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.
Related Links:
  • David Breslow Article Archive
    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
  • Getty Images

    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

    Getty Images

    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

    Getty Images

    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

    Getty Images

    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.