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Improve your game from your inbox – Body Language

Improve your game from your inbox – Body Language

Coen Welsch on the Psychology of Golf

According to the the winner of the 2017 PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, Justin Thomas, had the swagger of a champion long before winning his first major.

The dictionary defines a swagger as walking or behaving in a very confident and arrogant or self-important way. Justin Thomas has reason to have a swagger as with this win he joins a select list of players since 1960 to win four tournaments, including a major, in a single season at 24 years old or under: Jack Nicklaus (1963), Tiger Woods (1999, 2000), Rory McIlroy (2012) and Jordan Spieth (2015). (Source:

Tip of the week – Strut your stuff

Psychologist Amy Cuddy and her colleagues did some research in the field of body language.

We know that our minds influence our bodies. We have used several examples in past articles about how our mindsets and thoughts influence our results. Famously, for example, we refer to Jordan Spieth’s collapse at the Masters when he told his caddy Michael Greller: “Buddy, it feels like we are collapsing.”

Once that thought enters your mind it is almost inevitable that the collapse will happen. What Cuddy and her colleagues found with their research is that our bodies also influence our thoughts. Therefore, if you have a swagger like Thomas you will start to feel more confident.

I had a golf lesson a while ago where the local instructor at Omeya Golf Club told me to “do the pose” after I concluded my swing. You know the picture: your body is completely unwound, the club has gone through the complete flight plane and your right foot is on its toe to complete the swing.

Lo and behold when I started trying to imitate what a finish to a good shot looks like, I started making better shots. Albeit anecdotal this example shows that our body language influences our mindset and even our actions on the golf course.

Next time you find yourself on the golf course, don’t drop your shoulders in a hunch and slouch around the course. Lift your head up and with your back straight, strut your stuff like Justin Thomas.

Quote of the week

“I feel like I’m capable and playing well enough to give myself a chance in it,” – Rory McIlroy after deciding not to rest a rib injury and attempt to become the first person to win the FedExCup back to back.

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About The Author

Coen Welsh

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 or send a comment to [email protected]