The QATSPY Sports Page 4 Golfers
By: Charles W. Boatright
Masterminding the Mental Game of Golf, Sports Psychology
Golf swing mechanics, like any sport, are 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. According to Yogi Berra’s quote referring to the sport of baseball, Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical. This is why it’s important to understand the mental game of golf to improve the golfer’s performance. But the mental game of golf is undoubtedly the most difficult component in the sports psychology equation to figure out and to solve.
Even if the professional golfer puts in 25 to 40 hours a week working on their golf swing mechanics and fundamentals, they still find it difficult to transition their practice to the golf course. Jordan Spieth, at the 2018 Hawaii Sony Open, touched on the mental game of golf by explaining in an interview with Golf Channel that the main obstacle facing the professional golfer is bring able to trust their golf swing fundamentals.
Sports Psychologists who work with the athlete’s performance focus on the athlete’s conscious mind and the subconscious performance and how these two areas of the brain interact. But, there is a third component of the golfer’s mental game of golf that doesn’t receive near the attention it needs. In sports psychology, this area is called the unconscious mind. I prefer to refer to the unconscious mind as the permanent mind, because of its function.
The reason that I refer to this third area as the permanent mind is because of its capability to store the enormous amount of information on a permanent basis. The permanent mind, as the name implies, is where all of our permanent memories are stored. The permanent mind contains everything we have ever seen, felt, taste, smelt, heard, said, experienced, including people we met, and things we have learned. The permanent mind can be used to provide the golfer the trust factor that Jordan Spieth alluded to in his interview with Golf Channel.
Linking the Golfer’s Performance with their Mental Game of Golf
Golfers would be astonished at the level of performance that they could aspire to if they understood golf swing sequence and how the subconscious and permanent mind interacted with their conscious mind. Understanding how the conscious, subconscious, and permanent minds function with each other is just as critical as the golfer’s physical training and conditioning.
The golf swing sequence is part of the golfer’s conscious function, representing 10 percent of the golfer’s game. The golf swing sequence receives the majority of the golfer’s attention during their workout sessions. The other 90 percent of the golfer’s potential consists of the golfer’s muscle memory, motor skills, and what sports psychologists refer to as Sports Imagery. Sports Imagery is critical for creating or recreating muscle memory and motor skills in the subconscious mind.
There are four coaching tools that can allow the golfer to combine the function of the conscious mind with that of the subconscious and permanent mind. The golfer’s coaching tools, the mental game of golf, include: Sports Imagery and golf swing sequence, a conscious function. Muscle memory and motor skills are a subconscious function. The toolbox that contains all of these coaching tools is the function of the permanent mind.
The Sports Imagery in The ESPY Golf Swing sequence that I use in my coaching process consists of boxing gloves, a pinball flipper, baseball swing fundamentals, and sprockets from a ten-speed bicycle, shown below. This Sports Imagery allows the golfer to directly engage their subconscious and permanent mind. To enhance the permanent mind’s function, I use baseball swing fundamentals to allow the golfer to access a well-developed, advanced motor skill formed in their permanent mind at a young age. The significance of advanced motor skills is based on the same premise of riding a bicycle; once you learn, you don’t forget.
Comparing the golf swing sequence and fundamentals with that of the baseball swing fundamentals was a coaching technique used by my grandfather in 1928 and one that I was able to confirm by a Kinesiology research project that I did in 2007. I compared hundreds of time-lapse photos, like the one shown below, that compared the golf swing vs. baseball swing that confirmed this link.
While physical exercise and training are essential in golf, mental training is crucial to the golfer. Mental training is like establishing a path in the woods; the more you use it, the more established it becomes. The mental game of golf approach is supported by a quote by Bobby Jones, Sr.- Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears.
Learning to Harness the Mental Game of Golf
To explain in layman’s terms how the golfer could develop their mental game of golf is with a simple culinary reference. Chefs and bakers depend on their recipes to provide high quality and consistent dishes and baked goods to their customers. The recipe, the paper that contains the recipe, to the golfer represents their permanent mind.
