Aim & Alignment Series
The Golfers Mind
Achieve Your Potential in Golf.
5 Must Have Skills for Playing Great Golf.
Belief, Attitude, Wedge Play, Putting & Mental Game of Golf.
In this miniseries we look at the five must have skills if you want to play golf to your potential. In this first article we discuss belief. Belief is the foundation stone on which your achievement is build. As Henry Ford said; "If you think you can do a thing or you think you can't, you're right." Belief is the starting point for achievement or mediocrity depending what you want.
Your golfing potential is going to be determined primarily by 5 things, Belief, Attitude, Wedge Play, Putting and Mental Game of Golf. If you can do these well then you can probably achieve a far higher standard of golf than you currently believe you are capable of. Unfortunately if you are a golfer who believes that hitting it far and having lots of muscle and machismo is golf, then you really won't perform anywhere near your potential. In this first article in the miniseries we discuss Belief.
You must have the self belief that you can achieve your desired goal in golf. At
a deeper level, your self-
The easiest example I use for this is a 5 handicap golfer who would like to be scratch
but deep down inside has a self image and the beliefs of a 5 handicap golfer. They
will remain stuck on 5 until their self image changes so they believe they are a
scratch golfer. All that you have ever achieved in life and all that you will ever
achieve and have is governed by your self-
You can develop your self-
If you are looking for a Self-
Please don't take your beliefs and self-
6 May 1954 -
What was once impossible becomes possible but only when you believe it is so. Here's the neat part. Even if you don't think you can but you would love to, then all you have to do is change your inner beliefs, regardless of what your analysing brain says is not possible, and when your inner mind accepts your new belief, you will achieve it. You can change your inner belief even if your conscious mind is not convinced but using belief change strategies which you can learn and as soon as your inner belief changes you will feel a wonderful sense of knowing you can achieve your goal. This has been proven over and over again.
Never be afraid of chasing your dreams by day as this is both noble and worthy of your life. Be very afraid of anyone who says you can't achieve a thing and to stop dreaming. Before taking advice from anyone look at who they are and what they have got. If you want the same as them then follow their advice. If you have a dream then find a person who is living that dream and ask them for advice.
You must have a Self-
"Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work." – Jack Nicklaus.
And that quote by Jack Nicklaus is true of anything; you must take action and work. You must have an attitude that you not only will achieve you goal but that every day you will take at least one step toward that goal, no matter how small each step is. The harder you work the more results you get and as you begin getting results your confidence and attitude increase so you work harder. It's a great cycle of self motivation once you get it going but you need to start it off by taking action.
You have probably heard the quote from Gary Player. "The more I practice the luckier I get!" This statement is interesting and certainly not confined to golf. I love watching the faces of successful people when someone says to them, "You're so lucky!" What these people don't understand is the amount of work that has gone into becoming successful. Luck had nothing to do with it. You will create your own luck good and bad, you will attract it to you by your work ethic, attitudes and beliefs.
Wealthy people work really hard. Business owners work 7 days a week and 14 to 16 hour days. Later when the business is doing well they can afford to employ more people, delegate workloads and maybe cut their 7 day week down a day or so, their hours down to 10 or 12. It can take years of seriously hard work, sweat and in many cases very stressful conditions before they "Get So Lucky"!
Is it just a coincidence that the most successful people in any endeavour are consistently the hardest workers? Let's talk golf specifically now and say that the more of a work attitude you develop and the more time you put into your game, the luckier you are going to get around the golf course. Your friends are going to be jealous at how lucky you are to be good at golf and have the time to practice.
For every person who tells me they don't have time to practice I can show you another who works harder, is committed to their family but still finds the time to practice and fulfil the desire. If you are using time as an excuse, then you don't want the improvement badly enough. You see there are ways of practicing ALL ASPECTS of golf highly effectively, with very little time. Even the busiest executives can find the time to improve is their desire is great enough. Even the physical game aspects like putting and wedges can be very effectively improved with as little as 1 hour of physical practice a week when it is combined with the right mental imagery programming.
If you have the right attitude, you can find the techniques and training methods to fit in with any schedule and take steady steps forward until you achieve your goals.
You must become an artist with your wedges. These are your scoring clubs and you must be proficient enough with them so that you can get your golf ball to distances from the hole where you can knock them in with your putter. Like Tiger Woods said, "Anyone can shoot low numbers if they can hit the ball close enough to the hole!" If you could hit your ball to 10 ft or less on average with any of your wedges and you were a good putter, how much better would you score? For the vast majority of golfers the answer would be "A whole lot better!" Golf is not about the long game.
You do not have to devote a lot of time to get really good with your wedge play, in fact a surprisingly small amount of actual physical practice in conjunction with a visualisation program as used by professionals) you can literally do anywhere anytime, even if you only have a couple f minutes, will reap huge rewards. You may be surprised to learn that if you spent just one hour a week hitting actual wedges from your longest wedge to the shortest, PW, GW, SW, LW, and use a professional visualisation program just 3 or four times a week, you will be good with your wedge play inside 6 months, great in a year and pretty soon after that Deadly accurate.
You need to be able to hit a full, three quarter and half shot with each wedge so if you technique is poor then consider talking to a professional who is good with their wedges and discuss a long term training program focused purely on your wedge play. You are looking to develop a solid technique but beware that you do not become buried and fixated on technique. Like I said you need a solid reliable technique that YOU can hit and fits YOUR style, you do not need to have a perfect technique.
