Archives for posts with tag: golf

Golf Mind.001

Golf is a game played outside; but mostly played inside; inside your HEAD. 

I recently had the fortune to spend some time at a golf seminar with Geoff Loughrey from the Michael Bannon Golf Team.  Now, for those that don’t recognise that name, Michael was the PGA professional at Holywood Golf Club where he started working with 4 times major winner Rory McIlroy as a junior member, and continues to work with Rory to the present day. Geoff was Michael’s assistant at the golf club, where he trained to become a PGA Pro.  It was interesting to hear about Rory’s early years and especially a view inside the mind of McIlroy!

Now, it must be said, that if the right mindset was paramount for top sports people, then surely the same can be said of top business people? Clearly this is the case and I honestly believe that even business aside, the right mindset can help you achieve in every facet of life.

Just what special ingredient do you have to have to become number 1 in the world, in your chosen profession?

What is it that stands the achievers from the also-rans?

It was evident, from a very early age that McIlroy had a desire to become world number one, and that feeling has never left him.  Once he had achieved it, the goal is adapted, to stay there.  During 2015, with the continued brilliance of the American Jordan Spieth and the Australian, Jason Day, snapping at Rory’s heels and claiming pole position, the desire is still burning strong for McIlroy to reclaim, what he sees as, his title.  Visualisation is a wonderful tool and as a six-year old practising on the fairways of Holywood Golf Club, Rory would often visualise his name above that of his hero, Tiger Woods, on the leaderboard.  So sure was he that he would achieve his dream, that when he was around 10 – 11 years old, he actually wrote a letter to Woods, introducing himself and telling Tiger, ‘I’m coming to get you’!!

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The wonderful Clubhouse at St. George’s Hill Golf Club, Surrey. Taken on the approach to the 9th Green.

It was interesting to hear Geoff speak of the dedication of McIlroy with his practice routines and belief and that he surrounded himself with positives, in fact, those around him, his family and friends, coaches and fellow club members helped him grow up in a balanced way, always encouraging and emphasising all that was good with his game.  How we could do with far more people such as that in the world!  Geoff recalled a match he played against Rory the Youngster whilst he was assistant pro at the club.  On a par 4, Geoff had put his ball on the green with his second shot whilst Rory had found the green-side bunker.  Trying to psychologically upset McIlroy, as they both walked to the green, Geoff pointed out that he was on the green yet Rory had found the bunker.  McIlroy’s response epitomised his positiveness; ‘Geoff, I LOVE bunker shots!’ to which he quickly dispatched the ball from the sand and it came to rest near the hole for a tap-in par 4.

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Enjoying Brockett Hall Golf Club, Hertfordshire.  Ex-Arsenal & Scottish Internationals, Frank McLintock & George Graham, winners and successful people in their own right.. how much belief did they have at the peak of their careers?  A winning mindset is crucial in whatever you do.

So what can we learn from Rory’s mental approach in sport, business AND life?

Instead of dreading certain aspects, learn to enjoy them, in fact, even if that seems like a struggle, start to lie to your mind…. your mind is not fussed, in fact it’s quite used to it and will steadily start to interpret the new information you are sending it.  Ever woken up in the night, having dreamt (or perhaps more accurately, having a nightmare) where you are falling?  Now clearly you haven’t fallen, yet your mind thinks you have, your heart will be beating faster, your breathing shallow and perhaps even a cold-sweat; classic stress symptoms, because your ‘mind’ thought you were actually falling.  It is therefore perfectly acceptable to lie to your mind (but here’s a tip… tell it only good stuff)!

Success favours the brave! 

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The Millennium Trophy. Won with an incredible amount of belief and taking on brave shots!

