Imagine That!

By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

To add the power of imagery to your golfing repertoire, you should invest a week or so thinking about your past golf shots. Please note that this is not simply reminiscing but something far more powerful. It involves creating a ‘mental bin’ of your best shots, also known as your Catalogue of Best Shots – a record of images that you’ll use to improve every swing you make – short game or full swing.

Greg Norman, once the world’s number one golfer for 331 straight weeks, describes his Catalog of Best Shots, “You want to file the good ones away for future reference. That way, you’ll be able to bring them back as part of another reinforcement technique – visualization. You envision the ideal shot in detail. Then you recall similar successful shots from your past and draw confidence from those earlier successes. I can think of favorite shots for every situation I face, and I call them forth each time I play,” he said.

You should compile your Catalog of Best Shots just as Norman did.  Write down one for each club – the best driver, the best wedge, where, when, and how did it feel? Further enhance your catalog by listing your best shots in challenging situations – in a tight match, against a heavy crosswind, over trees…  Then when your plan calls for a high five-iron with a slight fade, you can mentally reference your Catalog of Best Shots and image it as part of your shot routine. Imaging is a power that humans have, and it is a science that tells us that the central nervous system doesn’t know the difference between a perfectly imagined experience and a real one. This is a power you need to harness. Thus, if you learn to recall the perfect image, say of the most perfect five iron you ever hit, then your body is free to execute the current shot with no excess verbal conversation or unnecessary physical manipulations – all you have to do is match your image. Science also tells us that vivid imagery is a skill a player can learn.  In this regard, choose your images carefully.  The most effective images are multi-sensorial — shots that allow you to recall the rhythm of the swing, the sound of contact, the sight of the ball in flight, and the final outcome – plus any other feature that makes the memory vivid. Whenever you play/practice, look for replacement shots with sharper images that are better than those currently in your catalog. Upgrading your databases is an ongoing process, so you get better and better. Once you have constructed your image catalog, replay all the shots in your mind until you burn them into your memory. Make construction of your catalog the center of your range practice and the major topic when you’re doing home-focus on your golf swing. When your catalog is complete and ready to go, you’ll have a brain stocked with the images essential for you to play your best golf.

Imagine that!

The College of Golf at Keiser University can help. With PGA professionals on staff and state-of-the-practice technology available to our students, we can prepare you for the golf career of your dreams. Contact us today for more information.

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