Getting In The Zone Golf

Regular access to “The Zone” might be easier than you think…

Did you know that your brain is divided into 2 separate hemispheres that have very different (but equally required) functions in a golf shot? Understanding more about the roles played by the left and right hemispheres in the execution of a good golf shot, can help you more readily access your best skills and achieve more success on the golf course.

What is the “left and right” brain?

Each side of your brain performs 1 of 2 groups of functions. Simply put, your left brain controls such things as analytical thinking and language. It’s more logical and scientific. Your right brain is the opposite – it’s more visual, intuitive and creative. It’s more connected with your subconscious and controls your “instinctive” movement.

Although each hemisphere has a different role in a golf shot, complete harmony is needed for you to access your best golf game. Here’s how to achieve it…

What are the roles of each side of the brain in (good) golf?

The left side of your brain is required during the “analysis” phase of your pre-shot routine. It will pick a good target, calculate the distance, determine how the wind and lie might affect the shot and pick the club needed for the job.

The right side is responsible for your visualization of that shot and movement during the swing. It is the right side that fires the muscles and helps create the fluid movement and rhythm we need to hit the ball in the desired way. A good golf swing is more of a subconscious, “reactive” movement (in response to the target and visualization of the desired shot) rather than something that is consciously controlled. In my article: “Look and react to Putt Better Under Pressure”, I explain why this is very important.

For most golfers, there is too much left brain activity during a shot. If you’ve ever had too many swing thoughts or you’ve told yourself where you DON’T want to hit the ball, this is an example of too much left brain activity. It’s the artistic side that needs to be dominant when you’re over the ball.

Getting in the zone for golf…

To get into what is called “the zone”, “peak performance” or “flow state”, the left hemisphere of the brain needs to quieten at least 3 seconds before the swing or stroke and the right hemisphere needs to become slightly active. When this happens your brain produces more “alpha brain waves”, which are electrical impulses of a lower than normal frequency. In this quiet state of mind, your focus is clearer, you are more relaxed and aware of your surroundings. This state is also called “Synchronicity” meaning that your left and right brain are synchronized and producing the optimal frequency of brain waves.

If you’ve ever felt that feeling of relaxed-focus and confidence, you’ve experienced this state of mind.

Tour players are much more likely to show “alpha rhythm” before and during the execution of a shot, which is an almost trance like state which puts their movement on auto-pilot.

It’s time for you to make “the zone”, less random, and more on-demand!

So how do you train yourself to produce more of these “peak performance” alpha brain waves? If you’ve ever heard of “neuroplasticity” you’ll know that we can change the way we think and our behavior with the right training. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • ThinQ Golf (you can use discount code GSOM10 and get $10 off their brain training games for golf).
  • Self-hypnosis: Check out Pro Golf IQ for a great tool for producing alpha waves
  • A disciplined shot routine
  • Visualization/Positive Mental Imagery
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

Thanks for reading! Would love to get your thoughts/questions/feedback!

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David MacKenzie

is a mental golf coach and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind, a teaching program designed to help golfers condition their minds to overcome fear and play with confidence.

This Post Has One Comment

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    All individuals involved in an athletic endeavor (whether skilled and gifted or not) perform at times on a basic functioning level, and at other times at an exceptional level. That exceptional level is referred to as “being in the zone.” Gifted athletes learn to develop methods for entering it. For us, it is a less frequently visited region, yet eminently discoverable (at least for a brief period) each time we play. The repeated unaltered fundamentals of this consistently executed swing are the keys to gaining entrance. We need to learn them and believe in them. They will serve us well and will not let us down.

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