Most of the golf psychology courses that I have attended and the books that I have read on Golf Psychology, with very few exceptions, are based on similar theories. Usually they advocate being very positive, using lots of visualization, repeating a key phrase or trying to feel a certain feeling. I have tried all of these theories on the golf course and while they can make some sense if you play well, there are no explanations for playing poorly other than perhaps you were not positive enough or that you did not visualize your shot well enough or you did not really believe in yourself enough. So, with all of the golf psychology I had read and applied, I found that if you don’t play well, you are left scratching your head and you often feel like a failure. All of these Golf Psychology theories make perfect sense intellectually but they failed the practical test, so I wondered if the Authors and Golf Psychologists ever really applied their theories to their own games?
If I was going to coach golfers in the field of Golf Psychology, then I had to have practical experience of my own. I wanted to explore different ways of understanding my mind and how it reacts to the game and not just accept the same old positive thinking blurb I had read a thousand times. The one book that made a lasting impression on me was Timothy Gallwey’s The Inner Game of Golf. I had been introduced to his methods by some innovative Tennis Coaches and then by Sir John Whitmore who was an original collaborator with Tim Gallwey. His ideas often flew in the face of popular golf psychology. So I decided to find out for myself, but with few Inner Game Golf Coaches in existence, my only way to uncover these principles, and as I later found out, the best way, was to take some time and to learn for myself from my own experience. I won the Bournemouth open in 2009 by using the techniques I had learnt about.
So I played golf and explored my mind as I played. I wanted to be able to coach golfers with the knowledge that what I was showing them was true and accurate and practical, not just something that I had read in a golf psychology book and regurgitated. So it was really important for me to find out for myself what happens when I play golf? What happens when I am under pressure? What happens to me when I win and when I lose? Only then would I be able to look the golfers I coach in the eye and say, with my hand on my heart, “this is my truth from my own experience”
I have found that it doesn’t matter that the Pro’s I Coach are on another level ability wise, as when it comes down to matters of the mind, we all suffer from similar worries and neurosis. We all share the same mind if you like. Even though my experiences are unique to me, I have discovered that there are universal principles that apply to us all. So this is how my journey with the Inner Game of golf began in 2001. As my discoveries in golf threw up more and more questions, my thirst for answers led me to study many different Philosophies and Mental Practices. I moved away from most of the popular golf psychology, to try to understand the paradoxes that the game threw at me. My journey is ongoing, I will always be a student of the game of golf, but I feel ready to share my discoveries with you as I have been doing with my fellow golf students for some years.