Category: Mental Training

What makes a good putter good? Golf Science Lab

Podcast, Season 4, Swing

What makes a good putter good? w/ Dr Rob Neal

We’ve all heard a lot of tips and tricks about putting, but what actually makes a good putter good. Today we talk with leading biomechanist Dr Rob Neal as he shares his research and experience working with the best players and putting coaches in the world.

What makes a good putter?

The key to being a successful putter is to deliver the putter head with the right energy at impact and the club face pointing in the right direction and do that consistently well.

You cannot on one stroke be perfect and on the next, nowhere near the mark. What you will see with expertise in putting is really high levels of consistency with putter head delivery.

If you measure them on a SAM or a GBD system you will find that the standard deviations of face angles, dynamic loft, etc are approximately 0.3 of a degree. That is very low and that might be over 10 or 15 putting strokes. The levels of variability or the standard deviations as you move proximally at expert players, increases a little bit and this is their mechanism of coordinating the stroke.

Good putters are also able to coordinate their movement and compensate if need be.

Good putters are also able to coordinate their movement and compensate if need be. If they pull a little bit too hard with the lead arm they can compensate by doing something different with the forearm and the hand in order to deliver the club or the putter, with the precision necessary to make the putt. If you didn’t have this subtle coordination amongst the body segments involved in a stroke, then if one part of the body made an error on the stroke, then that would be it. It will be all over.

All of the putting coaches that Dr Rob Neal works with (David Orr, Paul Hurrion and Phil Kenyon) strongly argue that this coordination of the body segments is one of the things that separate the good putter from the really good putters.

Really good putters have the ability to compensate or modify what they are doing within the stroke in order to produce the right outcome in the putter head.

Evaluating putting

The process that I would typically go through is examine what someone does with the putter first. What the stroke mechanics look like,face angle, dynamic loft, putter path, rise angle, etc and then work my way from the putter back to what the body was doing in order to produce that particular pattern of movement.

The process that I would typically go through is examine what someone does with the putter first.

The challenge then is to find good elements in anyone’s putting stroke and then be able to modify those things and maybe disruptive in their technique and really make a difference for them putting reasonably well, and putting poorly.

There is no one solution that we would dictate is right for everyone because it’s to change a motor pattern, so we are looking for things that have the maximum impact with the minimum change.

Sometimes, that might be changing the putter or changing the loft and lie on the putter. If the stroke itself is really consistent but there is too much dynamic loft, at impact then the simple solution would be to change the loft on the putter, reduce it by a couple of degrees or if there is not enough dynamic loft at impact, then maybe the ball needs to be put further forward in the stance so that you could make the same stroke but catch it at a different point during the arc that the putter is making.

I can tell you as opposed to what some people think, “try to keep the hands out of your putting stroke”, every person we have measured has hand action during their stroke. So it’s not like you can get rid of it, in fact, it’s probably a good thing to have in there.

About our guest

Dr Rob Neal

Dr. Robert NealDr Robert Neal, CEO, established golf biodynamics (GBD) in 2000 with the intention of providing the best possible biomechanics service available to golfers and teaching professionals alike. A unique skill set has made this a reality.

Today, the GBD philosophy towards performance enhancement has not changed, we are proponents of an integrated approach to supporting “the golf athlete”. That is, we combine a scientific approach with the practical skills necessary to bring about technical change, all of which is performed in conjunction with the teaching professional and athlete’s own support network (which may include the athletic development specialist, physical therapist, podiatrist, nutritionist etc).

The diverse nature of our clientele reflects the extensive skill set that rob and others in our GBD team bring to the table. While GBD regularly works with golfers of all playing abilities (playing professionals and recreational golfers) we also consult to teaching professionals and organizations such as the Jim McLean golf schools, the Titleist Performances Institute (TPI), the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), various PGA’s worldwide (Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland), The Danish Golf Union, The German National Team and more.

Links / Resources

Golf Biodynamics

Dr. Nick Molinaro – How to Enter the Flow State in Golf

Dr. Nick recently wrote a great article for  Dr. Nick is a frequent guest speaker at College Golf Camps of America.  We love this article because simply explains how performance is not forced.  Enjoy the information from our friend Dr. Nick.

CGC Staff

How to Enter the Flow State in Golf

Sport psychologist, Dr. Nick Molinaro explains how the right pre-competition preparation can help golfers get into the ‘zone’ or ‘flow’ state to achieve their highest levels of performance.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by golfers of all abilities, coaches and parents is how to enter the zone or flow state in golf. The profession of sports psychology has different opinions about the ability to enter this highest level of performance. Some believe it is random and more serendipity-like while others believe it can be experienced by effective decision making of selective attentional shifting. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian Psychologist, noted in his study on Happiness:

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” (1990, p. 3).