If you have a secret Bar-B-Q sauce, catfish batter, or a bread recipe like I do, you know how you hold on to these recipes, like it’s a matter of national security. Even if these recipes are used on special occasions, you have confidence in these tried/true/tested recipes that you can reproduce the desired results. The golfer can use the same approach to have confidence in their tried/true/tested muscle memory for their golf swing mechanics.
The golfer’s muscle memories are essentially the ingredients contained in the recipe, or in the subconscious mind. Like ingredients in a recipe, they must be fresh, current, or up to date. The subconscious mind depends on imaging and on muscle memory and motor skills from the permanent mind. The constant projection of these images and the directions by the conscious mind allow the subconscious mind to be engaged.
The more vivid the imaging, the better you can enhance your golf swing mechanics and fundamentals. The golfer’s conscious mind essentially is acting as a coordinator to assemble the muscle memory and motor skills, according to a golf swing sequence.
If the golfer wants to harness 90 percent of their mental game of golf, the best option is to:
- Establish the simplest sequence of elements that doesn’t deviate, as this is essentially the golfer’s directions of recipe- responsibility of the conscious mind, the coordinator. The golfer can use images to enhance the subconscious and permanent mind’s performance.
- Practice these elements to keep them current and fresh to maintain the muscle memory under actual course conditions. The key for the subconscious mind to function correctly is to work off current muscle memory, under actual conditions, and with images. The subconscious mind is a short-term memory bank for just a few weeks, at best.
- Develop a tried/true/tested method in the permanent mind to retain both the sequence and muscle memory needed for the mental game of golf. The muscle memory works best from existing motor skills, the responsibility of the permanent mind.
The 3-Drawer Filing Cabinet Approach to the Mental Game of Golf
The 3-Drawer Filing Cabinet can provide golfers with a visual of how the conscious, subconscious, and permanent minds function and what these components provide the golfer:
- Bottom Drawer (permanent mind)- Uses a technique called Apperception, where the golfer can take advantage of an existing motor skill to develop muscle memory that the subconscious mind can confidently follow. If the golfer doesn’t take advantage of the Apperception technique, the golfer will spend years developing these same motor skills and muscle memory that already exists in the permanent mind. The baseball swing sequence provides the basic motor skills used in the golf swing. In my Xerox Box Research Project, I compared, in time-lapse photography, the golf swing vs. baseball swing and found that the wrist action was similar.
David Duval demonstrated this wrist action in the golf swing with Charlie Rymer. Charlie Rymer was so impressed with how David Duval Synced/Preset his wrist that Charlie Rymer referred to it as That Wrist Thing. This technique and Ken Duke’s interview with Lisa Cornwell are probably two of the best demonstrations of the wrist action in the golf swing used to help the golfer set up their muscle memory. This Sync/Preset, shown below, engages the golfer’s subconscious mind’s performance.
- Middle Drawer (subconscious mind)- Having your practice sessions reflect similar conditions, as what the golfer will play under, is essential. This develops the same golf swing sequence, the same pressures, and similar adrenaline levels that the golfer will perform under. There is an old adage that states- Practice how you play and play how you practice. If the golfer doesn’t do this, the subconscious mind will not follow the golf swing sequence in the conscious mind that the golfer spends hours developing during their practice sessions once on the golf course. In Section 7 of my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach, I developed a practice routine called the 405- Training Drill that can provide the golfer with similar pressures and adrenaline levels.
- Top Drawer (conscious mind)- Develop a golf swing sequence containing very simple and familiar elements that can be performed by the subconscious mind on a consistent basis, both on and off the golf course. The more ergonomic these elements can be, the easier it is for the body to execute these elements on a consistent basis. The conscious mind works best from a consistent, sequential process, based on well-developed muscle memory and supported by existing motor skills in the permanent mind.
The key for the golfer to develop their trust in their golf swing sequence, muscle memory, and existing motor skills is to focus, instead of think. If the golfer starts to think, they will start to analyze. Thinking on the golf course leads to a condition called paralysis-analysis, which interferes with 95 percent of the mental game of golf, which consist of the subconscious and permanent mind.
Here’s the advantage of using the ESPY Golf Swing sequence, based on the baseball swing fundamentals. How many times while playing baseball/softball and stepping into the batter’s box did you ever think about your baseball swing fundamentals or mechanics? I would guess NEVER! In baseball, especially, the batter is just focusing on a 90-mph fastball that has their undivided attention. Even Wade Boggs explained in an article that the only thing he did was to focus on the baseball and nothing else.
