Tag Archive for 'golf'

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Sport, role and ball dimensions

The National Science Foundation announced the following study results on corporate America recreation preferences:

  1. Sport of choice for maintenance level employees: bowling.
  2. Sport of choice for front line workers: football.
  3. Sport of choice for supervisors: baseball.
  4. Sport of choice for middle management: tennis.
  5. Sport of choice for corporate officers: golf.

Conclusion: the higher you are in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls.

Review book: Golf Flow

Golf Flow

Master you mind, master the course

Gio Valiante,

Human Kinetics, 2013, p. 228


In the title is already explained the goal the golfer has to achieve: let flow the mind and the shot will be good. The author, Gio Valiante was named one of the 40 most influential under-40 people in golf  by Golf Magazine and in this book he talks about flow not only from the theoretical point of view but also from the side of the PGA golfer experiences.

Reading Golf Flow we understand the mental side of golf. It could seem obvious because every person knows that golf is a mental game but here we find explained in which way  this happen; in which way the golfers use their time, practice the control, tune the effort and develop the awareness regarding the performance.  Valiante provides a great deal of current research  and he is never trivial when providing his advices. The amateur golfers reading this book will find many ideas to start their mental practice.

In my opinion the best part of Golf Flow is that one regarding the current top PGA pros, who talk through the author about their mental flow state, saying how much it permitted them to cope under pressure. This book may give the competitive golfers another tool to take their game to their highest level. The amateur golfers will find useful information coming from different top golfers and  from these different persons and experiences they can find that one is better for them.  The many professional insights about his work with the top golf are like this one:

“As it happens for many golfers, Justin’s instinct told him to go into Sunday and to be aggressive right to get-go. The details vary from golfer to golfer, but the philosophy is a cowboy version of golf that goes something like this: “Fire at every flag, go for par fives in two, be aggressive on every putt, and throw all strategy, patience, and ball placement to wind. I asked Justin to do the opposite and let patience and discipline define the round by using the first few holes to establish the rhythm of his routine.”

The book is full of these experiences and for this reason I believe that it’s very useful for the golfer of every level and for the coaches and sport psychologists who want to know better the mental side of the golf.

Jason Day: a bath of humility

When the ball goes into the water, off his shoes and pants rolled up … so did Jason Day  at the hole two during the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville. He did not only a bath in the watert but also a bath of humility to remember to yourself how hard it’s to do your best.

Matteo Manassero’s mental attitude

Matteo Manassero, 20 years old golf champion, has clear ideas about some of the mental aspects in which instead most of the young, too talented, shows the wrong attitude. Perhaps it is a champion thanks to this way of living golf.

The points are these:

Errors: “Can I afford to waste a week … I have to remind to myself more often: if I play bad for a month, it’s not the last of my life. Life I still all in front of  me.”

Fun: “I vary the shots, completing a lap without making mistakes.  It’s nice when I shot and the ball goes straight, when I walk and  conclude the putt.”

Attitude of the golfer: “Looking at the expressions, attitudes before under pressure shots: the top player is unflappable, always. Besides observing the elegance and the pace of technical movements, the perfect balance of the swing.”

(Interview published today in the Italian newspaper laRepubblica)

The Dan Plan and 10.000 hours to become progolf

The Dan Plan

Dan Laughlin, the thirty year old photographer, who three years ago decided to become a professional golfer from scratch is testing the theory of the psychologist Anders Ericsson that is possible if it takes 10,000 hours of practice. Dan after three years and 5.000 hours got a handicap of 5.2 and still be covered almost half of the way. Will he make to achieve this dream which nobody would have bet? What it’s certain is that so far has already achieved something important, to demonstrate that an adult person, even without any previous competitive experience in sport, thanks only to his commitment can get a surprising result for the low handicap achieved in such a short time.

Follow him on: http://thedanplan.com/

It’s need to coach the mind to compete

Although many coaches recognize the decisive role played by the mind in favor/hinder the sport performance, there are still many who think that mental difficulties are overcome by training more or participating in more competition. Typically those who think in this way are convinced that at some point the athlete will be unlocked and will start for him/her a new winning phase of  the career. Briefly, you have to compete, gain experience and then, won the first tournament, things will settle. I meet many athletes and they tell me stories like these one but with a different and negative end,  because they still have the same problems, affecting more and more their self-confidence. They say that they train well and in competition they always repeat the same mistakes. I then explain, what I have repeated hundreds of times and that is that to have the technical skill (whatever sport) does not mean to know how to cope with the race, which is a different thing. When these athletes become aware of this difference, usually calm down and at this point I can explain to them that follow a program of mental coaching is really helpful to learn how to drive your own mind in the race.

Is it possible to become golfer professional starting at 30 years old?

At what point is the challenge of Dan McLaughlin. Never having played 18 holes of golf, in April 2010, McLaughlin quit his job as a commercial photographer to pursue a goal of becoming a top professional golfer through 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. During the first 18 months, improvement was slow as McLaughlin first practiced his putting, chipping, and his drive. Then, as he began to put the various pieces together, improvement accelerated, consistent with hyper-growth behavior. While he didn’t track how quickly his handicap decreased, 28 months into the project, he has surpassed 91% of the 26 million golfers who register a handicap with the US Golf Association database. Not surprisingly, his rate of improvement (if measured as handicap) is now slowing as he faces competition from the top 10% amateur golfers (5,8 handicap). After three years of practice McLaughlin is in the middle of  his journey, he played for about 5.500 hours and he has the same time to satisfy the 10.000 rule of deliberate practice needed to reach the excellence for the psychologist Anders Ericcson. His goal is to become in this time a professional golfer. This Laughling choice is very interesting and till now unique in sport, because it is the first time that a single individual, with no previous sport experiences as athlete, not young but adult, tries to show that the excellence can be achieved only through the persistent commitment  of deliberate practiced

Yasmina al-Sharshani, the Qatari lady golfer

In Qatar, sport became more and more important not only for men bu also for women. Also in golf the ladies are finding their place. The golfer Yasmina al-Sharshani (26 years old), a young and dynamic Qatari lady with a great personality, graduated from the Sports Science Program at Qatar University, represents the State of Qatar in International Golf Tournaments and she is already training for the Rio Games in 2016. “The 2016 Olympics in Brazil is my ambition because the golf sport will be included after 112 years of absence. So I am preparing myself for the Olympics and I hope to have the chance to represent my country, Qatar,” she said.

Woods’ and Snedeker’s resiliency

After three days of competition at the 77th Masters Tournament in Augusta, Tiger Woods has shown what it means to be resilient. He was penalized two points for a technical mistake, severe penalty when you play at this level. Back to the field for a new round, Woods was nervous and made some ​​mistakes caused by this situation, then he changed his state of mind in a positive way, concluding in the 7th position +4 from the tournament head (Snedeker and Cabrera, 209) and with the opportunity to continue to compete for the victory.

Snedeker, ranked fifth in the world, is not there for holiday. The American remembers  that he leads in the final round at Augusta five years ago but crumbled under the pressure and finished tied for third. He is another example of resiliency:

He said: “I’ve spent 32 years of my life getting ready for tomorrow and it’s all been a learning process … I’m not here to get a good finish. I’m not here to finish top-5. I’m here to win.”

Tiger Woods: “I want to become better”

It was asked Tiger Woods after his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month if he had aspirations to recapture his finest touch. The answer? “I don’t want to become as good as I once was. I want to become better.”