About Keeping Your Head Down And Golf

There are many tips bandied around in golf that are open to misinterpretation and misapplication. “You looked up” or “You peeked” are variations of the “Keep your head down” theme.

A friend commented the other day that I’m really good at keeping my head down when powering my ball out of thick rough. OK, yeah, I know you’re not meant to be in the rough, but inevitably the ball finds its way in there more often than a golfer likes, me included. I just laughed and commented that when my ball is in the rough I watch it as intently as a cat watching a mouse.

For the remainder of the round, every time she addressed her ball I could hear her telling herself to “play kitty cat”! Playing kitty cat worked rather well for her; so well, in fact that we ended up having a discussion about why that thought just clicked for her. She had been telling herself to keep her head down, and to not peek, to not look up for a while and the results were unpredictable. In reality, her previous instructions to herself on this subject hadn’t been working very well at all.

So why did “playing kitty cat” work so well? The answer is extraordinarily simple. The instruction provided a very clear and precise purpose that is appropriate and relevant in golf. It told her to watch that ball, to keep her eyes glued to that ball.

In contrast, “Keep your head down” actually does not precisely apply to its real intent. It is entirely possible to keep your head down but not really be watching the ball, thereby missing the entire purpose of the command. The alternative options of “Don’t look up” or “Don’t peek” trigger an even more inappropriate result as the human mind tends to do the reverse when faced with an instruction prefixed by “don’t”.

The moral of the story is that if “play kitty cat” means to you to watch the ball like a cat watching a mouse then the result will be that you are telling yourself to watch the ball very, very intently, and then you are more than likely to do just that. If “play kitty cat” means to you rolling around on the ground inviting someone to rub your tummy then it won’t help your golf game one iota!

A golfer has to be very careful to understand and appreciate the purpose of any tip or instruction. If you don’t fully understand why you are meant to be doing something, either mental or technical, then you are more than likely going to misapply it. Then you are likely to think that the tip just doesn’t work.

It is also incredibly vital for a golfer to understand the impact of his or her mind upon the game. The example above of the way in which your mind can twist a “Don’t” instruction around so that it becomes a “do” command shows very clearly how important it is to know how to get your mind to remain upon your side whilst out on the golf course. You really don’t want your mind to wander off upon a frolic of it’s own, or your golf ball will sadly follow suit!

Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.

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