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Does your golf practice have emotion?


Every Thursday I take my son & daughter Johan (4) & Juliet (3) swimming.

When leaving the leisure complex, Juliet got left behind and got stuck in the foyer between two automatic glass sliding doors.

All I heard were the screams as Juliet had no idea how to activate the doors to get out.

 Automatic Sliding Door

Juliet got a wee fright, had a wee cry, I gave her a cuddle and we agreed that Daddy was silly for leaving her behind.

For the next few days Juliet talked about getting stuck in the doors & Daddy being silly to anyone who would listen!



Juliet remembered that part of the day as it was linked to emotion.

If I talked to Juliet now a few weeks after the silly Daddy incident she would still remember that part of the day, however highly unlikely Juliet would remember anything else about the day.


So what I want you to do now is close your eyes and think of a good shot you have hit on the golf course that you can remember from years ago. How did that make you feel?

Closed eyes toddler

Next a shot from years ago that you played poorly. How did that make you feel?


Ok now I want you to try and remember a shot that you have hit in practice in the last few years.


Remember any of those great shots you hit at the range?

Doubt it.


Emotion…….or the lack of emotion.

A practice environment devoid of emotion.

Why would you want emotion in a practice environment?

Well the more your practice environment closely replicates similar emotions and feelings you get in your competitive environment the more this practice environment could potentially transfer to performance?

Stands to reason?

So what can be done in practice to get the two environments closely coupled?

The easiest two are consequences and goals.


An example.

This is one of the golf coaching exercises we did over the winter at the Duke’s golf course in St Andrews, Scotland with Ryan a Euro Pro Golfer.

The Euro Pro Tour is played over 3 rounds. The first two rounds count towards making the cut (top 50 and ties survive).

So we tried to simulate tournament play for Ryan over three days.

We figured out (with advise from current a European Tour Player) what the cut would be over two rounds on the European Tour (where Ryan is striving for).

So we set a goal of level to make the cut +2 and -9 to win the tournament over three rounds.

Ryan had to treat every day like a real life tournament (i.e. turn up before hand and go throw his routine of warming up).

So we have the goals.


Now the consequences.

If Ryan missed the cut we gave him 50 lashes…..just kidding.

If Ryan missed the cut he agreed to simulate how he would have to behave when he missed the cut on tour.

Not allowed to play golf the next day and be limited to the golf range, which Ryan does not particularly like.

Ryan suggested if he scored -9 and won the tournament that I wore women’s clothes out on a Saturday night as a forfeit.

Great suggestion, however that ship sailed a long time ago ;-).

So talking to Ryan last night about this training exercise did he remember any of it 7 months on?

He surely did.

‘I scored -2 under in the first round, however in the second round I played pretty poorly and going up the last I had to par it to make the cut. Standing over a 5 foot put on the last having to hole it felt like tournament conditions, even though I was playing on my own.’

So my advice when trying to stretch yourself in practice?

Pick some goals, realistic & just beyond your current ability level and then some consequences, good or bad.

If you struggle to figure out how to do this for yourself give me a shout and we’ll figure it out together.


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