Case Study in lay language: Helping a golfer build self- confidence in several parts of his game

This was a one-to-one consultation with a male golfer who had a handicap of 10, and played golf both competitively and casually with friends. He had been having problems with his tee shots, shots with obstacles nearby (trees in particular), chip and putt game, and when he is in contention late in tournaments.

After an initial session, we had agreed that he was a bit nervous during tee shots, as he knew that was the weakest part of his game, therefore he did expect himself to hit many good ones. During most tee shots, there would be players and spectators watching as well, which made him even more tense and anxious. During shots around trees, we agreed that he was too distracted by them, even when they weren’t close enough to him to interfere with his shots. He said “I won’t hit many good shots from here because all I keep thinking about is the tree behind me”.

One of the main focuses of the consultation was to shift his focus from spectators, trees, and other unwanted distractions, onto cues that he normally focused on during shots on the fairway or at the driving range in the past. These cues were gathered after discussions with the golfer, where we worked together to help him recall his thoughts during successful shots in the past. For shots with obstacles nearly, I suggested an exercise where he’d put his golf bag within his eyesight during shots when he next practiced at a driving range.

His chip and putt game was affected by his lack of confidence due to poor recent form regarding his short game. This caused him to play conservatively as he was unwilling to take risks, leaving his chips and putts short of the hole. We worked together to design an innovative exercise, and he set himself a target that he had to achieve before moving onto the next stage. This exercise worked well and he was able to reach all his goals after a specific goal setting strategy was introduced.

Lastly, he would get nervous during tournaments in which he had a chance of winning. This led to his heartbeat increasing, which would affect his performance. This caused him to consciously control his whole swing, instead of just doing what he usually does, which is concentrate only on the types of swings and the intended outcome of the shots. Therefore, our focus was to develop a consistent pre-shot routine, so that he could concentrate on the relevant things before every shot, regardless of the occasion. A specific 3-step routine was subsequently developed and implemented.

Overall, the feedback that I received from him was very positive, and he believed the consultation had improved the mental side of his game. He particular enjoyed the implementation and creation of his pre-shot routine, as well as using his golf bag as an obstacle during practice sessions. He was really engaged in the discussions during the consultation, and the techniques introduced had increased his concentration during different shots and situations, as well as his confidence in his overall game.

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