Practicing golf in your mind, mental golf if you like, is just as effective as playing golf and physical practice on the range, if you want to play better golf. As I've written many times before, it also works a lot better when accompanied by golf hypnosis and other golf psychology techniques.

But there's a problem. How do you imagine hitting shots from difficult lies if you're playing an imaginary round? Surely you'd have to hit bad imaginary shots in order to get into the difficult positions. Wouldn't that be bad golf psychology?

When you play golf for real, you'll probably hit the odd bad shot now and then. Hopefully, you're already using a good post-shot routine, so you'll be able to learn from the bad shot and release it to the past. It can't hurt you there. Maybe you could use the "Reset Button" technique Nick Faldo spoke of when commentating on Tiger Woods the other week.

You may remember my earlier article about mental golf practice and recall the story about an American Major, James Nesmeth. He practiced golf in his mind for much of the seven year's he spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. Every day, he played 18 holes of golf in his mind. He imagined everything in vivid detail from the country club he was playing at to the smell of freshly cut grass in the summertime. He would imagine the grip of the clubs and practice his swing mentally many times until he perfected it. In reality, he had no place to go, so he spent four hours a day on the course in his mind never leaving any detail out. When he was released from prison and returned home, he played his first real game of golf after 7 years, he scored 74!

Having said all that, you wouldn't want to see yourself hitting bad shots in your imaginary round, now would you? That would be counterproductive and defeat much of the purpose of practicing with the secrets of hypnotic golf.

So how do you get the opportunity to hit some shots from bad lies and difficult positions around the course without playing the imaginary bad shots that get them there? Well, one way would be to just imagine walking round the course dropping the ball in all those difficult positions. Unfortunately that wouldn't be an actual round of golf and you'd have to unconsciously take responsibility for deciding where might have hit bad shots to. There has to be a better way.

Well, there is a better way. How about playing some of those imaginary rounds in golf hypnosis as foursomes, playing alternate shots with an imaginary partner? You could choose a partner who is a less than consistent player. It could be someone you know that hits a lot of bad shot or just an imaginary partner. That way you'll get to play all sorts of difficult shots, without taking any conscious or unconscious responsibility for the bad shots. After all, you didn't play them that partner of yours did. What's better is that you don't need to worry about his golf, as you'll never play with him in real life!

Now, when you're doing this mental practice, remember to visualise the whole process of playing golf, including your pre-shot routine. And remember to imagine all the usual shot planning, lots of visualisation and comfortable practice swings, before stepping into the shot and hitting it quickly after just one last look at the target. Finally, remember to watch the shot fly and/or roll to a finish, appreciate the good shot and consign it to your memory - just like you would a good shot on the course.

I'm assuming that you don't hit bad shots in your head, so there's no need to learn from them and release them to the past before you hit Nick's "Reset Button."

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Fogg, the Golf Hypnotist, is an enthusiastic golfer, hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner. He is a practicing golf psychologist and author of a soon to be published book "The Secrets of Hypnotic Golf" and a series of golf hypnosis MP3 programmes.

Visit his website for information on how to get the most success, pleasure and enjoyment from the wonderful game of golf. More specifically, it's about how to improve your golf by working on the 90 percent of the game that's played in the 6 inches between your ears.`

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