What is a Mental GameReally

By David BreslowMarch 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
As the weekly Mental Game Columnist for The Golf Channel and performance coach to amateurs and pros around the world, I know that most are familiar with the phrase, The Mental Game and when asked about it, they all believe its important.
The truth? Very few of them formally develop it.
The reason?
What they tell me most often is they are confused by the amount of information out there and as a result, dont know where to begin. In addition, they dont want to spend money being told to be confident and be more positive. These reasons make sense when you look at it. There is a lot of vague and repetitive information about the so called, mental game out there. Just about every article, every book and television program tells you the same thing, its important to be confident, have fun, not be so serious and be positive. All good advice, right? Well of course it is but as my clients tell me, Ive tried all that stuff already and it doesnt work!
What they really mean is that it doesnt LAST. Most of my clients report, the quick-fix tips, dont last that long. No wonder people are confused and dont know where to begin!
You see, those quick-fix tips arent wrong in fact they make a lot of sense the problem is; they are the outcomes everyone wants to experience but they are NOT THE WAY TO GET THERE. The important question is: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET THERE? I can tell you this hearing them or reading them is not the best way.
Ive got a much better idea. Why not discover that there are fundamental and unbiased and undeniable laws and principles that govern your outcomes. Thats right, just like your swing results are based on very undeniable and predictable laws that will affect your outcomes your game is governed by laws too!
Try this. If I asked you to rate how much of your game is mental, using a scale from 0 to 100% ... what would you say? I polled 250 golfers ranging from professional to amateur and heres what they said: their answers ranged from 10 to 90%
What if I suggested to you that the answer is really 100%?
I can hear the anguish now. What about mechanics and managing the course? Dont worry ' its covered.
In order to get faster and longer lasting changes and results, I dont follow the traditional model with its quick-fix tips, vague concepts or hard to untangle theories. After all, dont you already know that being positive and confident is better than being negative or lacking confidence? Of course you do. Why would I tell you what you already know? Its simple, the 'Mental Game' has 3 components to it and they are:
The Mind
The Body
The Emotions
And now the proof.
Heres why I say the answer is 100%. Every time you put your hands on the golf club ALL THREE OF THESE COMPONENTS ARE IN PLAY! I dare you to find a time when this is not true. You wont. You cant because you CANNOT SEPERATE THEM. So, heres what Id like you to know. There are predictable and undeniable laws and principles that govern how your mind, body and emotions function to produce outcomes for you on the golf course (and off!).
Heres an analogy. Imagine yourself to be a world class musician (lets say a pianist). With all your talent, skill and knowledge if you play a piano that is out of tune you wont ' play great music. You could learn more, practice more and improve your skills but when you try to play an out of tune piano it wont matter it will still not play great music. The problem is that golfers are trying to play better music (meaning better golf) on an instrument that is out of tune. The instrument is you and tools that make it work are the mind, body and emotions. Put them back in tune (or in sync) and you will improve!
Now heres your choice.
You can read articles, try new tips and get the results you always get or you can learn what the laws and principles are and begin creating more of what you want instead of just getting better at coping with what you dont want. This is what most people do they ' get better at coping with what they dont want. Those who create more of what they do want tend to perform better and enjoy it more!
Oh, and heres some more interesting news about the laws. They affect everyone, everywhere and at all times. It doesnt matter what your age, gender, personality type or skill level is. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!
Some more proof? Take the law of gravity. Do you think it functions differently for you than it does for Tiger Woods or Paula Creamer? Of course not. In fact, gravity (and all the laws) functions regardless of your opinion of it. If you dont believe me, hold a pen over your head and repeat, I dont believe in gravity three times and really mean it. Open your fingers and see what happens.
The Laws are real. Theyve always been running the show and they always will.
To Your Best Golf!
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  • David Breslow Article Archive
    David Breslow is a National Speaker, Author and Performance Consultant. His book, Wired To Win is available at 888.280.7715. David works with clients all over the world via telephone so it doesnt matter where you live, work or play! His clients include professional athletes (PGA, LPGA and other sports), juniors and all amateurs. He also works with Businesses of all sizes. He brings a fresh, direct, no-nonsense revolutionary approach to Human Performance, helping people make quicker and more powerful shifts in attitude, behavior and action. David is the weekly Mental Game Columnist for Golf Channel where his articles are read by over 4000,000 people. For more info please visit: www.theflowzone.net, email: daviddavid@theflowzone.net or call: 847.681.0247
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.