Imagery Techniques for Golf

By Lois Lawrence

Golf coaches have long understood the importance of mental preparedness and positive attitude in golf. A Michigan State University study showed that golfers told to think about avoiding mistakes got worse while those who imagined acing the hole improved.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery involves a form of meditation, allowing players to focus their mind and body on playing their best game. A guided imagery coach typically assists the player to relax deeply using a variety of techniques, including deep breathing and calming suggestion. Then he instructs the player to imagine himself perfectly executing the golf strokes that he wants to perfect.

Independent Imagery

While a professional coach may be an option for your favorite PGA Tour member, most golfers are not prepared to hire a mental coach. Luckily, using imagery to improve your golf game is a skill that can be taught so the participation of a coach is no longer needed. It takes some practice to be able to trigger a relaxation response and to focus on a task, but practice pays off. Shut out all distractions and imagine what you want to achieve as you slip into deep relaxation. 

Positive vs. Suppressive Thoughts

Professor of psychology Sian Beilock and others at Michigan State University compared the effects of "suppressive" thoughts, such as "don't hit the trap," with the effects of positive imagery--imagining oneself successfully making the shot--and found that suppressive thoughts harmed performance while positive imagery enhanced it. Simply put, focus on what you want to happen rather than on what you are afraid will happen. 

Brain Changes

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, scientists can see what areas of the brain change when a golfer is imagining herself hitting a shot well. By spending at least a little time relaxing and visualizing shots, golfers can increase consistency while lowering their scores. 


About The Author

Lois Lawrence is an attorney and freelance writer living and working in Stonington, Conn. She has written on many subjects including travel, food, consumerism, relationships, insurance and law. Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1976, and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979.


Jennifer Hagen just Went PRO!

Ivan Bryant just Went PRO!

Aj Stuckey Scored 74 at Eagle Valley Evansville, Indiana

William Crawford just Went PRO!

Roy Auld Scored 94 at Deercreek Jacksonville, Florida

View Activity Feed

Video of the Day
Buried Bunker Shots Watch Video>>

Related Articles

Article Image How to Hit a Golf Ball on a Bad Lie

What could be worse than hitting a perfect drive and you find that it h...

Article Image Golf Tips to Swing Hard

Under most circumstances, golfers are urged to swing the club with some...

Article Image How to Grip a Golf Club

Of all the things you must learn to play better golf, the grip is the m...

Article Image How Can I Get More Distance Out of My Driver?

The driver is the most difficult club to hit since it is the longest. T...

Article Image How to Eliminate a Golf Slice

A persistent golf slice is the mark of an amateur. This occurs when the...

View All Related Articles

Golf Equipment Tip of the Day

How Clubfitting Can Lower Your Golf Score
by Charlie Schroeder and Ryan M. Noll
"Welcome to Switzerland," a man in a white lab coat says as we near a door marked "R & D: Employees Only." Opposite this door, a guy is driving golf balls into a net about 10 feet in front of him. Off to his side, another man in a white lab coat is monitoring his progress on a computer screen, analyzing ball spin, launch angle, and a variety of other numbers and graphs. "We're a non-biased facility; we don't care what you play with," says John German, Supervisor of Fitter Operations for Hot Stix, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based golf lab that looks more like the set of CSI.