26 April 2013

How’s Your Mental Scorecard?

Is golf a sport or a discipline like karate or ballet? This might seem like a strange question, but when you look at it closely, even at the highest echelons of the game, there seems to be no rhyme or rhythm to body types or even swings. Does success at the game of golf favor physical strength or mental attributes?

Last autumn I had the opportunity to attend SRI Sports new Z-Star ball debut event and press conference in Miyazaki just before last years Dunlop Phoenix Open. One of the highlights was seeing the entire Pro team sponsored by Dunlop – Srixon on stage at the same time. I was very taken back by all the different body types and it reinforced my belief that anyone can reach the top of this game regardless of the body type our maker has endowed you with! It all comes down to what’s between the ears.
With this in mind, it is no wonder why in recent years tour pro’s have begun to recognize mental training as a way to help them perform at their best and perhaps even give them an edge over their competitors. There are huge amounts of stress and wear on the mind during a competitive round and keeping your focus and composure for 4 hours straight is not easy. That being said, believe it or not, statistically, mental training is more important to the weekend golfer than to the top tour professional with far more potential for saving strokes!

We’ve all experienced a meltdown on the course with our share of bad holes, usually in succession. Once we lose our focus and composure things can easily go from bad to worse and usually do. Dave Pelz refers to this phenomenon as, “from the frying pan to the fire!” I have called it in the past, “the Chernobyl effect..” Without the proper mental tools to deal with these situations they will repeat, and you certainly won’t reach your true potential on the golf course, or in life for that matter!

Did you know that Tiger only lets himself be angry after a bad shot for his next 25 steps? And should that not work, he envisions a laser beam at some point ahead of himself, like a finishing line of a marathon, that when he passes, so to will his anger. This allows him to move on to his next shot in a better state of mind. These are just a few examples of simple yet effective mental tools that most of us are unaware of, as we’ve never had the benefit of mental training. Enter the Golfer’s Mental Scorecard.

Here’s what we know. People and their personality types won’t change. Period – full stop! We can however, train ourselves to recognize and control our behavior under certain situations for a short term, and this is the basis of mental training. Golf is said to have a way of magnifying your personality and each individual personality type gets magnified further in times of distress. We are all guilty of this and it is a natural thing for us to bring to the forefront what’s in our mental DNA so to speak. We will inevitably move to our corner of happiness and react in a certain way, usually to our detriment.

The Golfer’s Mental Scorecard is all about learning how to avoid repeating the same mistakes you make again and again.

Generally we are talking about 4 types of golfers. For example, under pressure the creative golfers often try to get out of trouble by being even more creative. The security-oriented golfers try to get out of trouble by being even more security oriented. Especially under pressure humans have a tendency to cling to the same kind of solutions in accordance with their personality and yes, often making problems even worse! To avoid this you need to learn about your own type.

See the model below to find out more about the 4 types of golfers.

Do you recognize yourself in one of the above?
We see opportunities and limitations in accordance to our personality. We all have our corner of happiness and our mental blind spots. By analyzing what type of player you are, we can mentally open up a whole range of opportunities including solutions you may not have ever considered.

Am I a slave to my own personality?
Basically, Yes! Mental training is about learning to know your own type, your corner of happiness and therefore also your mental blind spots. The golfers mental score card provides you with solutions you’ve never thought to consider before, even though they are the exact key to shaving strokes from your score. That’s what it’s all about!

What is a profiling process?
The profiling consists of a 15 min questionnaire of 60-targeted golf themed questions filled out a few days in advance of taking program/round. Your profile is then analyzed in Denmark on the mainframe and you receive the following:

1. A graphical profile of your focus areas, your golf personality and your mental strengths and weaknesses. This will help you choose the right strategy, always playing to your strengths, making fewer mistakes and lowering your scores.

2. A written evaluation of your profile, your game style and how you react under pressure. This will make you conscious about what is happening mentally when you are under pressure and how to recover from that kind of situation.

3. A graphical illustration of the mental areas you should practice to manage yourself better around the course. This will make you mentally stronger and ensure you always have a plan B if something goes wrong.

4. An 18 hole mental scorecard with individual mental exercises, game plans and pre-shot routines for you to practice on the golf course. All exercises are developed with your unique Golf Profile, personality and mental approach to the game in mind. - This will lead to lower scores, more stable golf, a lower handicap and greater joy in your golf.

Having personally done the program I can attest to the fact that the profiles are extremely accurate, kind of spooky actually. And the ability to see your weak spots and learn specific mental tools that you can pull up and use on demand, indispensable!

Here is what a participant here in Japan had to say:

- I can testify to the extreme value of the Mental Golf, both to my golf game and my professional life. I was Bennett's first examinee. He opened my eyes.

Mental Golf is a progressive instructional program that makes a model of your specific golf style then identifies specific methods for improving your performance on the course. It is very comprehensive.

The evaluation places you on a theoretical map by looking at the many components of your game, equipment selection, style of play, shot selection and social paradigm. It is totally visual, I found it so simple to understand. I kept finding myself saying "Yeah. That's me."

The best part of the Mental Golf experience is the bag of tools that I took away with me. I am easily able to duplicate the exercises I learned both on and off the course. I am mentally a smarter player each day.

E. Sengel Tokyo, Japan

How do I get my profile?

If you are interested in further information and trying the program I am certified to run it here in Japan and we are currently accepting students for one-day 18 hole programs. You can also see more info on the nuts and bolts of it on the English site for the academy in Spain.
See: http://www.torremirona.net/index.html

Mental Scorecard in Japan

Licensed programs are being run here in Japan from 2013 at Gotemba Golf Club in Shizuoka next to Mt. Fuji and are now accepting limited numbers of participants. For further information on dates and availability please contact Bennett sensei at: bennett.galloway@gmail.com or call 090-8475-4512 and take control of all aspects of your game!

Bennett Galloway, 26 April 2013    

Previous Columns
  • Golf's Cutting Edge
  • Slowly Consider Fast Play
  • Japan Juniors head for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship
  • Three Strikes for the Japanese Golf Industry
  • Get the most out of your balls..!
  • A Grand Opening in Niseko, Japan
  • The Mystery of Miura
  • Asia's Sleeping 'Tiger' Awakes
  • A Pebbles' Throw from Tokyo
  • Golf in Niseko, Asia's Answer to Whistler
  • Game On!
  • Japan Golf Tours
  • Gearing Up for Winter Golf
  • Respecting Your Game
  • Adrift in a Sea of Golf Balls
  • The Secret to Scoring Well "Shhh.....Don't Tell Anyone"!
  • Hakone, the Gem of Kanagawa and a Resort Golfers Paradise
  • Golf in Japan: A primer to golfing in Tokyo
  • Time to thaw out that golf swing
  • Golf made easy

    Special Features
  • A Qualifying Success
  • World Record Attempt Report
  • About Bennett
    Bennett is a long time resident of Japan and the Director of Golf for Gotemba Golf Club and Belle View Nagao G.C., in Shizuoka near Mt. Fuji. Member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a teaching professional, providing lessons for all ages and abilities, in English or Japanese. He also specializes in in-bound golf tours to Japan with Golf Shizuoka and Golf Hakone.

    Contact Bennett »