Why golf has more gamble than you think

Golf club and ball with a Ten Dollar Bill betFor those of you that don’t know, I started as a mental game coach for golfers after using counselling psychology to fix my own mental game issues as a professional golfer. I then moved over to poker where I found a lot of success helping world-class professional poker players overcome their own mental weaknesses. One of the biggest issues poker players (and traders) have to deal with is variance. No matter how skilfully they execute a decision, they can still lose money because of bad luck. However, over the long term, if they are able to continue making good decisions, they will be rewarded.

Many people might think this volatility is just pertinent in fields where uncertainty is rife like poker and trading, but that is not the case. The fact is that there is a great deal of variance in golf, and I have no doubt almost every other sport. However, few people understand or even acknowledge this variance, which leads to mental game issues that hold their progress back.

I’m not talking about misfortune either. While it is certainly true that conditions like weather can play a crucial role in the outcome of a match, that is something we have little control over. What I am talking about is the variation that exists within your own skill set. The fact of the matter is that even when all the conditions remain the same, you will hit a shot differently every time.  Continue reading

Golf is 90% Mental?

dalai_lamaThere is a popular adage in golf, and in many other sports, that the game is “90% mental.” That what separates elite performers from the also-rans is having a strong determination, grit, confidence and other mental game qualities. When you witness elite performers under extreme pressure it can be easy to believe this assertion, and as a mental game coach, I should probably let you believe it. But answer me this:

If the mind was that important to the game, wouldn’t the Dalai Lama be an incredible golfer?

He’s actually quite bad. There’s no doubt the mental game is important, but it isn’t 90% of the game.

Besides if golf is 90% mental and 10% physical, how can we explain the following? Continue reading