The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

This week I am going to discuss the mind-body connection. First lets look at one of the biggest mind-body disconnects in the history of golf. It happened in one of the most memorable majors of all time, the 1986 Masters. We are going to look at only two players, Jack Nicklaus and Seve Ballesteros, and one hole, the par 5 15th. So lets look at the timeline.

Nicklaus is on the 15th tee and Seve is on the 13th green with about an 8 foot eagle putt. At this moment Jack is -5 and Seve is -7.

Jack hits a great drive right down the middle and as he is walking down the fairway, Seve makes the eagle putt to go nine under par.

Jack is 204 from the pin and hits a 4 iron within 12 feet and makes the putt for an eagle to go to -7

Seve hits the drive of the day on 15 and is only 198 yards from the hole. Nicklaus has birdied 16 to go -8 and is trailing by 1 shot.

Seve also takes out a 4 iron and makes a horrible swing and pull hooks the ball right in the middle of the lake, not even close and goes on to make a bogey, which is a 3 shot swing on this one hole.

Jack Nicklaus goes on to win the Masters with a birdie on 17. Even though Seve and his caddie, who happened to be his brother, had plenty of time to make the decision on a club selection for the second shot into 15, there was enough doubt to cause the mind-body disconnect. The result was a very bad swing and an even worse result. Lets say that Seve was absoulutely sure that 4 iron was the right club. He was totally committed to the shot. His mind and body were perfectly in sync. What would have been the result. He would have smoked that 4 iron and quite possibly would have flown the green and maybe would have even put the ball in the back lake. But he would have hit a solid shot. That is the difference when the mind and body are connected and when they are not. The mind-body connection does not mean that you are never going to hit a bad shot or miss a putt. It does not mean that you are going to go out every time and be in the mythical zone. The Zone is another subject all together. What the mind-body connection does mean, is that it gives you the ability to execute the present shot or stroke to the best of your ability. How is this accomplished? I do not know. Over the next few weeks, I am going to give more examples of the mind-body disconnect, discusss if this mind-body connection even exists, and talk about a lot of theory.



3 Replies to “The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer”

  1. Vet

    I like your approach to the mental game of golf. I am very interested to see where this is going. I believe that golf is more mental that physical at the more competitive level. Golfers with a single digit handicap should take the mental aspects of their game into account to score lower. I await the next article.



    1. I agree Jim. Just watching the Farmers this afternoon makes the case Vet is talking about. Those guys, mainly Woodland and Speith had minor mental disconnects as the pressure ratcheted up. It’s fascinating to watch the best in the world struggle with the same issues we do as amateurs. Brian


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