To succeed at any sport or in any business, decisions have to be made and not only do you have to make the ‘right’ decisions (or what you believe to be right decisions) you have to do so with bravery.  Have you noticed how brave children are at many things, yet as we become older (and supposedly wiser) we tend to be more cautious.  Ask a 10 year old child to go and climb a tree, they cannot wait to do so, and think about only reaching the top.  Ask an adult to do the same, and the thought patterns are generally ‘I can’t do that, I haven’t climbed a tree for years, what if I fall’? Kids never think of that, they just focus on climbing the tree!  One of my strengths in golf is putting, in fact I’m convinced I’m going to hole every putt.  Many others take on the mindset of ‘get it near the hole’ or ‘what if I miss’, yet if that is the thought going through your head as you strike the ball with the putter, that generally is what you do… get it near the hole!  I have a good friend who I play a lot of golf with who I’ve managed to convince that I am the best putter he’s ever played with!  I enjoy a game of golf with him, as every putt I have to make, he’ll generally say, ‘You never miss these’ or ‘I may as well give that one to you’ from 10 – 12 feet, which merely builds my confidence and belief that I will actually hole the putt.  Be brave, in whatever you do, it is one of the bulk ingredients of success.

Paul McGinley, the guy that holed the winning putt, the tricky, 7 foot, left to right putt on the 18th Green which ensured a European victory in the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry and then went on to be the 2014 Winning Ryder Cup Captain has been heavily into the psychology of golf and success for many years.  Geoff Loughrey told a story of when the two of them shared a putting green prior to a tournament, getting some practice in, getting used to the speed etc. of the greens.  McGinley practiced the whole time with a pair of headphones on!  Loughrey thought it a bit odd, but put it down to him listening to his favourite music, to calm him and relax him whilst he practiced.  After a while and during a break, he asked Paul what music he was listening to, to be told ‘Here, have a listen’.  All he heard was a voice saying ‘You’re the best putter in the world, You’re the best putter in the world, You’re the best putter in the world….’  proof indeed that the more you tell yourself something, good or bad, the more engrained that becomes.  I wonder what was going through McGinley’s mind as he made that winning putt to give the Europeans victory in the Ryder Cup?  I’d put money it was nothing like ‘Don’t miss this’!

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The fantastic Stroke Index 1 hole at Woking Golf Club, Surrey. A tough, but brilliant Par 4.

Whether you are playing sports or, as I’ve said, want to become more successful in business, or simply want a better life, live in the positive world.  Think and tell yourself things that you can do, rather than focussing on what might go wrong.

Psychology surrounds us, and everyone is a psychologist!  My own observations are that there are too many bad ones… people that analyse why they CAN’T do something or hark on about the fear of failure.  Many people won’t know they can’t do something because they’ve never actually tried, their fear stops them at even attempting it!  Crazy huh?

The gem that Geoff Loughrey left me with was the story of the first time that Rory McIlroy was to play in a tournament with Tiger Woods, his hero from as far back as he could remember.  Picture the scene, Woods at one end of the range, Rory at the other.  As good as you are at controlling nerves, just imagine how you would feel competing against your hero and the current World Number One, and had been for a considerable time.  It was clear to Michael Bannon, who still coaches Rory to this day, that McIlroy was nervous.  His body language, his demeanour, there were signs of nerves.  (Who wouldn’t be)!  Michael told Rory to keep practising and he would be back shortly, and then, casually wandered along, as discreet as he could be, to watch Woods practising.  Tiger was hitting balls seemingly for fun!  His coach would say, hit a low one; and he did. Hit a fade, left to right; and he did. Now a high draw, right to left; and he did.  In fact Woods was looking awesome!

Michal Bannon returned to where his prodigy, young McIlroy was practising and simply said ‘I think this could be our day.  Tiger’s hurt his back, I’m not even sure he’ll be able to play!  He’s topping balls, and slicing drives’.  McIlroy, clearly felt that maybe, yes, this was his day, and you can only play the person in front of you, whether that person is carrying an injury is really not your problem.  McIlroy’s body language changed with this news, he relaxed and started to hit some great balls.

After 9 holes, McIlroy was 1 hole up and asked Woods how his back was holding up!  You can imagine the response, and McIlroy caught the eye of Bannon in the crowd who simply gave a sheepish grin and a thumbs up!  Rory went on to win the match, having been given the belief before they even stepped on the tee, more evidence came when he was 1 up at the turn, and sometimes that is exactly what you need; Belief!