I realize that Caddyshack was a comedy, but it offers one of the best Sports Psychology approaches to the golfer’s game in the Be the Ball quote:
Caddyshack– Be the Ball quote: (Ty Webb- played by Chevy Chase mentioned to Danny Noonan- played by Michael O’Keefe) I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.
To take advantage of the mental game of golf, as what Bobby Jones, Sr. refer to as the game played between the ears, purchase your copy of The ESPY Golf Swing Coach from the links below, or visit your local bookstore:
My book can also be purchased at Edwin Watts Golf Store in Jackson, Mississippi. Phone No. 601-956-8784
820 East County Line Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157
My book can also be purchased on-line at:
Health and Fitness Program Golf Exercise for Power
This book is based on a self-coaching forum (ASPEN Pyramid). The ASPEN Self-Coaching Technique provides the beginner and advanced single-digit handicap golfer with a safe, ergonomic classic golf swing mechanics. The ASPEN forum for coaching golf provides basic skills for more power and control in the golf swing sequence without debilitating injuries that are common with some modern-day golf swings. As part of the ESPY Golf Swing Coach forum is a workout program designed especially for golfers with an effective SR925 Diet Program detailed below.
Please take advantage of my SR-925 Diet Program, where I lost 6 inches in my waist in 3- months (FREE of CHARGE) with the CASPER Workout Program, detailed in Section 20 of my book, great golf swing workout:
One component in my CASPER Workout Program that I follow is using a Medicine Ball to perform what I call Stocking the Shelves, illustrated below in the figure:
Please include an exercise routine in your weekly schedule.
Additional Motivation to Develop a Fitness Program
If you need addition motivation, which the subconscious mind works from and consist of 90 percent of the golf swing, include a fitness and exercise program into your daily schedule. This type of exercise provides the critical overload underload training to improve the golfer’s power in your golf game, please look at another golf fitness enthusiast: The Fit Golfer Girl
ESPY Golf Swing Coach- Rhythm Without the Blues
ESPY Golf Swing Coach- ESPY App Developing the golfer’s Rhythm w/o creating the golfer’s Blues. The ESPY Golf Swing helps the golfer establish the correct wrist action in golf swing demonstrated by David Duval in an interview with Charlie Rymer on Golf Channel.
Also, learning The ESPY Golf Swing Coach process is an excellent way to develop Rhythm without experiencing the Blues in your golf game for confidence; learn how to take your baseball-style swing from the batter’s box to the tee box.
Developing your Rhythm in your golf swing helps apply the mental game of golf. To get a firsthand and experience the real Mississippi Delta Blues visit the Museum in Clarksdale, MS 662-627-6820.
MISSISSIPPI BLUES MUSEUM
THE LOCKER ROOM a source for golf tips
Please visit “The Locker Room” for an Index of all my golf articles to improve your golf game and life. Discover how you can take your baseball swing from the batter’s box to the tee box.
Learn How to take your baseball-style golf swing from the batter’s box to the tee box.
For Comments or questions please contact me at 1-888-514-1228 Mon – Fri from 9 am to 4 pm CT Zone.
A Recommendation for your Golf Game:
I would like to recommend an interesting radio program that I regularly listen to from my home state Arkansas on my I-Heart Radio app on KARN 102.9 FM station, out of Little Rock, AR. They air a golf show called Arkansas Fairways and Greens, at 7:00 AM CT each Saturday morning, hosted by Bob Steel, and co-hosted by Jay Fox and Charles Crowson. Bob occasionally as has his guess Alex Myers with Golf Digest and Ron Sirak with Golf Channel. I was interviewed on his show about my book, The ESPY Golf Swing Coach. This show is worth tuning into for golf news and information.
Jay Fox is an Administrator with Arkansas State Golf Association that discuss amateur golf and rules of the game.
Once you learn WHY, you don’t forget HOW!
Two decisions that you can make for yourself and your kids are to get a copy of my book and place the book and a golf club into their hands. You will never look back, but only forward. You will not miss with this for yourself and/or your kids.