As a golf instructor who loves teaching the mechanics of the golf swing and short game, I certainly understand the importance of a strong mental game. Once a player gets to a proficient level with technique, it is time to think of exploring the mental aspects of the game. The best system that I have found for teaching the mental game is GolfPsych. Leading sports psychologist Dr. Deborah Graham and Jon Stabler identified eight crucial personality traits that separate true champions from the rest. This program challenges the golfer to explore the elements of their own personality as measured against the personality traits of the most successful golfers in the world.
The GolfPsych profile is based on the “Cattell 16 Personality Factor”questionnaire. Dr. Raymond Cattell is one of the leading researchers in the nation on personality and psychology. When a golfer decides he is serious about wanting to improve his mental game, I have him complete this questionnaire as the very first step. The results of the questionnaire provide valuable information that enables me to outline a path for the student’s improvement in their mental game.
The personality traits that impact a golfer’s mental game are listed below (the eight traits of a champion golfer are underlined):
Cool vs. Warm (focus trait);
Concrete Thinking vs. Abstract Thinking;
Submissive vs. Dominant;
Tender-minded vs. Tough-minded;
Group-oriented vs. Self-sufficient
Emotionally Reactive vs. Emotional Stability
Relaxed vs. Tense
The results of a golfer’s questionnaire are scored on a scaleof one to ten and then compared to the results of all of the champion golfers that have been tested over the last twenty five years. There is a 95% level of consistency as to the range that the champions score on this scale within these eight traits. My job as an instructor involves identifying a student’s weaknesses and providing tools to enable the student to strengthen his/her weaker personality traits to think more like the champion golfers. If you have a tendency to loose concentration, lack confidence, get angry, swing too fast, or putt poorly under pressure, you should probably focus more on the mental aspects of golf.