golf psychologist

Are You Teaching the “Mental Game?”

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“Golf is 80% mental, 10% ability, 10% luck” - Jack Nicklaus

Mind over Body

If so much of the game is mental, as so many top touring pros contend, why do so few club pros teach the mental game? Many focus almost exclusively on the physical game: swing, stance etc.

I’ve been wondering about this for a while.

It started about five years ago when I was watching an amateur golf tournament. As the winner walked off the 18th green, he nodded to a man in the crowd. I’ll call that man Fred.

I was curious why the golfer had done this and asked Fred about it. It turns out that Fred was the winner’s “golf psychologist”. Fred said he helped the golfer with his mental game.

I wasn’t familiar with the term golf psychologist. But since then, I’ve done a lot of research and become convinced about the importance of the “mental game”.

I now spend a lot of time on my mental game. I think I’ve lowered my handicap as a result.

According to Douglas Juola, author of “GolfNosis: Tee Time for Your Mind” “ … it has been proven that concentrating on the mental side of the game can help golfers by improving their focus, concentration, consistency, and by removing distractions and negative self talk “…

He adds that almost every top professional golfer on the tour uses a golf psychologist or hypnotist.

The Opportunity

Of course, a typical club golfer will probably not hire rock star golf psychologists such as Bob Rotella or Gio Valiante (both PhD’s). But that golfer could hire his or her club pro.

In an era of declining play and diminishing lesson revenue, teaching the mental game could be a win-win-win for your members, your club, and you.

It could help your members improve their games and increase their loyalty to the club. It could also mean more revenue for you.

Getting Started

Your members might be initially reluctant to hire you as their golf psychologist. They might not even know what one is.

They may understand the importance of mental fitness. But you’ll need to educate them about the mental game and how it can improve their overall performance on the course.

You might start by offering a series of one hour workshops.  Topics could include:

  • Maintaining a positive attitude
  • Improving your concentration
  • Visualizing your swing
  • Playing under pressure
  • Monitoring your performance

You might limit attendance in any one workshop to, say, 10 members. Also, you could charge by the workshop or for the entire program.

Use your clinic fees as a benchmark. Perhaps, a single workshop would cost $50 and the entire five workshop series would cost $200.

This may, initially, not be a huge money maker for you. But it could be an effective way to introduce your members to the concept.

The Club Pro as Golf Psychologist

If a member finds the workshops useful, he or she may hire you as his/her golf psychologist.  That is the Holy Grail.

You are no longer waiting around for members to schedule a lesson. You are now a “Coach,” not just a teacher.

As I pointed out in the January and February issues of The Golf Pro Advisor, there are many advantages to being a coach. These include: higher fees and an ongoing relationship with a member.

When you launch your “mental game” program,” you’ll need to promote both the workshops and the coaching program.

Mental Game Teaching Qualifications

If you’ve never taught the mental game, you may wonder whether you’re qualified to do so. You probably are.

You know the mental game even if you’ve never taught it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be a successful golf pro.

But in order to teach the mental game, you need a formal program. You need to “preach what you practice.” That means putting it on paper.

There are a variety of ways to develop your program. One is to get certified to teach the mental game.

To find out more about certification, ask your fellow head pros for recommendations. Otherwise, you can do a Google search for certification programs.

There is also plenty to read on the subject. Amazon lists 526 titles under the term “mental game of golf.”

In addition, there are articles and resources galore on the Internet. A Google search under the term “Mental Game of Golf” yields 32 million results.

By combining what you already know with some research, you can develop the raw material for your program.

Then, you’re on your way to creating a new line of business. It’s also a new way to maximize your income and value to your club.

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