I believe that an athlete can proactively set the stage for entering “Flow” states by utilizing the model Csikszentmihalyi designed.

Every moment in practice and competition a golfer has the opportunity to choose where to place their attention. I will provide a more in-depth discussion in the future about how this system is employed so, for now, we will make it simple.

The golfer should identify a challenge they want to stretch themselves towards. It is not simply the number of fairway hits, coming through the ball, etc. It is the mental process that demands attention. Some great examples are remaining focused, relaxed and present prior to making contact with the ball. If the player has some basic skills in each of these areas than the challenge is to do it more effectively.

Using a scale of 1-10 for Focused Effort (FE) the player identifies the specific mental skill and assigns a challenge level to it for their FE target. Attaining the target score of FE as frequently as possible for the entire round would be the challenge. The targeted skill is to employ it with the target FE each time they hit a shot. For example, being focused, relaxed and present with an FE of 8. Initially, this may appear easy, but I can assure you, it will take lots of practice to do so.

Here is the model Csikszentmihalyi developed:

How to enter the flow state in golf

Note that:

  • low skills and low challenge produce APATHY;

  • high skills and low challenge produce BOREDOM;

  • low skills and high challenge produce ANXIETY; and

  • high skills and high challenge produce FLOW.

Setting up a Challenge-Skills Balance for each competition helps in reaching flow states. Refer to Process Goals from my previous article to familiarize yourself with them.

I highly recommend this exercise:  identify a process goal for the skills and FE on a scale of 1-10 for the Challenge. Be sure to construct the Challenge-Skills Balance before each of your competitions as well as for your practice sessions.

Flow State in Golf

Channing Hensley’s Pre-tournament and Practice Notes

I asked one of my very talented high school juniors, Channing Hensley, who has committed to UNC Wilmington, how she prepares for her competitions and practice sessions and she kindly provided the following notes.

1Tournament Play Preparation

  • When possible, always play a practice round to familiarize myself with the course layout and greens.
  • If not possible, do course research and map out via web and diagram into yardage book.
  • Go through each hole and visualize strategy based on hole layout, yardage and map strategy into the yardage book. Develop my game plan.
  • Do a hole-by-hole visualization and see myself playing the hole.
  • When playing the practice round, drop balls from various locations around each green to practice chipping/pitching. Do the same on the greens for putting.
  • Work on pre-shot routine (cadence and visualization) techniques.

2Preparation for Practice

  • Never practice without a plan or goal.
  • Write down objective for the day before arriving at the course.
  • All drills will have outcome based results that I can track to help create a similar to tournament fee.
  • Dedicate a certain amount of time for practice sessions and take breaks every 30 minutes to stay mentally sharp.
  • Place heavy emphasis on process and pre-shot routine and implement before each shot during practice.
  • Finally, and certainly not last, make it fun! Realize how much I enjoy the game and be thankful for the opportunity I have to play it.

More recommendations for pre-competition preparation to come in future articles.

I would love to hear from you about your ideas, comments or questions below.

Dr. Nick.


dr-nick-molinaro-womens-golfOur contributing writer in Sport Psychology, Dr. Nick Molinaro is a licensed psychologist with specialties in Counseling, Human Development, and Sport Psychology.

Although his clients have ranged from the NASCAR, NBA, NFL, USA Ski and Gymnastic Team members, he is mostly known for his work with golfers. Dr. Nick has worked with players on PGA, LPGA, Symetra, LET tours as well as collegiate players at some of America’s most prestigious colleges including Oregon, Notre Dame, U Arizona, and U Texas,

Dr. Nick is the Mental Coach for the Michael Breed Golf Academy at Trump Golf Links, Fiddler’s Elbow Golf Academy, NJ and is an Advisory Board Member on and the Fellowship for Christian Athletes. He is frequently a guest on The Golf Fix on The Golf Channel and the 19th Hole Weekend Edition on CBS Sport Radio.

Find out more about golf psychology at Dr. Nick’s website, and follow him online on Twitter and Facebook.

How Coaches Evaluate Character in the Recruiting Process

College coaches are no longer only evaluating an athlete on their athletic and academic abilities, they are also looking to see what kind of a person you are. Coaches need to be sure an athlete will handle the transition to college well and having a high character recruit improves the likelihood of a recruit adjusting well. In this article we cover some of the scenarios during the recruiting process where coaches are evaluating character.*Please note: This doesn’t mean that all athletes who don’t adjust well in college are low character. Sometimes an athlete and the school just aren’t the right fit. However, in order to avoid academic and off the field issues, coaches are are increasingly looking for high character recruits.

