Are You Developing Your Mental Game

By David BreslowAugust 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
CONSIDER THIS: Golfers of all levels were polled with the following results:
  • 95% agree, the mental game is very important

  • 12% formally develop this part of their game

  • 70% said they underperform too often

  • The mental game consists of far more than just your mind.

  • There are very precise and predictable laws and principles governing how you perform on the course.

  • You are under the influence of these principles 100% of the time.

Do you believe your mental game is an important part of your performance? Do you take the time to truly develop your mental skills? Players who take the time to develop them tend to see real results. Those who make slight attempts usually do not and there is a difference between developing them and working on them. When John, a 14 handicap was struggling, he came to me to work on his mental game. I asked him if hed developed his mental skills in the past. Sure, he replied, Ive read books and studied it and I know a good deal about it How long have you been developing your mental skills? I asked. Oh, Ive been working on it for over five years now, he replied somewhat proudly. Then, I asked, have you been developing your mental skills over a five year period or have you been working on them at different times over the five years? He thought for a moment and admitted, I guess Ive been working on them at different times over the five years, starting and stopping and starting again. As a result of this approach; John continued to struggle with many of the same performance issues over that time period.
Developing mental skills means growing and improving steadily over time. With consistent development early on in the process you can hone the key baseline skills you need and build them as you play.
Do you develop your mental skills consistently over time or do you work on them from time to time?
This is not just a challenge for athletes. Individuals in the corporate world share the same performance frustrations. Organizations realize these performance skills are important for people to succeed on the job yet rarely develop them as part of an ongoing process to improve performance.
At each presentation I ask participants why they dont formally develop this part of their game. Here are the three most common reasons:
1. I already know what to dojust playing should be enough
2. The information and language is vague and confusing
3. Dont know where to begin
Lets face itthe idea of sitting in a room and listening to a lecture on the mind can be a bit boring. Most of us would rather be out hitting balls wouldnt we? Some players are armed with a lot of information about the mental game yet continue to struggle with similar issues time after time. When developing these skills you turn knowing into doing!
Much of the same information IS used over and over again in books, tapes and lectures. The FlowZone approach is unique in that it focuses on the practical root cause mind/body/performance principles that trigger you to perform at a higher level. The insights, principles and techniques translate into usable action. No vague concepts or confusing language.

When a player doesnt know where to begin, it makes it difficult to get started. What do they work on first? How do they monitor and track what they are doing and how do they bypass their own conditioned ways of seeing, perceiving and reacting?
So, what do players do? They read articles and books and look for the tip that will help them break free and play their best. Tips are great but they tend not to be root cause solutions to performance issues. We know this from experience dont we? How long has a tip youve used lastedone day, one round, a few days or a week or two? When I ask players how long tips last for them they say on average that it lasts about two weeks at the most. After that, it seems to give way to old patterns. Have you ever had that experience?
This is the reason why making consistent efforts to develop your mental skills is so valuable. I believe tips dont last because we are always going up against our old conditioning. Our conditioning is nothing more than our habitual ways of thinking, seeing, perceiving, reacting and doing things. When our old conditioning is triggered, it has more force and more emotional connection attached to it than the new tip does. Because of this, the old conditioning wins out more times than not. When this happens the new tip seems to go away leaving players frustrated.
Consistently developing your mental skills is an important element of your game so keep on developing it over time.
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    Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program for sports and business. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Also, review the new series of Performance Training Manuals available online! Contact: David Breslow at 847.681.1698 Email: or visit the web: For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

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    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

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    Man of the people

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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.