Mind Guru – Gail Smirthwaite

Image“I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you a little about what I do. I currently write for ‘Lady Golfer Magazine’ on Golf Mind Matters in the UK – you may already have seen one of my articles.

I am also a trainer on the CPD programme for the PGA (Professional Golf Association – UK) and I tour UK Golf Clubs conducting talks on ‘how to play golf with confidence’ to all standards of golfers.

I am sponsored by ‘Glen Muir’ which is one of the leading prestigious golf clothes companies in the UK. I also coach many individual tour golfers including Alison Nicholas who is our ex-US Open Golf Champion and who has just been announced at the 2009 Solheim Cup UK and European Captain.

I have also developed a programme called ‘Confidence Caddie’ which led to me writing my book entitled ‘The 7 Secrets of a Highly Successful Golfer’, which is now currently available as an Introduction to my new E-Course in the products section of the site.

I look forward to helping you to master the mind game of golf in 2009 – don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter on the Home Page.”

Kind regards

Gail Smirthwaite


— Letter From Gail

This is my first newsletter since the Masters and I just wanted to share an email I received from one of my readers:

'Masters thought. How does Kenny Perry on the 72nd hole with a one shot lead hit
driver off the tee and bring the fairway bunker in play. He could hit 3 wood
7 iron and win. I just don't get it.' Richard.

My reply:

Reference to Perry I think the answer to this one absolutely rests with the mental side of his game. His self-talk must have really kicked in to help sabotage the process, and obviously nerves got the better of his rational decision-making process. Hence, this somewhat stupid decision (but hindsight is a wonderful thing) – it seems to happen to so many golfers when the trophy is in sight they mess up on the last couple of holes!

There could be several reasons for this and without talking to Mr. Perry himself it would be difficult to provide an accurate answer of what actually was driving his thought processes. I would hazard a professional guess that Perry's ability to make a rational decision at this stage of the competition was beaten by his emotional responses taking over. Knowing that winning THE biggest accolade in golf was within his grasp tested his nerves and his ability to make rational decisions.

To simplify how the process of decision-making takes place may shed some light on what I mean. Your brain has two routes to take when making a decision; to think emotionally or think rationally. The latter almost always produces the best or safer results; emotional decisions can send you a roller-coaster of highs and lows!

What happens is that 'fear and flight' kicks in as your heart starts to beat faster and your hands sweat – you just want to hit the ball and get out of there as quickly as possible. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you tense, perhaps make a wrong decision on Club choice and then hit a poor shot.

It is quicker and easier to make an emotional decision than to go the logical route within your brain. We are talking only a milli-second but in prehistoric days this really was a matter of life and death. We have taken this 'gut' reaction with us and when in high pressured situations we still react emotionally and not rationally – hence Perry's illogical decision to do what he did at such an important stage of the competition.

If you want to know more about this then I give a full explanation in CD 2 'How to Overcome First Tee Nerves' –

W is for ''WHEEL''

It will probably comes as no surprise to you that over the course of my career I have spoken to many golfers about what bothers them the most about how they play golf.

Many of you have filled in my mini-questionnaire when joining, and the answers that you have given help in creating many of the resources and the regular newsletters. I thought I would share just a few of the answers I have received to the question – 'What is your biggest mind challenge when it comes to your game of golf?
If I find myself playing great for about 15 or 16 holes I begin to lose it!

  • Loss of confidence on the tee
  • Belief in my game
  • Confidence and consistency
  • Fear of doing well
  • Fear of doing badly
  • Placing too much pressure on myself
  • I want to stop freezing under medal conditions
  • Striving to improve my game
  • Starting bad and getting worse!
  • How many of the above ring a bell with you?

The solution to almost every mind challenge is about having more confidence, not only in yourself but in your playing ability. I decided that one of the best ways to help my clients was to devise a resource to help with consistency.

That's how 'The Consistency Wheel' came to be. This resource can sort out all of the above and create that consistency you crave?


How the Wheel Came to Be?

The wheel as we know is a very old invention and is often attributed to being one of the most revolutionary ideas that changed the progress of mankind. So excuse the pun when I say 'I haven't reinvented the wheel' but I have developed a different use for what it visually represents.

What better visual analogy could anyone ask for when looking for a solution to such a long term problem for many golfers? So if the wheel is widely believed to be one of the single most important inventions created by mankind then surely it is a great idea to not reinvent it, but to use all the basic principals a wheel embodies to create the type of consistency you seek within your golf?

The Wheel will work through the following:
-It will take you straight to the REAL problems you have with your golf
-It will help you to work out a strategy to 'practice' wisely
-The process can be used as many times as it takes you to create the level of consistency you seek
-That's the power of The Consistency Wheel'. It's beautifully simple and so easy to use. I use this in all my Golf Club Talks because -it is a real tool everyone can take away and use that really makes a difference.

What does the Wheel do?
-It connects you to yourself by creating awareness
-It provides the RELEVANT information you need to create a consistently good game of golf
-It offers an opportunity to practice wisely
-It allows for your own personal adaptation of what you learn so that the follow programme is unique to you!


Enough of what it does so HOW DOES IT WORK?



1. The Spokes On The Wheel –

Draw a large circle on a piece of paper and then draw 4 lines so that you divide it into eight sections.

You then need to number your spokes starting with 10 going on the outside going down in a scale to the number 1 in the centre. The topic is in the section to the right of the spoke so when answer the question for each topic use the spoke to the left of it to mark where you feel you are on a scale of 1 to 10.

So for instance there is a section on 'putting'; so on the spoke to the left put an X next to the number on a scale of 1 to 10 on how good you feel about your putting -10 being REALLY GOOD – 1 being VERY POOR. (See Fig 2)

See Figure 1:


The idea is to ask yourself how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10 about each of the areas of golf I have put down for you – BE HONEST – this is for your eyes only. Once you have all your X's in place I want you to join them up so that you have an inner circle based on joining up the X's as the example in Figure 2 shows.

The Results

How far would your wheel be able to go if it were put on a bike?

The Consistency Wheel now shows you INSTANTLY and visually where your INCONSISTENCIES lie. It is now up to you to practice those elements that scored low.

Figure 2:


So many golfers I know like to practice what they are already good at – BUT IF YOU ARE SERIOUS about sorting out your inconsistencies then focus on the lowest scoring areas first and once all these have moved up to around 8 or 9 then move onto the other areas.

Often bringing up one area of your golf will impact on another especially where your CONFIDENCE is concerned. For instance; say your putting score was at 3 and the Consistency Wheel inspired you to bring that score to 7 or 8 this will also impact on your confidence scoring. By putting well and lowering your score your confidence increases.

The Wheel is the complete picture hence creating consistency in all areas of your golf from the mind, to technique, to fitness and nutrition.

If you would like to work more with your 'Consistency Wheel', I will be making the template for the wheel available on the new member site and giving more advice and instruction. An important element is how to use the Wheel in relation to how you learn or take in information to make this process even more effective.

REMEMBER: I work you through many tips that will help you with your mental confidence but nothing does more for your confidence than playing really well. The two need to work together in order for you to play consistently well.

Till next time …