You just finished a round of golf and are at the 19th hole with your golf buddies. One of them congratulates you on the birdie you had on 18. Yeah, you say, nonchalantly as you continue to ruminate about the hole before that where you double bogeyed after a perfect drive.
How did I let that happen, you think to yourself, as you imagine yourself tripping up on that hole again and again in your mind.
This very common practice feeds the subconscious mind more bad shots, and trains it to continue to give you more outcomes like it in the future. Your subconscious mind is neutral, and does not know the difference between real life events and your imaginative repetitions.
It's your choice to keep programming these negative outcomes, or change and revise it.
What is the Revision Technique?
One powerful way to improve your golf game without physically practicing is with the mindful technique of revision. I call it taking inventory. Inventory of your round, a specific hole, or even a specific golf swing or putt.
After your round of golf, or even at home before bed, take a few minutes to remember the shots in the round that come to your mind quickly.
Imagining your last round of golf in detail is an excellent exercise for your mind, and going backwards from the end of the round to beginning is an even more powerful workout for the brain.
Winning Golf by Training the Subconscious Mind
You’ve probably heard that each day we live is 95% or more repeated from the day before. The same thoughts, feelings, and even most of your actions are the same, or very similar to the previous day.
Chances are, this is true for your golf game as well. How much does your handicap ever really change? If you play at the same course on a regular basis, how often do you par or bogey the same holes again and again?
Why do you think this is? Because it’s not the conscious ‘you’ that is thinking or playing at all. It is your subconscious mind that is in control of most of your round. It likes expected results to keep you feeling the same as you are ‘used to’ feeling (‘good’ or ‘bad’).
In other words, your life is mostly on autopilot and there is only so much room for critical thinking and conscious effort. This is why I talk about training the subconscious mind directly for the quickest positive results to your golf game.
Stop lying to yourself with positivity...
Have you ever heard about ‘positive thinking’ and it not really working? It doesn’t help to just ‘think positive’’ because this is a feeble attempt to train the subconscious mind indirectly. I’ll ‘think’ positive and all will go my way on this next shot. Well, you had a great attitude, but the ball still went in the woods.
You quietly fume, but tell yourself, stay positive, it’s just a game! Well, your subconscious mind is laughing at you as it goes about producing the same results you have already conditioned it to give. And it will win every time, millions of times over.
In fact, according to Tor Norrentranders in his book “The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size” he suggests that the subconscious mind can process up to 11 million bits of information per second and the conscious mind is limited to around 40 bits per second.
In other words, it knows you are lying, and will do what it knows to do best.
The conscious mind tends to focus on one thing at a time while the subconscious is constantly working in the background without the ‘you of you’ observing it at all.
So yes, focus on one thing at a time while you play, and let the subconscious mind shine in the background... but wait...
What if you don't like the outcomes that your subconscious mind and body is producing? Now we are getting somewhere: This first step will catapult you to change, and it's the art of awareness.
Once you see and are aware that you are feeding your body and mind the same fuel over and over and getting the same results, it is now time to decide if you want to take the time and recondition it.
How to "reprogram" the subconscious mind.
You can always practice more. Repetition is the language of the subconscious mind. Tell it something enough, and it will begin to eventually believe you. Perform a movement enough, and it will be engrained into your body.
But why isn't physically practicing more not always the best answer to changing your game?
Your swing is embedded into your subconscious and is very difficult to change. Swing changes are just hard to do. You have a natural tendency to swing in a certain way.
So should you change your swing entirely, or work with the natural swing you have? Well, this is up to you and depends on how much you are willing to commit to this change.
In my experience with casual and amateur golfers, they do not want to completely change their swing. Pointers here and there, little adjustments, slight alignment shifts, etc., yes let's do it. I am an advocate of practicing with intention, and great results can occur over time.
But what if you can get the results you want by working with the natural swing you already have, and the overall game you already have?
You can, and you can lower your golf round scores significantly with this one technique of revision.
But before we get to revision, let's talk about one more way to change your subconscious mind to play better golf and that is...
Perfect Practice and Play with Imagination
You can practice perfectly only in one place: your imagination. You can feel and see the ball go in the cup every single time you line up to a putt. You can swing it perfectly and hear the ball blast off your clubface and into the center of the fairway in your imagination.
Perfect practice, and perfect play, can occur in your imagination and your subconscious mind will feed off of this repeated information you are giving it. There are several methods to this, but the main point is that you can imagine perfect shots, and these perfect shots can become reality on the golf course.
You can believe this because you have, at least once, perfectly gotten out of a greenside bunker. Maybe you thought you just got lucky, but either way it is stored within you and you know you did this before, and are capable of doing it again and again.
