Well done Michelle Wie on winning the Women's US Open. It is her 4th tour win and her first Major Championship. I am really glad for her as she has been talked about for so long and some feel she has not lived up to what she could have achieved. But really, who has. Most people struggle with the expectation which takes a tremendous amount of mental strength. In my experience being mentally strong is the most difficult component to master. Those inner demons always want to come back. I will talk about how you can deal with your inner demons in a paragraph below.
Tiger Woods makes his return to competition this week. Will his back hold up under the strain? Apparently he could not break 50 for nine holes the first time he played after his surgery. The 79 time PGA tour winner and 14 time Major winner will be keen to get back to winning ways. He has slipped to 5th in the World and is one of only four Americans in the World top ten. How do you think he will do in his comeback event?
Another man that has come back to winning ways is one of our yearly pro-am team members Chris Newnham. Chris won the mid-week medal with a fantastic nett 68. Chris also had his handicap reduced by one to 12. Well done Chris. There were then three players on nett 69. In second place was Will Koch on count back from third place finisher Mick Cox and Dave Nero finishing in fourth.
Paul Woodham from the sports turf research institute visited the course on Tuesday of this week. In the photo he is here with our chair of greens John Preston on the 18th green. Paul is testing the smoothness of the green and he also checked the speed of the green. For club golf greens should run at a stimpmeter reading of 8.5 to 10 and for Championship golf the greens should be running at a stimpmeter reading of 10 to 12. On Tuesday the greens were running at a stimpmeter reading of 9.75. Paul looked over our golf course and he will produce a report that will help us formulate a plan to move the golf course forward.
The STRI report is essential as it is advice from a qualified source and not from someone just giving their opinion on what they think should happen. For example he took soil samples which can tell him if too much water has been applied to the greens.
The Demons We All Have
We all have mental demons come up from time to time. We have them in golf, in our work life and in our personal life. The mental side of golf training is no different from the mental side of life training. Our brain has in it something called the Amygdala (pictured.) This is the fear centre of our brain. If we become stressed for long periods this part of our brain actually increases in size. This is not my opinon but has been proven in scientific studies.
How can we use this for golf? I will tell you in a second What does the Amygdala do? It stimulates fight or flight and releases the stress hormone called Cortisol. This is all absolutely hopeless for golf. We do not want to stimulate the fear centre of our brain in golf, but unfortunately we all have done in the past. Getting angry, nervous and anxious all stimulate this area.
How do we calm it down? Focus on your breathing. Simple isn't it. Just really concentrate on your breathing and nothing else. Make long exhalations when you are breathing. This one thing stimulates relaxation. Again, this is not my opinion and is backed up by scientific research. I first learnt about it from Dr Rick Hanson who is a neuroscientist and the author of Buhdda's Brain. A great book by the way if you want to learn how to improve how your brain works and who wouldn't as it controls everything. Consciously focus on your breathing and over time you will become a calmer more controlled golfer.