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

DID YOU KNOW
  • 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.
 
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT?
 
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?
 
WHY TIPS DONT LAST
 
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: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”