Who Handles the Difficult Conversations?

When discussing things like playing time and scholarships, it is easy for parents to what to jump in on behalf of their athlete. Our advice is to hold off and let the athlete handle the majority of the conversation. I like the 80/20 rule, where the athlete should ask 80% of the questions and parents 20%. As a parent you can help your athlete prepare by having pre-written questions they should ask the coach. When an athlete shows a willingness to handle difficult conversations, it shows a coach they will be able to handle the new challenges once they get to college.

Don’t Make a Coach Ask Twice

When coaches send out invites to camps, requests for transcripts or other forms of paper work, they are evaluating an athlete on their ability to do what’s asked. The worst thing you can do as an athlete is not respond to these request or miss the deadlines. Just like you would in the work place, acknowledge receipt of the request, then get the requested information as soon as possible. Coaches know if an athlete has problems handling simple tasks like getting transcripts, they are more likely to have problems taking care of their responsibilities once they are living on their own.

They Will Talk to Anyone for Character Evaluations

College coaches are going to talk to all sorts of people to get a sense for what kind of person the recruit is. Coaches want to know what kind of person you are and that doesn’t just mean on the field or in the gym. We’ve heard of coaches talking to school janitors or even random students in the hallway to find out what a recruit is really like. With the increasing pressure to have high character people in their programs, coaches have a lower tolerance for recruits who could be problems down the road.

Coaches Aren’t Looking for Perfect

This article isn’t intended to scare you into thing coaches are going to look at every little situation as a chance to stop recruiting you. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to show you are more qualified. Coaches understand they are dealing with 15 and 16 year old kids in the recruiting process and they don’t expect them to be able to do everything perfectly. What they are looking for is that an athlete is willing to handle their own responsibilities. Effort and a little bit of maturity can go a long way in impressing a college coach.

Frank, Written By David. “How Coaches Evaluate Character in the Recruiting Process.” How Coaches Evaluate Character in the Recruiting Process. Athnet Copyright © 2001 – 2016, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.

4 Step Process to Creating Highly Effective Performance Games

In this audio file Cordie Walker (Founder of Golf Science Lab) talks about Performance Games, how to create them, why to use them, and gives examples you can take to the golf course.

Walker states that the answer is: traditional practice just doesn’t offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures, the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by game environments. It doesn’t motivate us effectively. It doesn’t maximize our potential.

Training ‘Game Like’ fulfills our genuine human needs; it’s inspiring and can engage us in ways that the traditional training method does not. Games help bring us together and work towards a common goal as a team rather than against each other in solitary. Games will, if created using the following structure, create all of the above and can re-shape the golfing world.

“Expertise is defined as a sequence of mastered challenges with increased levels of difficulty in specific areas of functioning.”

Dr K. Anders Ericsson

To create an effective game you need to have these 4 components.

#1 – Name: Every game needs a name to be referenced by.

#2 – Goal: During golf we have a goal… shouldn’t we during practice?

#3 – Rules: Simple the better!  One of the components that takes the most work to perfect.

#4  – Scoring: Do you keep score during golf?  Let’s keep score during practice.
If we embrace what science tells us and evidence shows us, we can revolutionize the golfing world.  Lets open our minds and take what we can from the Xbox and PlayStation; their secrets lie in the structure of their games and with that structure we can take our youth outside and away from the TV screen.


Founder and chief curator of the Golf Science Lab. Documenting what’s going on in the world of research and beyond that can help you play your best golf on the golf course (when it counts). Join the movement of researched based coaching over trusting beliefs and what worked for one person a few decades ago. Follow on Twitter

Junior Golfers: How to Prepare for a Tournament

Here are 5 tips you can use to properly prepare for a tournament ahead of time, so that you can gain a natural edge against your opponents.

Clear Your Mind

Jack Nicklaus (AKA The Golden Bear), winner of 18 career major championships, once said: “Golf is 80% mental, 10% ability, 10% luck” – and he’s right. Try to clear any and all non-golf thoughts from your head and focus strictly on the game.We know this is easier said than done, however, this is an important component of maximizing your golfing potential.

Scout The Course

If possible, spend some time scouting the course on which the tournament will take place. Pay attention to the terrain, bunkers, trees, hazards, greens, and distances to holes. Knowing the golf course will give you the upper hand on tournament day.

