Paul McKenna’s 6 tips to prepare you for your next round


Any coach will tell you the test golf sets is as much mental as physical. But when things start to reach breaking point, how far would you go to fix your game?

It is a question I’ve been increasingly asking myself whenever I stand on the 18th tee, contemplating where it all went wrong. I may play off single figures, but negotiating 18 holes has become a chore, rather than something to be enjoyed.


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My love-hate relationship with the game can be traced back to when I first suffered a bout of the shanks six years ago.

I can still remember the immediate panic that set in, almost resembling something of an anxiety attack. No one was safe. A car once got in my firing line, as did a halfway house, a summer house and even a playing partner.

I still bear the mental scars even now; others bear more physical ones. I have read all the books; watched all the videos; and yet I still stand over the ball and worry about hitting golf’s most destructive shot.

So when I heard Paul McKenna had created a new golf app to serve as an interactive virtual hypnotherapist, naturally I wanted to meet him to find out more.

He may have disappeared off our TV screens, but McKenna has spent the past decade writing self-help books. He has helped David Walliams to swim the channel; Sophie Dahl lose weight; Ellen Degeneres stop smoking.

He’s even fitted some readers with a gastric band. But don’t be fooled into thinking hypnotherapy is purely remedial.

He has, he says, helped Nigel Benn box harder and Nick Faldo putt better. He even trained the man who was Tiger’s life coach.

The success stories are endless, so here’s his advice for preparing for your next round.

Before any competition, I encourage every golfer to visualise what they want to happen. This simple, but brilliant, technique will automatically get you to think more positively, even if you face a challenge or two. That is one of the defining qualities ozf Nick Faldo.

He is just Mr Cool, no matter whether things were going good or bad. So before heading off for your tee time, follow my step-by-step guide to generate the peak state of performance. You will see the effects straight away.

1. Close your eyes and relax the muscles at the side of your mouth and across your chest, all the way down to the tips of your toes.

Find a place of peace and calm inside. Feel centred and good in yourself.

2. Now, remember a time you played in a state of peak performance; a time when you were in the zone; and return to that time like you are back there now. See what you saw; hear what you heard; and feel how good you felt.

Now, make the colours richer and brighter than they actually were. Make the sounds louder and crisper; and the feelings stronger.

3. As you go through those memories again, notice where you feel the positive and good feelings in your body.

Imagine those good feelings have a colour and then move that colour in your imagination up to the top of your head, and down to the tips of your toes. And then double it, and double it again, until you are glowing with that colour.

4. Still with your eyes closed, imagine playing a perfect game. Imagine the major moments; hitting a tee shot, holing a putt. Then imagine recovering from a difficult situation.

Instead of worrying that things are going to get worse, remember what it feels like to be ‘in the zone’ and surrounded by that winning colour again.

5. Keep concentrating on playing perfect rounds. Imagine teeing off 10 times in a row. Imagine hitting a perfect putt 10 times in a row.

Let your mind and body make that connection. You should now feel a calm, relaxed alertness.

6. When you are ready to return to waking consciousness, just open your eyes and come back out. You should feel a renewed sense of optimism. You should feel good about playing golf.

Your genius mind is so clever at making computations and working in coordination with muscle memory that it will do everything it needs to make you play to the best of your ability. So whenever you start to feel the pressure, just remember what it felt like to be ‘in the zone’ and visualise that perfect shot.

If you are struggling with your game make you download Paul McKenna’s new app.

The app is called ‘Ultimate Golf Success’ and is available to download on Android and iPhone, priced at £4.99.

Here is how the app works…

The app is broken down into seven key focus points, which consist of Getting in the Zone, Teeing Off, The Perfect Shot, Precision Putting, Overcoming Obstacles, Learn from the Champions, and Play your Best Round and Win the Tournament. These are covered as part of a seven-day plan.

Every learning point is highlighted and reinforced via daily video and audio instruction, and there’s also a ‘Plan Your Next Round’ section where you can select areas to work on three days before your next round.

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