Golf Shot Visualization: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Jack Nicklaus never makes a golf shot without first having a perfect mental image of it imprinted on his brain. Here’s how to visualize your way to the best scores of your life in 2015.

This season treat yourself to the gift of visualization, the lazy golfer’s way to better scores.

Research by scientists and behavioral psychologists has shown that creating a mental image of something you want to accomplish—like a drive down the heart of the fairway—and repeating that image over and over again, sends the same electrical impulses or instructions to the muscles as actually carrying it out.

Jack Nicklaus (Image: @jacknicklaus)

Jack Nicklaus: Golf’s master of visualization. (Image: @jacknicklaus)

Almost everyone has hit shots even a professional might envy. By recalling these positive mental images, you’re reminded that there’s nothing stopping you from doing it again. Some scientists believe that mental rehearsal creates the neural pathways necessary for actual performance. The brain and body work together to create a successful result.

Learning to apply the same visualization techniques and mental discipline on the golf course is an even more certain path to lower scores.

Jack Nicklaus, the greatest golfer of all, says he never hits a shot without first having a vivid mental image of it in his head.

“It’s like a colour movie,” he says. “First, I ‘see’ the ball where I want it to finish, nice and high and sitting up on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: its path, trajectory and shape, even its behavior on landing.”

Lower scores with less practice—visualization is the gift of a lifetime.