I’ve always thought golf and golfers were mental. Here’s what my friend, golf pro, psychologits, mid-east peacebuilder and aikido 5th dan Jamie Zimron has to say about it:
Golf Is A Mental Game?
By Jamie Zimron, LPGA Pro, The Golf Sensei
How many times have you heard golfers say, “It’s really a mental game. It’s all between the ears!” Perhaps you’ve even made this comment yourself. The idea that golf is a mental game is true because everything we do in life begins with and is controlled by the brain, which produces thought leading to action and results.
Take something as simple as the chair you’re sitting in. Someone had to conceive of the “chair” idea in order for it to be designed and ultimately built. The physical object actually began as a thought.
In golf, the mind is helpful for understanding the elements of proper swing motion, and preparing each shot before stepping up to the ball. Use your mind to assess distance to the hole, wind, lie, hazards–and then decide which club and what kind of shot to play.
Positive, confident thoughts always lead to better results than anxious or negative thinking. That little white ball demands concentration, focus and positive self-talk. “Mental toughness” – the ability to remain focused in the face of distractions, pressure, and adversity – is a crucial skill when facing the challenges of a golf course.
Now, having said all of this, I believe golfers need to think on some new ideas.
These just might lead to new results!
First, There is no such thing as “the mental game.” No matter how much or how well you think or visualize, it’s still a physical thing. Golf always comes down to the physical act of making a swing with your body, club, and ball – with definite physical results every time. Every swing you take and shot you make begins with your thought. Contemplate this and you’ll be aware of yourself thinking as you play. It’s as if, in your body, you can feel yourself thinking!
Where we make a mistake is in separating mind from body, the mental from the physical. The mind is part of the body. It functions through the brain, which is a physical mass that sits inside our head and directs all our physical parts, systems and actions. Mind and body are interwoven and interconnected.
Emotions are woven in as well. A negative thought such as “Oh no, there’s a nasty sand trap on the left, I’ll probably hook or pull it over there” is likely to be either the cause or effect of fear…and a poor physical swing.
Hitting a great shot arouses spontaneous joy and confidence, which can produce more positive thoughts, feelings and swings. Unfortunately, however, our thoughts and feelings seem to move all over the map, of their own accord. And so our swings and scores move up and down, and we struggle with lack of control and consistency.
The second idea then is this: Golf, like life, is really a mental-physical game. A mind-body game. We need to be far more versed in the interplay of our body, thoughts, and feelings.
Trying to master swing mechanics or “the mental game” alone just won’t yield results. Three million people take up the game annually, but three million also quit. And despite huge advances in equipment, technology, instruction and training aids, average golf handicaps have dropped only a fraction. Most golfers remain typically frustrated and reach a plateau where they stay, virtually stuck, for years.
Now here’s the third idea: Intelligence is not only mental, it is present and at work everywhere, in every way. We have been limiting ourselves, trapped in the narrow thought that intelligence is only a function of the human brain. As Dr. Deepak Chopra teaches, we live in an “intelligent energy soup,” a quantum morphic field of “knowingness,” and every cell in the body is encoded with intelligence.
We’ve all experienced intuitive knowing, or a “sixth sense” that provides us with amazing information. Animals, plants, the oceans, winds and skies know perfectly well what to do without thinking about it. Likewise, people can open up to great sources of knowingness that we have been ignoring or blocking off. This is a more holistic way, blending thinking and feeling, east and west, meditation and action. It is guaranteed to work, because it’s the truth of how we’re all made and functioning – whether our minds know it or not!
The fourth idea then is this: Self-mastery is the real key to unlocking our true potential, the missing link out on the links. Everyone can use more understanding of how the human systems of mind, body and emotion function, and to work wisely with their own individual uniqueness. So, to play better golf:
• Exercise and strengthen both body and mind, and create conscious
communication between them.
• Get a good understanding of the golf swing and putting stroke, then use
practices that ingrain the proper action of both mind and muscles.
Golf is a mind-body game, a neuro-muscular happening. Neither golf psychology, or great swing mechanics, or working out at a golf gym will improve your golf alone. It’s ALL important – SO IT ALL MUST BE INTEGRATED. The lessons of golf are truly the lessons of life, universal and “evergreen.” Everyone already has the innate power inside to hit sweet shots and play great rounds of golf, consistently and with confidence. It just takes entering into the unified mind-body field for the “Integrated Zone” to be revealed!
Jamie Zimron is the creator of KiAi Golf, r/evolutionary “Mind-Body Technology for Golfers.” She is a Class A LPGA Teaching Professional, 5th Degree Aikido Black Belt, Sports Psychologist, Master Bodyworker and Mind-Body Fitness Trainer. Known as The Golf Sensei, Jamie teaches seminars, speaks, produces instructional films and books, and loves to work with individuals and groups for greater empowerment, enjoyment and peak performance. You can reach her at
760-492-GOLF (4653) or 1-800-978-5516 / www.kiaigolf.com / Jamie@kiaigolf.com.