Is Golf Really a “Mental” Game?

The Thinker

The Thinker

I hear so many people repeat a statement that might very well be as old as the sport itself, “Golf is such a mental game.” Who hasn’t heard that, right? Is this really true though? The great Bobby Jones said, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears.” Indeed, some have compared golf to chess, noting that without a cerebral element a golfer will invariably fail.

While this may have some validity, let me for a moment declare the reality. Golf cannot be defined as predominantly a test of one’s mind if the individual attempting to play it has yet to develop the physical traits necessary to compete. I contend that golf is purely a physical test, up until that point at which one has reasonably mastered some of the required skills. In order to reach a level of competitiveness to relate to Jones’ remark, one does not have to become a top notch amateur or a tour professional.

However, I think that one needs to look the part. No, I do not mean that by wearing the latest fashions from Ashworth, Nike, or Adidas an individual qualifies to be a “real” golfer. Every single person who picks up a golf club already possesses the ability to grip like a pro. Each of us has the ability to address the ball as a pro does. Everyone has it within him or her to have the same great posture as a tour player. Anyone anywhere has the chance to have a correct understanding of ball position as any single golfer who plays for a living. The world’s elite players have absolutely zero advantage over you in regards to these crucial pre-swing characteristics.

If you struggle with consistent ball striking, maybe you simply stand too far from the golf ball. Perhaps, your grip is too weak and your stance is too wide. If you are inconsistent, it may just be possible that you have your hands positioned incorrectly in relation to the golf ball and your body. If your issues are directly tied to one or more of these basic fundamentals, then how, too, can you cry “golf is completely mental”?

The truth is that most have such a difficult time on the golf course, because they put themselves in a position from which controlling the clubface and making a good, solid, balanced swing is virtually impossible.

So, the diagnosis is that a clearly visible physical problem exists, not a mental one. The remedy is rather simple, actually. Go back to the basics. Sound familiar? It should. Almost as familiar as Yogi Berra’s famous description of his sport of choice, “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.” You need not try to figure that one out. It all comes down to learning the proper set-up and posture of a “pro.” Anyone can do it. Yes, even you!


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We Can All Use Some Help to “Just Do It”


Nothing is impossible

We are all familiar with Nike’s slogan “Just Do It”. For years we have literally been bombarded with this phrase. From television commercials to magazine spreads to in-store displays, we are constantly reminded that we must “Just Do It”. We see images of world class athletes who are paid large sums of money for endorsing this concept. They have a way of making “Just Do It” look very effortless. As you most certainly have come to know from your own personal experiences, this is not reality.

There is absolutely nothing even remotely glamorous about exercise as Nike and countless other companies portray it. Those looking to profit from our very basic desire for something to motivate and inspire us to become better have clearly failed us.

So, what are you to do if you have difficulty with “It”? What do you do, if you just do not now, nor ever think you can enjoy exercise? What can you do when you are not receiving support or encouragement from those around you? What are your chances of success if you feel as if you have failed miserably in numerous previous attempts to reach a particular goal? What if you feel that you have done too many things wrong for far too long and the journey back to better health is an impossible one to embark upon?

These questions and plenty of others do represent the reality which many of us face at some point in time. Perhaps, these ring true for you today. I propose to you that there is way out of your current situation. Every one of us has times when we need to know that things will get better.

My plea to you this day, and every day, is: “Don’t you quit. Keep walking. Keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead! Trust and believe in good things to come”.

Don’t worry about doing things the Nike way! Let me help you find what your “It” is, which you can and invariably must do. If you feel lost or stranded along the roadside that you have been traveling to reach a better state of wellness, please do not be afraid to hitch hike with me. I will not leave you without a ride to the destination of your choice.

You have the power to say, “This is not how my story will end.”


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Embrace Change

What a great privilege it is to teach correct fitness and health principles to others. I love to be able to see those I train govern themselves, in due time, by implementing the very principles which I shared with them.

Embrace Change

Embrace Change

“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” –Max DePree

Change is inevitable. We should not fight it, but rather embrace it. Change presents opportunities for growth which are necessary for our personal progress. This truly applies to every area of our lives. If you desire a transformation, you can begin today by accepting some element of change.

How does change relate to our exercise routines and overall health and wellness?

I have been inspired by many people who I’ve trained over the years. Some have faced the opposition which change throws at them with such courage and faith.

I am currently working with a man who has smoked cigarettes for about thirteen years. After our very first session together, he impressed me with his simple declaration. “I need to quit smoking for this effort to be successful!” He didn’t ask me for my thoughts. He didn’t show any sign of a lack of confidence in himself. He has put his trust in me to help him shape his body. However, he has also decided to believe in himself. Transformation is so much more than change. It requires the steadfast determination which this man has demonstrated for an entire month now!

Do you need help with getting started on your transformation? Why not give me a call.

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life; tip toe if you must, but take the step.” — Author Unknown


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April Showers

If April showers bring May flowers, what is it that May flowers bring? Well, golf, of course, right? The Masters golf tournament gets me excited each year to get out on the golf course.

13th Hole at Augusta National Golf Club

13th Hole at Augusta National Golf Club

However, it seems too often that weather is determined to play other types of games with golfer’s minds and grand plans. The roller coaster ride that is the ups and downs of the April temperatures here in Northeast Ohio may prevent many from making their first drive to their favorite course. Yet, even as this lends to a shorter golf season overall, the month of May still can provide some of your most memorable moments. Let’s consider what we can do to begin preparing ourselves for the summer golf season, as we ride out the April roller coaster.

I will just briefly touch on one simple thing every one of us can do to prepare for that sometimes daunting first tee shot of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is life changing so pay close attention! I recommend picking up a golf club daily! Yes, that’s it! If you normally put your clubs away after that last round in the fall, and never hold a single one until you are at the course in the springtime, you have not developed that bond that is absolutely necessary between your hands and the grip of the golf club.

Not again, you mutter. Here he goes rambling about my grip. I’ll ignore that remark. Your hands provide the only connection to your clubs. You need to develop that relationship. Any relationship takes work, including this one. The more familiar you are with both the correct positioning of your hands as they form their grip and the right amount of pressure which you want to apply the more likely this special relationship is to succeed. Who among us does not have a couple minutes each day to practice our grip? I dare say, not a single soul! It truly is that important. This can never be overstated. If you don’t have a good grip, you can’t play good golf. There is no way around it.

Your hand position and pressure influence your ability to control the clubface. They also dictate whether you are able to utilize a major power source for your golf swing correctly and completely. I am referring to the wrists as that source. So, yes, the hands do play an incredibly crucial role in determining how accurate and powerful your game can be. Friends, if you neglect your grip, your ball striking and scoring will never improve. If you have spent too many months away from your clubs, they are begging for some attention. Remember, if proper heed is not given to their beckoning call, then they may be the ones filing for a divorce from you in the near future!

Here’s a thought. If you have a favorite TV program which you watch, grab a club in you hands and rekindle that spark. You must not wait until you are on the first tee to start fiddling with your grip. You are going to be fiddling all day. Most likely this is not going to produce pleasing sounds to anyone’s ears. Seriously, a few minutes a day practicing your grip will result in a natural feel, a perfectly comfortable sensation, absolute confidence, and those May moments to remember. If you have any doubts concerning your grip, let’s chat.


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