Playing Out Of Your Mind: Moving Beyond Swing Mechanics

Playing Out Of Your Mind: Moving Beyond Swing Mechanics

by Dave Johnston, B.A.Psy.

ISBN: 9781503379756

Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published in Sports/Golf, Sports, Nonfiction

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Book Description

Part III in the trilogy that began with Just Hit The Damn Ball! This book follows the real-life struggles of a 14 handicap golfer as he learns how to overcome the automatic tendency to dwell on mistakes. The on-course dialogue is based on actual conversation between a writer gathering material for a new golf instruction book, and a once-a- week golfer whose beliefs about the game are constantly challenged with surprising results!

Sample Chapter

The third hole is a 525 yard uphill par 5. The right side of the fairway is lined with trees up to the green. Apart from a fairway bunker about 225 yards off the tee, the left side is open.

Jonathan automatically slips the headcover off his driver and flings it down on the tee behind him. Dave gives him a questioning glance.


"I think you know what I'm going to ask."

Jonathan purses his lips and taps one foot impatiently.

"It's a par 5 and I need to par this hole to salvage the round."

"Have you ever shot par for nine holes?"

"No. My best score is 42. I shot it last year, but only because I was putting lights out. I've tried to figure out what I did, but haven't been able to come close since. Why?"

"So what score would you be happy with today?"

"Well, low eighties would be great, but after the first two holes, I would be happy to break ninety."

"Okay then. What if your goal for today was forty-five or better? That's nine over par."

"You got the math right..."

"At the moment, you're three over par..."

"After only two holes! Thanks for reminding me."

Despite Jonathan's lamenting, Dave remained calm.

"True enough...but you can bogey the next six holes and still shoot forty-five."


"How did you play this hole last week?"

"I sliced a drive into the woods on the right and made seven. What does how I played last week have to do with today?"

"Actually, it has everything to do with it. If you're playing for bogey, why are you taking out the driver when the most vivid memory you have is slicing the tee shot out of bounds. Just wondering..."

Jonathan's eyes became slits. "You know, you can be really irritating at times...."

"So I've been told. Let's go at this another way. What is 525 divided by 4?"

"I think you mean by 3. After all, it is a par 5."

"But what if you're playing for 6? Please humour me for a moment."

"Yeah...yeah, ok. It's 132 yards."

"What club do you have the most confidence in?"

"Well...I guess my five wood. I can count on it for about 175 yards."

"Alright then, why don't you use it?"

Jonathan couldn't think of a fitting response. All he wanted to do was play his game. He felt like the suspect in a murder investigation. Just to silence the third degree, he addressed the ball and hit the five wood.

The shot travelled down the left side of the fairway and faded into the center about 175 yards out.

"There you go. If you'd hit that same shot with the driver, you probably would have lost a ball out of bounds."

The logic was indeniable, but logic and emotion are distant cousins. Jonathan was still fuming inside. As they approached the ball, Dave flipped open the notebook.

"Good shot!"

"Yeah, it ended up alright, but I didn't hit it perfect."

"If you've never shot par, then why are you upset with less than perfection? You're confusing consistency with perfection. The first is possible, the second isn't. What would you define as consistent?"

"Well...I don't know."

"If you lost two balls out of bounds last week and none today, that's more consistent. The definition of consistent is constantly changing as you improve."

"I guess..."

"For the rest of today, let's say that consistent means finishing with the same ball you started with. Does that make sense?"

"I suppose. But what about score?"

"Good question. Do you have the scorecard?"

Jonathan withdrew the card from his back pocket. The first two holes were outlined with a bold red circle, almost as if the scorecard were bleeding out.

"Thank you. You won't be need this today."

Dave tore the card into pieces and deposited them in a nearby garbage can.

"What the hell! How am I supposed to keep track of how much over par I am?"

"You're not. I want you to give each shot a number out of ten, based on how well you hit the shot. Results are secondary."


Perfection is an absolute - no shades of gray - all or nothing. It's a standard that's predefined and beyond your control. It's a laudable goal but one that's impossible to achieve, except by accident.

Consistency is subjective; you make up the rules. When perfection is defined in terms of contact, then you are in control. Jonathan is beginning to see that how a shot feels is not a guarantee of perfect results.

Are you beginning to see how emotion trumps logic in golf?


Excerpted from "Playing Out Of Your Mind: Moving Beyond Swing Mechanics" by Dave Johnston, B.A.Psy.. Copyright © 2014 by Dave Johnston, B.A.Psy.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Dave Johnston, B.A.Psy.

Dave Johnston, B.A.Psy.

B.A.,Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Director of Instruction.Bloomington Downs Golf Club (Richmond Hill, Ontatrio,Canada) since 1988 Corporate clients include Hewlett Packard, Imperial Oil Developed programs for Seneca College (C.E.D.) and the Town of Aurora

View full Profile of Dave Johnston, B.A.Psy.

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