CAN HYPNOSIS IMPROVE MY GOLF GAME?
Hypnosis. You start with a pinwheel and a man with a soothing voice. “You feel sleepy,” the man says. “But in a moment, I will snap my fingers and you will wake up. When that happens, you will find that your loved by everyone, your credit rating has been restored and, perhaps best of all, you will go to your local golf course and swing your driver like Arnold Palmer.”
Some of that, it turns out, is actually true. Hypnotists may not use spinning pinwheels or shiny, mesmerizing pocket watches swinging back and forth (or maybe some do). They do have soothing voices, but they do not promise to cure your credit score – not by snapping their fingers at any rate.
But wouldn’t it be great if they could get you to swing a golf club like Arnold Palmer? That would be something.
It is something. In the department of strange, but true, we all know that playing sports to the best of our abilities requires a finely-honed combination of training, physical ability and mental fortitude. You cannot hit a baseball out of the park without practice, strength and confidence. You cannot strike out batters without technique, power and a very aggressive attitude.
In the same way, you cannot sink a free throw on a basketball court without a good mechanics, at least enough muscle to get the ball to the net and the ability to concentrate on the task at hand.
What does it take to hit a golf ball properly? Three things: A ton of practice or a very good coach who can teach the fundamentals, enough strength and agility to swing a club in an arc and a delicate sense of relaxed, can-do confidence. Without any one of those things, the whole pile of potential falls apart.
That’s right. You can’t hit a golf ball by holding the wrong end of the club or if you don’t have the strength to do so. While technique is notoriously exacting, it is the mental component of playing the game that is really the most fragile. After all, you can practice hitting a drive out of the box for 25 years and still go out to the course on a sunny Saturday afternoon and whiff a drive like you had never seen a golf ball in your life. You can still shank a fairway iron into the woods or the neighbor’s swimming pool and you can still stab at a putt like a stumble-down drunk on a pair of stilts.
How frustrating is golf? It is so frustrating that even the pros develop what is called the “yips,” an ailment that has medical science trying to define it, even though it really goes by the same definition that the Supreme Court gave to pornography: “You know it when you see it.”
You see pro golfers in the final foursome of a tournament suddenly go wild on the sixteenth fairway and lose the tournament by four strokes. That’s choking. But when you see that same hapless golfer months later who can trace a steady nosedive back to one fatal slice on the sixteenth fairway and you know that his choking has morphed into the yips. The yips are an undercurrent of insecurity that now follows the golfer from course to course and even follows him home, where his once proud swagger now looks seriously out of place. It’s a case of confidence crashing into a brick wall.
The yips likely begin in the heart as a golfer despondently watches a slice tail off out of sight behind a row of trees straight, so far out of bounds, you don’t even bother looking for it. With that sudden swoon of despair comes the realization that your confidence is built on a house of cards, ready to tumble at the merest hint of incompetence.
The yips then quickly throw brain, muscle and bones into disarray. Your mind freezes at the next attempt to hit the ball, which you cannot focus on anyway. Your eyes have glazed over. Your muscles forget their training and the bones in your wrists and forearms feel freezing cold. You spend the rest of the day lurching at the ball, groaning at the results, wishing the round would end as soon as possible.
So, who do you call? The Swing Doctor or the Hypnotist?
The Swing Doctor can remind you of the same formula that you already know. So you spend another $200 on lessons and you wonder why the golf pro is simply repeating himself or herself. They are doing this because you already know what you are doing on a golf course! After all, you have played numerous rounds of golf over the years and you’ve watched all those YouTube instruction segments and Golf Channel lessons.
The reason you can’t put those Swing Doctor instructions into practice is that, to be blunt, your mind is freaking out over how horrible your game has suddenly become. Confidence has been replaced by fear, because confidence is very thin, fragile stuff, especially on a golf course and fear is very securely grounded in the recesses of your brain, the subconscious to be exact. It may have been fueled by your earliest days on a golf course, which are so maddeningly difficult, but it also may have been with you since your early childhood.
Take the case of St. Louis Cardinal Rick Ankiel who developed the yips so bad it ended his career as a major league pitcher. In a candid article about his life, written as a letter to his younger self, he attributes his sudden inability to control a pitch to growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father. What does one thing have to do with another? Well, just about everything, it turns out.
And this leaves the door wide open for help from hypnosis. And here’s how:
Starting with a simple explanation from The British Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, “hypnosis involves the person experiencing a sense of deep relaxation with their attention narrowed down, and focused on appropriate suggestions made by the therapist.”
Yes, dismiss those skeptical and comical images of media portrayed hypnotists. The simple key to the science of hypnotism is simply getting someone to relax to the point that they are less prone to warding off suggestions from their conscious minds.
Relaxation allows a therapist to approach a patient with their guard down. While relaxed, the conscious mind, generally busy protecting the ego from outside influence, takes a break. This allows the therapist to go directly to the subconscious mind which is in control of such things as the lack of confidence that has made a golfer’s blood run cold and is sending their shots into the wrong fairway and causing them to send three foot putts 10 feet past the cup.
You know that expression, the tail wagging the dog? Well, let’s apply this to fixing your errant and embarrassing golf game. You can spend hundreds of dollars re-inventing your swing with lesson after lesson or launch a thousand balls at the driving range to no avail. Or you could just relax and have a soothing voice remind you – in a mental state in which you are able to hear the message – that you already know how to play the game and that the only thing you have to fear is fear itself. Just sidestep that corrosive anxiety and get back on the course and find you are hitting the ball even better than you did before, simply because you have cured the one part of the equation that fell apart: Your confidence.
It seems odd to fix a problem on the golf course by restoring your confidence first and working on your technique later and, yes, it is unlikely that you will turn pro, become a legend and have your name grace a popular tea and lemonade drink simply through hypnosis. But imagine what it would be like to eliminate the suffering on the golf course first, then go out and have a blast playing the game and approaching your comeback with a winning attitude a big smile and taking 3, 4 or more strokes off your game on a consistent basis?
Hypnosis for Golf Confidence is an audio hypnosis recording designed to correct those negative, self-defeating subconscious thoughts and habits and take your golf game to the next level. You can access this product at:
Act today and watch your golf game excel!
David R. Wright MA, LPC, CHT
Licensed Professional Counselor