Going Mental: We Tried It.
We've done many "we tried it" reviews in Inside Golf, but this product could very well be the most "overall game-changing" of them all.
As a lifelong golf addict, I've taken hundreds of lessons by dozens of professionals, read thousands of instructional articles and watched countless videos and DVDs on swing mechanics and techniques.
But despite all of that instruction over the 40+ years (or maybe even BECAUSE of it all) my handicap (and the consistency of my game) has gone up-and-down like a jumping bean on a trampoline.
The one thing that I've seriously lacked over all of those years, I've realised, is a proactive focus on the mental aspect of the game. Sure, I've read lots of articles and a few books on the subject of Mental golf, but to apply it all on a practical basis is another matter altogether. And these days, like many of you out there, my extremely limited practise time is often relegated to "left brain" aspects like working on swing mechanics at the range.
But we all know that swing mechanics is simply not enough. To succeed in golf, we need that mental edge.
Some of golf's greatest players and professionals have spoken about how golf is 80% or even 90% mental. The great Bobby Jones famously said that "Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course - the distance between your ears."
One of the more insightful quotes, however, comes from the great Moe Norman in one of his YouTube Videos (thanks to Andrew Crockett for providing this little gem):
"What a sad thing in the world that we are not taught the main thing in this world, it is between the ears. We are taught too much mechanics. Not enough about motor skills, manual dexterity, imagination, orientation, administration, enthusiasm, alert attitude of indifference, a strong disciplined response, progression of power, extension of the circle, the deltoid muscle on your left shoulder, the elasticity of your body, the axis of your spine, your left brain, your right brain, your kinaesthetic mind, your body mind...all this has something to do with golf."
So when Pro Golf IQ approached Inside Golf to do a review of their Mental Training product, I was keenly interested. This type of program is used by professional golfers across the planet, so I felt it was time for me, as a current 10-handicapper, try and take the next step in my game.
The nagging sceptic in me, however, wondered: Does a mental-training audio program like this actually work? More importantly, would it work for me?
The answer to both questions, I found, is a resounding yes.
The Pro Golf IQ program consists of a series of five audio sessions (as well as an introductory video, and some booster/ enforcer sessions on Driving, Pitching and Putting). You simply download them to your computer/ipod/device) and listen to one session three times a week via headphones, in the comfort of your home. The system (which uses a unique process called Inter-hemispheric Synchronic Mediation (ISM) plus several other key techniques) teaches you how to get both the left AND right sides of your brain working together, while also helping you create 'quiet time' in your mind; which is critical to playing like a pro.
The sessions themselves are extremely easy to follow. You simply lie back, relax and let your imagination do the work. The beginning of each session helps get you into a deep state of total body (and mind) relaxation. Through a series of deep breathing exercises, mental imagery, and subconscious cues and tones, you soon find yourself in a deep (almost hypnotic) state. It is here where your mind is most open to suggestion, imagery and mental training.
Once you're deeply relaxed, you begin to learn about using left brain/right brain techniques on the course. The left hemisphere of your brain, for example, is used for gathering all the analytical information for your shot (i.e. yardage, wind, elevation changes, swing strength/power needed, etc), while your right hemisphere (the creative/artistic side) is then used to gather the necessary resources to execute the shot (i.e. using your motor skills, reactive movements, etc).
The audio sessions in Pro Golf IQ teach you how - via a series of "warm brain/cool brain" visualisation exercises - to clearly activate each hemisphere of your brain in order, prior to your shot. This "balanced brain" technique allows you to then switch everything off for a split second while you execute your swing (and thus eliminate the usual chatter in your head during the swing!). As you progress through the sessions, you gain more insights, techniques and training for the different shots and situations you'll encounter on the course.
So, how did this work for me?
Armed with a few early sessions under my belt (er, skull?), I took to the course. On the very first tee, following a few of my newly-learned breathing and visualisation techniques, I noticed an immediate difference. Gone was the usual first-hole "cluttered brain" and muscle tension. I was calm, relaxed and in a near Zen-like state. My tee shot launched straight down the middle; thus beginning one of the most stress-free rounds of golf in recent memory.
Throughout my round, I found myself playing some of my finest golf in years. Instead of the usual "scrambling struggle" of recent rounds, I instead felt, for the most part, in total control of my game. And best of all, without all of the usual swing-thoughts sapping my energy, I finished my round feeling more energetic than usual. (Note that I had not adjusted any other aspect of my game - the only difference was my mental sessions with Pro Golf IQ.)
And this wasn't just a one-off. Subsequent rounds (and audio sessions) have found me reclaiming some of the form that I felt had abandoned me long ago. I've now been playing in "The Zone" more often than not.
In short, this system has done exactly what it promised, and has completely changed my game, just like it has done for thousands of other golfers worldwide.
And though I've not yet completed all the sessions at time of writing (and my game is by no means in perfect order yet - I am seriously looking forward to the Putting IQ session to help solve some flatstick woes!), I can honestly say that this program is making a massive difference in my game, and I can't wait to complete the series.
The Pro Golf IQ system is normally priced at $219 (which is a great value, considering the benefits of transforming your game). Inside Golf readers, however, can get it for just $97 for a limited time.
[ original article ]
Do not use this software package if you are fitted with a pacemaker.
Epileptics and Photo-Epileptics should NOT use this product without the consent of their physician.
Persons with a history of brain seizures, mental disorders or alcohol and/or drug abuse should also not use the product unless first consulting their medical doctor.
You must never listen to this program while walking, cycling, riding or driving any motor vehicle car or while operating machinery of any kind or any other activity, which requires your full attention.