Monday, May 14, 2012

PGA Championship Competitor Talks Mental Training

Greg Bisconti has some great advice for golfers competing at all levels: practice your mental game as well as your swing. The assistant pro at St. Andrew's in Hastings has plenty of cred when it comes to tournament play. He's competed in three PGA Championships and was in the winners circle as low club pro in 2009 at Hazeltine. Last year, Bisconti won both the Westchester Open and the Metropolitan Professional Championship. I heard him speak at this year's Met PGA Spring Forum.

"There are times when your knees are shaking," Bisconti says, "and you've got to rely on your routine to enable you to play." He's a big believer in visualizing the shot you're about to hit. "Do it while the other guy is playing," he recommends.

Mental practice can take many forms. "I spent two months preparing for the first tee shot in 2006 at Hazeltine," Bisconti says. "I would visualize the crowds and try to build up the pressure internally" while playing practice rounds. He also likes to practice putts with his eyes closed to develop confidence and feel.

When you're getting ready for a big game, Bisconti says, "Keep a diary that details all of your good and bad habits before, during, and after a round of golf. Writing down these experiences will help you take ownership of what happened and help you get past any obstacles that may present themselves in the future. Look for changes in eating habits, workouts, length of preparation on game day, how you handled adversity during the round, how you performed when in contention, shot tendencies, etc."

His best advice: Every round of golf should be a learning experience.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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