Dr. Rich: Findings from Golf Swing Thought Study

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About a month ago I posted an article in GolfNewsRI seeking volunteers to participate in an interview about their golf swing.  

The response was very strong and I have completed 40 interviews to date, each one from 60-90 minutes long.  

Golfers interested in engaging Dr Rich for mental golf coaching can contact him at 401-578-3887 or drrichgolf@gmail.com

Golfers ranged from mid-thirties to early seventies; handicaps ranged from +2 to 28, and 80% of the interviews were with men.  

Most of the golfers have been playing for many years and those who have been playing for fewer than four were committed to improving their game.  

Dr. Richard Goldberg

Not one of the subjects played less than once a week and most played two to three times a week.

To be sure, this is not a random sample, but a self-selected  group of people very interested in golf and curious about the mental aspects of the golf swing.

Interview Response Results  
What are some of the takeaways from my interviews? 

  • Golfers like to talk about their game but most often do not have anyone who listens so there is some isolation that golfers face when trying to improve.   
  • Every golfer wanted to improve – but surprisingly, very few had any plan.  A significant minority were involved with sporadic technical lessons.
  • Every golfer identified problems with focus and concentration but not one had any plan to learn more about those skills.  
  • Common issues included:
    • Problems with consistent tempo.  Most of the golfers volunteered  that their swing was often “too fast” but had no plan to fix it.  
    • Problems managing their own thoughts when rounds were either going well or going poorly. Again, there was no clear pathway to improve that.
    • A surprising majority of golfers had no pre-shot routine, and those who did have one were often not really engaged with it.  
    • Almost every golfer had multiple, often shifting, swing thoughts – even those who said they had none.
    • Putting was of special interest to everyone.  For those who wanted to improve putting,  one had any ideas of what to do to improve their mental approach.  Some common advice “think about nothing” was either not working or they could not do it.   
    • Only the lower handicaps thought in terms of golf strategy but the higher handicaps acknowledged it would be very helpful if they could get some input.  
    • 5/40 had a problem that could be considered the “yips” but none really knew the scope of information available to try to intervene systematically.   
    • Many wondered how to play without being impacted so much by the other golfers around them.  

In summary, golfers could easily identify significant issues, but almost no one had a plan for addressing their issues.

Most seemed to be on a path of continuing with “the same things.” 

There was a sense that somehow just playing more and fiddling with a never-ending cascade of golf tips was going to be enough. 

There was an understanding that almost every top level golfer utilizes a mental coach.    

For those who recognize some of the issues mentioned here, or want to learn more about how mental coaching can help their game, contact Dr. Rich Golf.  There is no charge for an initial call.    

About Rich Goldberg, MD 

Professor (Emeritus) of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Dr Goldberg is the Founder of Dr Rich Golf, a golf mental coaching program. 

Most recently, he authored the book “Better Golf, Better Life.”

Dr. Rich brings together experience from a 45 year career in psychiatry, 25 years of competing in endurance athletics, including Ironman triathlon, and 50 years study of Eastern philosophy and mindfulness meditation. 

Dr Rich has coached golfers at many levels to improve their golf game and the enhance their lives.

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