Can you hypnotize yourself to play better golf? Expert explains

Self-hypnosis can be a great way to play better golf.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game improvement column designed to help you play smarter, better golf.

When you hear about hypnosis, you probably have a preconceived idea of ​​what it involves. You probably imagine someone standing in front of you, swinging a pocket watch just inches from your eyes. The hypnotist probably gives you some instructions while you go into a trance. Then you are under their complete control.

This is the way I At least, imagine it when the subject comes up. And I bet I'm not alone. Whenever the subject comes up in popular culture, that's generally how it's portrayed.

However, as I recently learned, hypnosis is about much more than putting someone into a trance to do your bidding. In fact, self-hypnosis can help you achieve peak athletic performance.

Last month, spoke with Dr. David Spiegel, a Stanford psychiatrist and one of the most widely published and respected experts in the field of hypnosis, to give us insight into how hypnosis can be used to play better golf.

How to use hypnosis for better golf

Playing solid golf at the highest level requires both physical and mental talent. There are countless golfers who have all the physical attributes to be among the best, but only a select few combine this with the right mental acumen.

“For athletic performance, mental training is just as important as physical training,” says Dr. Spiegel. “I think we tend to underestimate the mental preparation for the game.”

This is one of the ways Tiger Woods set himself apart from his peers. Sure, he is one of the most physically gifted golfers of all time. But he combined this with an equally incredible mental game. One of the ways he achieved this high level of mental performance was through self-hypnosis.

“With every shot, Tiger first does a mental swing exercise,” says Dr. Spiegel. “Because the brain is the control system and with it everything is possible.”

This method allows Woods to avoid all the distractions around him in the heat of competition. Before each shot, he enters a kind of trance that allows him to focus solely on the task at hand – making a solid golf shot. No, he doesn't have someone hold a pocket watch in front of his nose and give him instructions, instead he enters a self-induced trance that helps him improve his performance.

“Self-hypnosis frees you from all the usual expectations and worries,” says Dr. Spiegel. “And you can focus on being present and performing at your best.”

This is something that all golfers can strive for in their own game. All you need is the right training to teach your mind how to get into this state of self-hypnosis.

Dr. Spiegel has even developed an app called Reveri to help with this endeavor. The app helps users learn self-hypnosis, and there is even a program specifically tailored to golfers.

“All hypnosis is self-hypnosis,” says Dr. Spiegel. “It's not something someone does to you. It's something you help your brain do to itself.”

If you can teach yourself the art of self-hypnosis, it is a great way to master the mental game and get lower scores.

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Zephyr Melton Publisher

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor at, where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Before joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas and then worked for the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He helps with all instructional questions and covers amateur and women's golf. You can reach him at [email protected].