A Mental Game Challenge

By David BreslowNovember 17, 2004, 5:00 pm
How long have you been looking to improve your game? How long, if at all have you looked to improve your mental game? You might be surprised to know that the majority of golfers, as well as other athletes, spend very little time developing this aspect of their game. Even though most athletes admit its importantthey still dont devote that much time to it.
One of my missions is to help players realize that what is often called the mental game is much more than psychology or clinical rhetoric. Its actually a whole body process. I invite you to consider that the mental game really has four major elements to it and is a function of how you DIRECT energy in:
1. The Mind
2. The Emotions
3. The Body
4. The Spirit
Spirit as used here deals with the very core energy of a golfer. It relates to your ability to be confident, persistent, resilient, have complete trust and faith in yourself and your game (whatever level that is right now!) as well as take risks and be courageous with yourself. When the spirit is high it shows and when its broken it shows as well. You see the spirit of a golfer as you watch Tiger Woods stalking his way down the fairway when hes really focused and charged up. You can also see when a golfers spirit is low. Their body language changes, the head may be down and the pace of the walk may be slow or sluggish. These are just some indicators of a low spirit level.
Because these four elements make up your mental game you can see that they are in play every time you put your hands on the golf club! Isnt this true? Can you imagine a time when any one of these elements is NOT involved? They dont stand alone either. They are all connected and when you improve one, you improve the others. What we call your mental game is actually influencing your performance 100% of the time.
Top performers in any arena of life are effectively using all four of these elements to achieve success. Some people do it more naturally than others but the impact is just as influential whether you do it more naturally or not. Either way; your performance is under the direct influence of how well OR how poorly you utilize them. There are no short cuts and there is no getting around the real and tangible effect on you and your performance. So, now the question is: what do you do about them?
Although most athletes admit the mental game is important: there is still a resistance to developing it. Here are some of the most common reasons athletes express:
Developing my mental game means therapy
This is a major misconception. The word mental is often linked up with the word therapy and many people think that performance development means going through therapy. The FlowZone approach moves you forward utilizing mind/body/performance principles that influence you and everyone else. Blending the principles with strategies and tools allows you to become your own resource for change and consistent play
Its confusing and vague
Clinical and psychological language can be vague and confusing at times. Lets face it; your performance will not improve just because you have more information, data or insights. They may be interesting but more information does not translate into improved performance. Vague instructions to relax or focus better dont often trigger real change either. When you identify the root cause factors and mind/body/performance principles affecting your performance both positively and negatively you are then personally responsible for utilizing the strategies to get what you want.
Ill just keep looking for more tips
Tips are great but they are more often short term rather than long term solutions. In my experience with clients, the average time a tip lasts before it seems to go away is about two weeks. When this happens, players search for more tips hoping the next one will provide the answer. Once you have a solid foundation in the four elements of the mental game, tips can then act as reminders and trigger the FlowZone state. A new tip placed on top of an old attitude or belief usually is no match for the old attitude or belief and that is why tips dont often last very long for many people.
What are you willing to do to break through all 4 elements of your game?
Are you willing to develop your mind, body, emotions and spirit to play the kind of golf you know you are capable of? Isnt this what causes the most frustration for us: the realization that we can play better and yet dont? Ninety percent of the clients I see come into the process knowing that they can play better yet there is an obstacle in their path. Do you know this about your game as well?
Here are some questions for your consideration to take the Mental Game Challenge:
  • What do you have to do to improve the 4 Key elements of your game?

  • Are you willing to close the gap between what you know and what you do?

  • Has your performance improved to your satisfaction up to this point?

  • Whats held you back from committing to formally developing this part of your game?

  • Who can help you fulfill this challenge? (golf pro, performance coach, etc.)
Take the Mental Game challenge and help realize your true capabilities!
Note: Please contact David directly via email (David@theflowzone.net) to learn more about the Executive Golf program for committed golfers, the FlowZone At Work corporate program and the Performance Based Program designed for personal coaching with David ON THE GOLF COURSE!
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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 no matter where you live or play. 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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    Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

    Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

    While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

    Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

    “I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

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    Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

    McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

    “I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

    “There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

    He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

    “I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

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    Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

    Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

    Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

    “If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

    Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

    “It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

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    Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

    By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

    Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

    Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

    “It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

    “I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

    Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

    “If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”