How many things could YOU achieve, this week, this month, this year, with a little more belief? What pressing engagements have you got to attend, maybe make a speech or deliver a presentation?

One of my favourite Muhammad Ali quotes is ‘I told myself I was the greatest, even before I knew I was’.  Pure belief, and when you think about it… it works!

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Who has the right MIND to win the 144th Open Championship?

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So, who will win the 144th Open Championship?  Ordinarily, on a Sunday evening, the Champion would have been crowned and, many photographs later, no doubt be in the bar, celebrating their win… but not this year!  Due to a rain delay, followed by a severe wind delay which wrote off most of the third day, the 2015 Championship will be decided, for only the second time, on a Monday.

It’s interesting (and pleasing) to note, going into the final round there is a three way tie for the lead, with one of those, Paul Dunne, an amateur.  I’m sure his eye will be on the trophy, though any cash prize will go to the second placed person, should he win!  The top three only lead by a single shot, with Current Masters and US Open Champion, Jordan Spieth in 4th place, two-times Open Champion Padraig Harrington in 5th place and a further 9 players, tied in 6th place, just three shots off the lead.  When you consider that Paul Lawrie, in 1999 won The Open from 10 strokes behind on the final day, you could be looking at 70 players having a chance.

What will make the difference?

Without any doubt, these guys can play! Technically, they are magicians with the ball, seemingly able to control the ball, hit high balls, low balls, balls that move left to right, right to left, depending on the shape of the hole and position of the flag… so will it come down to just getting lucky on the day?  Well, we all need a little luck, but as I’ve said many times previously, you tend to put yourself in position to make your own luck in this world.

Once you can play golf, as with many sports, it is mental strength that often defines your success.  The player that truly believes he can win, is focussed on the win and can actually visualise himself lifting the Claret Jug will be the person that wins.  There will be some that start to doubt themselves, not committing fully to the shot, not trusting their own ability… they will be the runners up.

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Jason Day, Joint 3rd Round Leader

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Louis Oosthuizen, joint 3rd Round Leader

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Paul Dunne (A), joint 3rd Round Leader

So who would you put money on?  Paul Dunne, the Amateur from Ireland played a blistering third round and has only good memories… a surprise contender, he looks calm and confident in his ability.  Louis Oosthuizen, an Open winner in 2010, again, knows how to get past the finish line but when he won five years ago, he had a reasonable lead going into the final round.  Jason Day, the Australian, is surely due a major win, having been runner up in several previous Majors, although that could work against him, if he believes he will only be a runner up.

Jordan Spieth just HAS to be a favourite, going for the Grand Slam of Majors and only a fool would bet against him.  His mental strength to cope with the pressure has been proven in both of this years earlier competitions.  As an outsider, Padraig Harrington knows how to win, yet having been out of the limelight for a good few years, perhaps a third Claret Jug is a bridge too far?

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Jordan Spieth, Great mental strength has captured him The Masters 2015 and the US Open 2015.

Dustin Johnson, leader of the first and second round saw himself fall to five shots off the lead, with three bogey’s over the final three holes of the third round.  Dustin has been very close in a number of Major’s, yet, has made sloppy mistakes and seems fragile and unable to finish off the job, a true sign that he doesn’t have the mental strength.  I believe he deserves a Championship and will achieve it one day, but I doubt 2015 is his year.

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Dustin Johnson, a fantastic player with the ability to boom drives down the fairway.. but maybe lacking in mental strength for him to finish the job?

With technical ability not in question, who do I expect to win?

Jordan Spieth would be my tip, with a close second, Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Dunne.  Watch out for Justin Rose, as an outside bet though.. a technically gifted player and one that has proven mental strength.  One thing I am sure…. this Open Championship will go to a play-off!

For more information and workshops that can increase your OWN mental strength, either in sport, work or personal life, DO drop us a line!