Once you have a reliable technique the all you need do is practice hitting the different distances for as little as an hour per week. Back this up with your professional Mental Game Program and Visualisation as used by the Pro's on Tour and you will be amazed at how good you get, QUICKLY!
You will find that this new accuracy means your confidence all the way back to the tee improves massively and so all your shots improve. You are going to be hitting more greens and because you are not only on more greens but also closer to the hole, you will drain more putts too! As your pouts fall in more often, your scores plummet, your confidence will go through the roof and you can begin to experience playing the golf of your dreams. And all because of an hour a week, and a solid Mental Game Visualisation Program.
As a last note let's say you cannot even devote an hour to actual "physical" practice then consider this. It has been proven time and time again in the professional sports world that doing visualisation practice of a physical move on its own IS SUPERIOR to doing physical practice of the skill on its own. Let me make sure you get this because it is hugely important. If you just sit at home (or anywhere) and visualise yourself hitting great wedge shots you will improve faster than if you go to the range and actually hit shots, fact.
This now makes the excuse of "I don't have time to practice completely impotent because there is not a single person who cannot sit quietly and visualise themselves performing a task. You can even do this as part of your going to sleep routine and is in fact a fantastic time to visualise because your mind works on your desired move while you sleep.
The ultimate improvement program is 50% actual physical practice with 50% visualisation. An hour a week hitting wedges and visualise yourself hitting great wedge shots all the time, especially as you go to sleep at night.
How does it feel when you hit a great drive, right down the middle and nice and long? Then you get to your ball, feeling good and bursting with confidence you whip out an iron and stripe another great shot down the fairway, onto the green 15 ft from the hole. Now you are feeling really great! You get to the green, grab you putter out of you bag and wait patiently for your opposition to chip onto the green after missing their approach.
They chip it to 20 ft and then stroke a great putt into the hole for a superb up and down to save par. You then three putt from 15 ft and lose the hole! You walk away knowing you have wasted the superb drive and second shot. Now how do you feel? If you are like me then I simply cannot abide 3 putting. If there is one cardinal sin in golf it's leaving a putt short and then missing the next one, drives me crazy and luckily (actually practice not luck)it is a rare occasion.
An exception to this is if I have hit an approach into 3 putt territory then I am not bothered by the 3rd putt as much as poor course management. Naturally even faced with a very difficult first putt, you still need to have the attitude that you will hole the putt and must never be concerned about the next putt, just fully focused on the one you have.
Golf is won and lost around and on the greens and any player who has a good short game and is hot with a putter is going to be a match for anyone and win more often than most golfers. There are no excuses for putting either because no matter what you age or physical condition you can become a genius at putting. It just takes practice.
Becoming a great putter is not difficult as it only requires reasonable technique and it does not require physical strength to do. Anyone who argues that technique is ALL IMPORTANT is simply misguided. Watch Jack Nicklaus putt, perhaps still the greatest player of all time and then tell me he had great physical setup and technique.
You need to have a reliable setup and stroke, a putter that is build and bent to suit your unique setup and stroke and then from there ion it's all about your ability to hit it straight and control your distance, and that my friend, all comes from the mental game of putting! Show me a golfer with a strange posture, and setup but with a great Mental Process or Mental Game for Putting and I will show you a great putter! Show me a golfer with a great setup and stroke but a poor mind, no reliable mental process and weak mentally under pressure and I will show you someone who can't putt when the pressure is on.
It's not how you putt on the practice green or even on the 1st hole. It's about how you putt on the 18th when you need to hold a 10 footer to win and that my friend is all in your mind.
The golfing wastelands are filled with golfers who had good swing mechanics but did not own the mind to operate them with under pressure. The best swing in world will fall apart and lose matches when it is governed over by a poor mental game. Just look to the professional world and you will see potentially great golfers who can't play anywhere near their potential because they cannot control their thinking.
Your best golf is going to come from you head not your muscles. The mental game is not about learning one or two techniques for a few weeks and thinking you've cracked it. The Mind needs to be trained in detail and continuously just like anything in life if you stop doing it, you lose the edge.
I quite often have people say they tried a mental game tactic that they read about and it worked for a while but then stopped working. This is because they stopped working it. Like the golfer who has a lesson on swing mechanics and practices the move for a few weeks until it begins to show signs of working so they stop practicing. Then they wonder why they are back to their old ways a month or so later. The Mental Game is learning a "Way of Thinking" which must become part of you and that you are always strengthening it.
Your mind can be trained to do some amazing things for your game but unfortunately most other golfers will never truly appreciate just how big an influence their thinking can have on their physical game. Most people are really stuck in the physical world, never truly appreciating that all of their movement comes from and is controlled by their thinking. Get your mind right and your body will follow. Get your mind wrong and your body will follow that too.
Your mind, the way you think and your unconscious beliefs are going to be the difference between being mediocre or average or being a cut above, even spectacular compared to the great average. You will find that as you train your mind to think and behave in new and more productive ways, doors will begin opening for you that you did not think previously possible but remember that you need the attitude of action.
Probably the biggest favour you could ever do yourself is to start your improvement By The Mental Game of Golf Now as it will have a profound effect on not only your golf game but will definitely have wonderful benefits in the rest of your life too, and that's just a fact.