Try Some Reverse Psychology On The Golf Course

Copyright © 1999 - 2035 Craig Townsend

Some golfers respond magnificently to pressure during a round - and then there's the vast majority of golfers in the world who don't.

For those who find that pressure affects their standard of golf (and most fall into this category), here is an alternative method which works very well for some golfers - reverse psychology.

This alternative mental method can be used at certain times during a game to reduce the pressure and allow yourself to play your shots without restriction or inhibition. Be warned however, that this method is very much a personal choice and should be trialled during practice for its effectiveness before trying it in competition - because every golfer is different.

A classic example of how reverse psychology can work (and without even knowing it) is when a golfer plays a horrible first 9 holes - in fact, so bad that they finally mentally 'give up' or surrender, to the point of almost not trying on the 10th and 11th holes. Quite often these golfers discover (to their utmost surprise) that they suddenly begin to play some very good shots and some excellent holes.

The reason for this is that during this mental surrender, the golfer's game switches from the control of the (weak) conscious mind to the very powerful subconscious.

Through mentally 'surrendering', the golfer shuts down their conscious mind's steely grip over their game, and this allows the all-powerful subconscious (the control-center of all movement) to do its job properly.

This sometimes even allows a golfer to reach their absolute peak for a short time - the holy grail on the golf course, 'the zone' - the peak of human potential on the golf course.

This means that often when we emotionally detach from the outcome, we get more positive results. When we release our emotional attachment and just allow ourselves to hit without pressure (much like most of us do in practice), our body gets its instructions from the powerful subconscious (not conscious), mind.

So how can we put this into practice? As an example, let's say that you are hitting a shot over water - and that you are feeling the pressure a great deal. There are 3 different mental approaches which you can take in this situation:

One approach is to focus 100% positively on making the shot, keeping all thoughts off the obstacle (the water) - and this very often brings good results, depending upon how successful you can be at keeping the negative thoughts at bay.

The second approach is the complete negative approach - where you think to yourself "there's no way I will make this shot". This doesn't usually work - as most often, if your goal is 'the water', you will very often hit it! However, some golfers swear that this approach works for them, as they say it takes all pressure off them - I suppose everyone is different!

The third approach is where you say to yourself "I'll just wait and see what happens - I have no expectations, come what may".

This approach tends to relax the mind and body, as no huge demands have been made upon it, and it allows you to relax and play your shot without too much mental pressure or physical restriction.

This approach brings some excellent results and many golfers have found this to be a superior method (for them) - even over the more positive method. This technique works best if all other attempts prevent you from playing in a relaxed manner - as it reduces your expectation, and the pressure you put upon yourself.

So in general, the best mental approaches are either the positive mental approach, followed by the 'let's see what happens' approach.

It is always best to try the positive approach first, however if you find you are continuing to struggle from pressure, then relax and take the pressure off with some reverse psychology - and see what happens.


"The Mind controls the body, and the Mind is Unlimited"

The best of success, Craig Townsend


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