eyed stare at his target.

I intently watched his eyes the whole time and he only took them off the target for a short time when he had to to set up and then during the swing.

It was the most amazing thing to watch as I have never seen such a powerful intention on another golfer’s face as his.

golf putting set upIt was like there was nothing else but the target and the ball out there. No crowd, no noise from the other fairway, just him and the target. It was sort of like watching a kid play a video game.

Someone could have called his name and I’m sure he wouldn’t have heard it he was so focused on his target.

The other major noticeable difference between average players and pros is that they spend much more time and effort in reading a green.

They walk around and get different angles, they bend down and feel the grass with their hands, and they look so much more purposeful than amateurs.

You can do much of this while waiting your turn to putt so time is no excuse.

The only difference between a pro and you doing this and reaping the rewards…is effort.

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