Know you can do it, practice or see yourself in your imagination doing it, and then anchor it with confidence with some kind of verbal or physical cue to lock the experience in your mind.
This is an NLP technique: get a trigger word or phrase or fist pump to anchor that perfect moment into your subconscious mind so that it will know positive feelings and confidence is associated with this action.
So then, REVISION is just taking this idea and using your memories to create this change.
Change Your Memories, Literally...
Revision is about changing your memories of past events and imagining it as you want it to be.
Yes, you can change memories, and actually do change your memories all of the time (even though you probably don’t realize it). But with revision, we deliberately change the memory to our satisfaction in order to train the subconscious mind.
Here is a quote from Elizabeth Loftus, a well-known cognitive psychologist and researcher in the field of memory:
“Memory is a process, not a record. Memory is not like a tape recorder, a video camera, or a photograph. It is more like a Wikipedia page: it is constantly being edited, updated, added to, and changed.”
This quote highlights the idea that memories are not fixed and unchanging, but rather are constantly being re-written and reconstructed each time we recall them. .
And herein lies the power of the revision technique. Neville Goddard is well known for his lectures on the Pruning Shears of Revision and believes this was one of his greatest lessons..
I believe he said this because of the true power to change our minds, and overall our lives, with the power of imagination. Neville also says, you don’t have to believe me, just test it!
Using Revision for Memory Change will Train the Subconscious Mind for Success
The science shows that our accounts of memories are always changing. It also shows that our subconscious mind is responsible for as much as 95-99% of our thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the day.
So if you change the memory to a favorable memory, and repeat these new memories, and the subconscious mind works on memories and repetition, perhaps the subconscious will respond favorably to your next similar moment on the golf course without any conscious effort from you in that moment.
Test it. What memory do you want to change and craft differently in your golf game? Do you ‘always’ have trouble in a greenside bunker? Revise the constant scene of yourself not able to get out of the sand, or shooting it over the green, and begin to revise.
Imagine yourself in the sand and remember missing the last shot that comes to mind. Use the memory of that moment to put yourself right there, in the scene, as yourself standing over the shot.
But this time, you have the power to swing the ball perfectly and land the ball exactly where you want it to land, and watch it roll toward the cup, and even into the cup.
If you are new to visualization the technique of revision is an excellent place to start because it is practical and believable. You just played a round, so there are moments in the round that may stand out to you that you can tap into.
Here’s an added bonus to revision. As you recall your round, you may also look back on an excellent shot you had. Take a moment to feel how that felt and hone in on the confidence you had in that moment.
Go back to the beginning of this post when your friend congratulated you on that birdie to end the round. Instead of shrugging it off, take a moment to feel into how great that birdie felt. Recall it, and as you watch that ball go in the cup for a birdie, use that trigger again to say 'yes' or 'that's right' or whatever feels good to you.
The subconscious mind works on 'feelings' and will remember the feeling associated with that shot and you can repeat it in your imagination, or the next time you play, when the ball goes in the cup again.
Follow these steps for Revision of your golf game:
At the end of the day (or right after your round), sit quietly and reflect upon it
Go from the last hole to the first hole, in that order best you can.
What moments or shots are popping out to you? Pause and reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and action in that moment.
Revise what you would like to think, feel, or experience differently right now in your imagination. Revise the scene.
Be vivid in imagination. Feel yourself there. Use all of your senses.
Feel positive emotions as you revise the scene whether it is a feeling of confidence, satisfaction, or happiness, feel into the state that makes sense to this scene. Feel it, and then you can even amplify it with a dial, or lock it in with a word or phrase like ‘yes’ or ‘alright’.
Replay the scene again in it’s new revised form as many times as you wish, or until you really feel the sense that this is your new memory.
The conscious mind will look back on the round and say, I should have used pitching wedge there instead of nine iron. In your imagination, you will just revise the scene to using that pitching wedge instead, and feel into the feeling of hitting it perfectly this time. As you revise this you can say to yourself, ‘I always choose just the right club’ and again watch yourself choose the pitching wedge and then hit the ball right to your target.
Finally, doing this in a relaxed state also helps to tap straight into the subconscious mind. Attempting to do this in a 'beta' or highly conscious state will prove difficult and less effective. This is the secret to meditation: you can tap into a deeper level of yourself, this subconscious mind, where so much creativity and ideas, change and healing can happen.
So do this activity when you have some time to quiet the mind, and go into an alpha, or even a theta brainwave state. You will find it more powerful and may come up with visuals and sensory activities that you did not even expect to encounter.
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Thanks for being here and happy golfing!