Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Welcome to my view of the world of golf. I am excited that GolfLink.com
has provided the facilities for me to communicate with golfers around
the world. I have already written two books on the psychology of
golf "The New Golf Mind" and "Mind Over Golf" as well as audio tape/workbook series "Golfing Out of Your Mind" but by the time books
are written and published, there is often an 18 month lag time before
they are in the hands of readers. GolfLink.com will allow both instantaneous
as well as interactive opportunities for me to teach golfers about
the psychology of learning and playing golf.
I became fascinated with the psychology of sport at an early age
because my father coached basketball, football and baseball in a
small town in Kentucky. I started attending games at the tender
age of four months and spent many long hours watching my father's
teams practice and compete. He is an outstanding coach who understood
psychology from an intuitive point of view rather than an academic
perspective. I played basketball and baseball at the high school
level and was a relief pitcher in college. My interest in the psychological
aspects of sport was heightened because every time I entered a game
as a relief pitcher, there was a crisis situation awaiting me. I
essentially studied my own emotional reactions to these stress situations
and learned a great deal about stress and tension during competition.
In graduate school at Indiana University I roomed with a PGA Teaching
Professional who was working on a Ph.D. in Physical Education. I
volunteered to tutor him in statistics if he would teach me to play
golf. As I learned to play golf, I began to apply all of the content
I was learning in my educational psychology courses to the game.
At that time, there were no formal programs in sport psychology
so I began to put together courses from different perspectives to
develop this specialty area of my own.
After graduation, I joined the faculty at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. I stated working with the golf team in
1975 and with the other athletic teams in 1983. One of the more
interesting athletes who took up the game of golf shortly before
his last year in school was a guy named Jordan. I enjoyed several
golfing trips to Pinehurst with Michael as he started to get very
serious about learning the game.
In 1985, I began working with Ben Crenshaw and other tour players.
After that, word of mouth lead to working with a number of other
tour players. I have learned something from every player with whom
I have worked. Have also been very fortunate to have been associated
with a number of outstanding teaching professionals many of who
are on the staff of GolfLink.com. In teaching with these true professionals
in golf schools or doing seminars with them at PGA sponsored educational
activities, I got a wonderful education in the golf swing and how
the game should be played.
Over the years, I have learned that great psychology cannot overcome
poor physics on the golf course. But, then again, even the great
ball strikers need to master the psychology of the game. In my view,
there is room for both physics and psychology and GolfLink.com provides
us the opportunity to integrate these two essential pieces of this
great game of golf.
Dr. Richard Coop