You can also check to see if there’s a map of the course online. Some courses offer online digital maps, which can be printed to use as a reference tool when preparing for a tournament.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Head over to the local driving range and polish up your swing before the tournament. In addition to increasing your power/distance/control, this will also help to stretch all of your “golf muscles” and keep them in peak condition. Try to focus the bulk of your practice swings on holes which are similar to those at the tournament course.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

You can’t expect to play a golf tournament at 100% unless you get a good night’s rest. Sleep improves memory and cognitive function, regulates metabolism levels, improves reaction times, protects against cardiovascular disease, and gives your body the energy it needs to battle through 18 holes. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 10 hours of sleep daily for “school-aged” children, 9-10 hours for teenagers, and 7-8 hours for adults, so make sure you go to bed on time the night before a big tournament.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your golf tournament. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reports that drinking water helps fight fatigue and heat exhaustion by lowering athletes’ body temperature. H2O is also responsible for transporting nutrients to vital organs, flushing out toxins and waste, and maintaining healthy bodily functions.

Contrary to what some may believe, water isn’t necessarily the best beverage to consume. Granted, water will hydrate you, but it doesn’t offer beneficial electrolytes, which you will need plenty of when playing 18 holes under the hot sun.

-Admin. “How to Prepare for a Golf Tournament for Junior Golfers.” Junior Players Golf Academy. Junior Players Golf Academy Blog © 2016, 19 Sept. 2014. Web. 4 Oct. 2016.

Performing Under Pressure, Enhance Your Performance!!

Mental Training for Golf

How much money are you willing to spend on a new driver to hit it further or more accurate?

How much money are you willing to spend on premier instruction?

The answer is the same for all of us. ANY AMOUNT NECESSARY to gain optimal performance, right?

So, how much have your spent on equipment and instruction?

Next question……how much have you invested into the mental side of golf? Answer………NOT ENOUGH…..

College Golf Camps™ has recently partnered with Winning Mind, LLC in San Diego, California. Winning Mind uses The Attentional & Interpersonal Style (TAIS) inventory- the world’s best assessment methodology to help individuals understand the conditions that undermine performance and help them operate more successfully under stressful conditions. This test allows you to compare your mental skills against other Elite Golfers.

Sample Junior Golfer Results
Sample Junior Golfer Results

Whether you like the analogy or not, the truth is, sport can be like entering combat. Sometimes your adversary is your opponent. Sometimes the real adversary is yourself. As well all know, golf is played against the golf course and yourself. We can’t help you improve your technical skills (e.g., how to swing the club or putt). This is better left to you and your coach or instructor. What we can do is help you make the best use of your physical talent and skills. It takes more than a long tee shot to win a golf tournament. It takes more than a beautiful golf swing to bounce back from defeat.

What if Junior Golfers could provide the following items to coaches: Rankings, Scores, Tournament Statistics, Swing Analysis(ie TrackMan, Flight Scope) and Mental Assessment. What more could a coach ask for? Physical skills, overall performance combined with your mental performance is a thorough assessment of your golf game.

Concentration skills, and the ability to shift both the width and direction (internal vs. external) are critical determinants of success or failure in virtually any performance situation. You cannot cross the street safely, without paying attention to performance relevant cues. You cannot communicate with another individual effectively without paying attention to the right cues. You cannot problem solve, without shifting attention and focusing on task relevant cues. You cannot get out of the starting blocks in the Olympics in time to win the race, without paying attention to the right cues.

The total package for junior golfers is now available. Email NOW!!

Ok, so I have taken the test now what?

College Golf Camps™ is pleased to introduce Dr. Nick Molinaro of, frequently seen on The Golf Channel’s The Golf Fix with Michael Breed and on SiriusXM PGATour Radio on A New Breed of Golf with Michael Breed. Dr. Nick is the Mental Coach for the Michael Breed Golf Academy, Fiddler’s Elbow Golf and Tennis Academies. He also works with athlete in all sports from Juniors to World Class.

The evaluation will assess 20 mental skills used in your golf performance. Dr. Nick will make a detailed analysis and each golfer will receive a 30 min debriefing video customized for each player indicating strengths and areas that need to be improved with mental tips from him. The assessment will be administered on-line and will take approximately 20-30 min.

Follow-up sessions with Dr. Nick with on-line mental skills coaching and hands-on-club-on-course training can be arranged and customized for the player’s needs.

Dr. Nick is offering the same golf mental skills assessment package that he uses with all of his players on the PGA,, LPGA, Symetra, Champions’, etc.

