The 144th Open is the high-point of the golfing summer and is likely to prompt many people to either dust-off their neglected golf clubs, or redouble their ongoing efforts to shoot lower scores and reduce their handicap. We are constantly told how these significant moments in the public eye can provide a sport with a surge in popularity and participation. Just look at women’s football after the World Cup in Canada, or the annual “Wimbledon effect” on tennis. I think it’s safe to say that golf is no different and events at St Andrew’s later this week will no doubt have a motivating effect on many golfers.
Those with the renewed enthusiasm will then probably ask themselves what is the best way to improve and follow that with the question, “What is the quickest way to get better?”
It won’t surprise you to know that I firmly believe mental training rather than technical swing training is the answer to the latter. Sports science can tell us a great deal about the laborious processes we have to go through to acquire new physical skills. I think it’s clear that changing the way you think when you are playing golf will allow you to improve faster, rather than trying to meaningfully change how you physically swing a club or adding a new shot or technique to your existing repertoire.
Even the great Tiger Woods underlined this point during an interview with the BBC’s Sports Editor Dan Roan, to preview The Open. Woods spoke about how he has made changes to his swing in the past and it had taken him up to 14 hours of practice a day to feel that he had mastered these.
So you can see that implementing physical changes to improve your golf is likely to take much longer than improving your game by changing the way you think or, more specifically, practicing the way you think.
The fundamental reason for this is the fact that the human brain is not designed to help us play well on the golf course and, although you probably don’t realise at the time, it can have a powerful negative influence. So over-complicating things with too much technical information about a new swing plane or a putting stroke can be counterproductive and make things even worse.
The good news is this unhelpful state of mind can be changed and, although the more you practice, the better you will be, improvements can be rapid when you start to use a specific mental approach, which involves systematically training yourself to think differently.
How can Pre-Shot help?
Pre-Shot Golf training is based on six key lessons which achieve this and help golfers rewire their brains for better golf. There are no technical details in the system just mental skills, which can be practiced via simple excercises.
There are already plenty of tips and ideas on this website which explain this and in the coming weeks we’ll be releasing even more great content which has the potential to help you improve faster. Keep an eye on the site and the Pre-Shot twitter feed.