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Phil Mickelson, the pro-golfer from the States, recently won The Open, held at Muirfield, Scotland. Mickelson has won many tournaments during his professional career, including three Masters and a USPGA Championship, yet, even after twenty attempts had never won The Open title, in fact up until this year had never won on British Soil! Without doubt he has one of the best short-games in golf, yet playing on a links course, as befits The Open Championship he seemed to struggle.
Now, he had two choices, either accept that whilst he had mastered the game in the States an Open Championship would always allude him… or… change his strategy and tactics, practice hard and have the belief in himself and his game to win on a links-style course.
The rest is history, for not only did he put in hours of practice on courses similar to where Open Championships are held, he made the journey to Scotland the week before and won, after a play-off, The Scottish Open. Perhaps buoyed by this inaugural win on UK soil, exactly a week later he was lifting the Claret Jug, his name written in history.
Sometimes the final piece of the jigsaw is to have that belief that one day, when all the factors are in place, you have put in the preparation, then the prize is yours?

Never ever underestimate the power of the mind! How many attempts do you give something before giving up? It took Phil twenty years to achieve his target, how long will yours take?

On a recent Golf day, albeit not as grand as The Open, I had a pretty average front 9 holes, nothing spectacular, and to be honest going through the motions. The back 9 started, to say the least, pretty average again, bogeying (1 over par) the 10th hole before sinking an 8 foot putt for birdie (one under par) at the Par 3 11th. Sometimes you need that little piece of ‘lady luck’ to kick-start what you are doing and I confidently strode onto the 12th Tee before dispatching my drive down the fairway. A wedge to the green left a 20 foot putt that I carefully lined up… and sunk! Two birdies, back-to-back… I was on a roll! Next came a Par five and having found the green in two I narrowly missed the Eagle putt (2 under par) but tapped-in for birdie. The 14th hole, a par 4 was long, but downhill and having driven the centre of the fairway my second shot was pulled to the left. My playing partner commented at the time, ‘That’s a shame, you’ve spoiled your sequence’ to which I replied, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll chip it in’. Yes, you’ve guessed it, with a sand wedge in hand, from about 32 feet away, the ball sailed over the bunker, bounced a couple of times on the green before running up to the hole and dropping in the cup! Birdie number 4!! How long could this run continue? At the 15th, another par 4 I was 5 foot from the pin in two, and confidently stroked the putt home (I was beginning to rue the sloppy 3 putt on the par 5 tenth now)! Holes 16, 17 and 18 were uneventful… but were all played in level par, in fact I missed a 6 footer for birdie at the last, but wow, what a round of golf! Take your opportunities when you have them, and keep believing!

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Longest Day Golf
Here are a few words to let you know of a charity event I am participating in on 21st June 2013. I appreciate that you, like myself, get many requests for charitable donations and we cannot always give to every request, however, here’s a charity that many would happily pay into and be grateful never to require its support.

Statistics tell us that one in three of us will, possibly, get cancer and it’s the toughest thing most of us will ever face. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, or a loved one has, you’ll want a team of people in your corner supporting you every step of the way. Macmillan Cancer Support provides medical and financial support and push for better cancer care. http://www.macmillan.org.uk

The team event I have entered this year is to spend around 14 hours on a golf course trying to play 72 holes of golf in a single day as part of Macmillan Cancer Support’s, “Longest Day Golf Challenge”.

For a seasoned golfer this may appear to be ‘heaven’ and of course, I will enjoy it, but considering we will each play over 300 shots, walk well over 25,000 yards, it will prove to be a tough day…. but not nearly as tough as fighting serious illnesses.

East Herts Golf Club has kindly donated access to the course for the day for all four team members and they are also putting on lunch for us. The course is in great condition, so if you would like to pop along and support us during the day, just let me know!

We will be teeing off at 5am and not likely to finish until after 9pm.

I am hoping that you will help with the sponsorship to help raise funds for this valuable cause, no matter what the amount.

Please either email me a pledge or feel free to visit our Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/3POMSandanAUSSIE .

Many thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you.

Gary

garyboyes@imduk.com
07876 444439