Although a golf fanatic, I’d readily admit that facing Andrew Flintoff in the nets would be more appealing than standing over a tricky four-footer for par. It’s not really a case of suffering the yips, more that I get the odd case of on-course demons.

So, deciding that enough was enough and seeking help from external sources, I headed off to spend a day under the watchful eye of Golf Monthly’s very own mental expert, Gary Leboff. The venue was Hartsbourne Country Club, where Gary offers mental therapy (sorry, that sounds a bit deep, doesn’t it) to those who struggle with the psychological intricacies of the game.

If you’re one of those people, then following mental game golf tips may be of some help…

1. 80% – no golf shot should ever be struck at more than 80%. Start by hitting 60% shots in the net to generate tempo and rhythm.

2. Breathing – a) breathe in, b) breathe out, c) take your shot in the ‘gap’ before the next ‘in’ breath.

3. At address – aim at the highest leaf on the tallest tree directly above your intended line.

4. Remember how I got you to throw a ball towards me? – get your attention OUT towards the target.

5. Over the ball, golfers have a choice – to trust in or doubt their ability. Practise trust.

6. Pitching: Use the clockface. Do you want to hit a 9/10/10.30 etc? Your tendency to decelerate is caused by an overlong backswing

7. Putting: 

a. pre-shot:  take a practice putt from behind the line of the actual putt (not from the side)

b. Entrainment:

 Thoughts have an effect on the heart and put body systems out of sync. Heart-rate influences human ability to read putts/execute physical activity.

Entrainment brings together the major systems in the body: heart/brain/respiratory system. This is the optimal state for peak performance.


Think of the green as separate from the rest of the course (like a ring in boxing or the square in cricket).

a) as you walk onto the green, look down at the fringe. Notice the change in colour and length of grass

b) look up

c) as you look up – for 10 seconds – breathe through the heart.

Where next?

Short game: The hybrid chip
Mental: Improve your focus on the green