Better Putting in your Golf Mind
Article by Andrew Fogg
I hear that Darren Clarke’s looking for putting improvement through golf psychology and working again with Bob Rotella. I know that Darren has worked in the past with Golf Psychologist Dr Karl Morris – after all, I’ve read Golf – The Mind Factor, the book they published together back in 2005. However, for some reason I didn’t know that he’d worked with Bob Rotella.
I can’t say how delighted I am to see Darren’s back competing in the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black after qualifying as one of the top 15 in the European Money List last year. He’s only played in the US Open once, in 2006 at Winged Foot, since he pulled out at Pinehurst in 2005 to be with his wife who was seriously ill.
Moving back to Darren’s putting psychology problems, I was interested to hear that he has considered putting to be his Achilles heel for most of his career. I was also interested to read how hard he’s been pushing himself over the years to improve his putting. It’s interesting to note that Bob Rotella has tried to get him to go much easier on himself. In fact, Darren’s been quoted recently as saying “He says just go and play and let the results happen themselves.” That sounds like good advice to me!
It’s intriguing how similar that is to what Bob’s been telling Padraig Harrington about his over practising and excessive focus on his swing changes. As I suggested in my earlier article, entitled Play your Best with Golf Psychology Before Changing your Unconscious Golf Swing, the destructive shots you hit are more likely to come from your conscious thoughts than from your unconscious golf swing.
If I was advising Darren Clarke “blind”, so to speak, then apart from helping him to use golf hypnosis of course, I’d encourage him to build on a couple of mental golf approaches from the great Jack Nicklaus. Firstly, I’d suggest that before he strikes a putt he imagines “seeing” the line the ball will run on and “watching” the ball rolling along that imaginary line and dropping in the hole before popping back out and running back along the line back to his putter head.
Secondly, I’d help him find a way to remember every good putt he’s ever holed and to develop amnesia for every bad one. There’s a story I’ve heard about Jack Nicklaus that illustrates this perfectly.
Jack was giving a presentation to a group of eager and attentive golfers at his son’s university. During the speech, Jack makes the comment that he has never three putted on the back nine of a major championship or missed from inside of six feet on the last hole.
As Jack opens the floor to take questions, a man puts up his hand and says “Jack you say you have never missed from inside of six feet on the last hole in a major, but I was watching you last year in the US Seniors Open and that’s exactly what you did.” Jack looked at the man with those piercing blue eyes and repeated what he had said. “But Mr Nicklaus,” the man insisted, “I saw it, I have it on film, I can send it to you if you like.” “No need”, Jack replied, “I have never missed from inside six feet on the last hole of a major. Any more questions?”
Now, has Jack ever missed from inside of six feet on the last hole of a major? Of course he has! Does he remember it? Not a chance. And do you think he cares that he can’t remember? Some people would probably say that Jack is deluded in his thinking, that it is not based on reality. Well, we all create our own realities and Jack’s seem pretty good to me!
Andrew Fogg, the Golf Hypnotist, is an enthusiastic golfer, hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner. He is a practicing golf psychologist and author of a soon to be published book “The Secrets of Hypnotic Golf” and a series of golf hypnosis MP3 programmes.
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