Take the test now for a significantly discounted price today. We have pricing available for junior golfers who attend our camps and junior golfer who do not attend.

Normal TAIS Assessment Fee – $395

CGC Camper TAIS Assessment Fee – $195

Non CGC Camper TAIS Assessment Fee – $245

Call 884-884-1551 for more information

Creating Well Rounded Junior Golfers

Cordie Walker with Golf Science Lab is joined by Bhrett McCabe, PhD.

Bhrett McCabe, PhD is a performance and sports psychologist that has worked extensively across a variety of settings and athletic groups through his company, The MindSide, LLC. Dr. McCabe has a diverse background of working in the pharmaceutical industry in clinical trial research and education prior to returning to his academic and professional training as a clinical and sports psychologist.

The important thing is early diversity and the early exposure to other sports that teach kids how to sit on the bench and realize that maybe you are not the superstar. And if you are not the superstar, can you be a role player? Can you be the guy that goes into a basketball game and only gets to play a third of the minutes, but you can learn how to play defense and maybe score two points?

The amazing thing about sports is that everybody is on a different maturation schedule and the guy or the girl who is four inches taller and stronger, who grew early may not grow last.

We have to start developing the psychological resiliency, communication skills, and how to deal with failures in juniors. For juniors that play other sports there is a benefit to playing with kids that are better than you, there is also a benefit of playing with kids that are not as good as you we have to allow for as many experiences as possible.
Failure Drills

It’s important to put an athlete through drills that forces them to not succeed and see how they deal with failure. We’re looking for players that go, “That drill that we did, kicked my butt, when are we doing it again? I’m going to get it this time” versus, “I don’t want to do that drill ever again because it made me lose my confidence.”

A drill can’t make you lose your confidence unless you chose to allow that drill to make you lose your confidence.

We have a putting drill that I do that is really hard called the ‘The Closer’ which is eight stations from five feet away around the hole and you have to make 24 in a row to win it, all from five feet or you have to start over.

The average completion time is over an hour-and-a-half the first time because the nerves start kicking in and the last putts are hard to make.

It’s a failure drill, you are going to fail at it, but can you handle the failure in order and put it in the back of your mind to focus on the success?

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Improve your focus, confidence and emotional management, TODAY!!

Do you want to improve focus, confidence and emotional management so that you are able to perform at your best when it counts the most? Of Course, you do, we all do!!

For a limited time, we are pleased to offer the TAIS Inventory test to measure your competitiveness, level of focus, confidence and emotional management. This is a world renown psychometric test that will compare your skills to Professional and top amateur golfers.

The Attentional & Interpersonal Style (TAIS) Inventory measures how individuals concentrate and behave. It is an inventory of style, not ability or intelligence. There are no right or wrong answers.

The TAIS Inventory consists of 144 items. Please allow approximately 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to complete the assessment.

Now, College Golf Camps™ is please to introduce Dr. Nick Molinaro of , frequently seen on The Golf Channel’s The Golf Fix with Michael Breed and on SiriusXM PGATour Radio on A New Breed of Golf with Michael Breed.

Dr. Nick is the Mental Coach for the Michael Breed Golf Academy, Fiddler’s Elbow Golf and Tennis Academies. He also works with athlete in all sports from Juniors to World Class.

The evaluation will assess 20 mental skills used in your golf performance. Dr. Nick will make a detailed analysis and each golfer will receive a 30 min debriefing video customized for each player indicating strengths and areas that need to be improved with mental tips from him. The assessment will be administered on-line and will take approximately 20-30 min.

Follow-up sessions with Dr. Nick with on-line mental skills coaching and hands-on-club-on-course training can be arranged and customized for the player’s needs.

Dr. Nick is offering the same golf mental skills assessment package that he uses with all of his players on the PGA,, LPGA, Symetra, Champions’, etc.

Save over 55% off this amazing opportunity to learn….

If you would like to receive this test and learn how to improve the areas you need most, email nick at NOW

Dr. Nick Molinaro and GRIT

Listen to Dr. Nick talk about GRIT!!

Dr. Nick Molinaro is a licensed psychologist with 35 years experience. He specializes in clinical counseling psychology, sport psychology, executive assessment and performance enhancement. He earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Scranton, Master’s degrees from Kean College and Seton Hall; a doctorate from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and post-graduate training at William and Mary, Temple University, and San Diego University for Integrative Studies. His office is in Mendham, New Jersey.

Dr. Nick is on the Golf Channel from time to time with Michael Breed.

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