There are many mental skills involved in playing golf. You need to take your mental golf skills out with you onto the course and use them "on the spot", so to speak.
You need to take your mental golf skills out with you onto the course and use them "on the spot", so to speak. A frequently cited problem with this is that many golfers find that they can visualize their perfect shot from the armchair, but cannot seem to "see it" when standing over the ball. If this happens to you, ask yourself the question "what's stopping you from seeing it now?" Because if you can see the shot when at home but not on the course, there is nothing wrong with your visualization skills. Something else is getting in the way.
Maybe it's the fact you're not relaxed, you're feeling a bit tense and so can't seem to access the more creative part of your mind. If so, ask yourself "Why am I tense?" Maybe the answer is because you don't want to make a fool of yourself, or because you don't think you can hit that shot, and so on. Keep asking yourself "Why?" until you get to the root of the problem. Why are you scared of making a fool of yourself? And so on.
Awareness precedes choice which precedes change. You have to know the cause to change the effect. Once again, this is true of everything in life, not just golf. Why do you worry about what people think? Why don't you think you can hit that shot? Why don't you see golf as a game and have some fun playing it? Why can't you laugh at yourself? "Why?" is a wonderful question, which will encourage mental exploration and subsequent discovery, so long as you are honest with yourself and so long as you follow the thread right back to its beginnings.
Think of the phrase "a train of thought" and imagine that you are in the rear carriage, right at the back of the train, and as you ask yourself "Why is that?" and find your own answer you'll move forwards to the next carriage. Keep working through the carriages of your thought train and eventually you cannot help but reach the engine. And once you reach that engine and become the driver of your train, you can choose your driving direction.
Once you have taken control in this way, you will find that your imagination is truly limitless. You will be able to imagine exquisite golf shots, not only in your armchair, but when you are standing over the ball in a tight spot when you're in the lead on the 18th.
Having a vivid imagination is a priceless skill. Most of us have a vivid imagination that comes to us naturally when we're afraid of the outcome - then we can create internal movies that run like a horror story. All you need to do is to tap into this natural ability to visualize and choose to imagine what you want to happen instead of what you don't. And remember whatever you imagine you're likely to create, so make sure you choose to imagine great shots with great outcomes. In this way you'll walk down the fairway with your head held high and a spring in your step.
Roseanna Leaton, specialist in golf hypnosis cds and hypnosis mp3 downloads.