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Improve your game from your inbox – Psyched Up, not Psyched Out

Improve your game from your inbox – Psyched Up, not Psyched Out

Coen Welsh on the Psychology of Golf

It took a playoff against Charles Howell III for Kyle Stanley to get back into the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour. His last win was in 2012 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. asked the question: “Did he wonder if he’d ever get it back?” “There was some doubt there for a little bit,” Stanley said, wiping away the tears after outlasting Howell and a brief rain storm. “Yeah, I mean, it’s no fun. You certainly question if you’ll get back to, you know, and have a moment like this. It makes this pretty special, for sure.”

It has been an emotional weekend for Kyle Stanley after getting close at THE PLAYERS earlier this season. (Stanley was co-leader after the second and third rounds. He eventually finished T4.)

He had to keep those emotions at bay during the final round as well as the playoff with Howell.

To do this he needed focus and concentration.

Tip of the week – Psyched Up, not Psyched Out

I have commented on the use of a pre-shot routine as a tool to focus and to get rid of unwanted emotions many times. This is one technique in your toolbox of golf tricks that can really help you improve your game.

Daniel McGinn, author of Psyched Up, took this tool normally reserved for elite sportsmen and women to the workplace. In this book he describes how our daily routines prime us and prompt us for action.

Take your morning routine at work for example. Maybe you enter the room, put down your bag, switch on your laptop, then go get some coffee etc. This routine primes your body to be ready when you eventually sit down to work.

In an interview with Time Magazine, Ian Rickson, director of the broadway show ‘The River’ said: “Actors are like athletes, and they need the same rigor and care that Usain Bolt might take before running one hundred meters. In my experience the really committed and interesting actors are really quite thorough about what their warm-up is before a performance.”

Bringing this back to golf, my point here is to emphasize your pre-shot and even pre-round ritual.

Like the actors in the quote above, be deliberate about your pre-shot routine. Don’t just go through the motions. Actively go through the sequence to ensure that when you start your swing you are Psyched Up each time and not Psyched Out by your emotions, thoughts or feelings.

Quote of the week

“Staying in the present is the key to the golfer’s game: Once you start thinking about a shot you just messed up. You’re lost”. – Paul Azinger

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Coen Welsh, a qualified industrial psychologist, is an expert on the Antecedents and underlying Psychological Conditions predicting Employee Engagement.He has worked in diverse teams in the UK, Egypt and Namibia. Coen regularly gets invited to speak at HR and other conferences. He is a regular contributor to NBC National Radio as well as Tupopyeni and Off-the-Hook on NBC Television. He is a founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia. You can visit him at



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A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.