For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do!

My man Tiger was on form this weekend, and observing the attitudes displayed by Tiger and Rory McIlroy prompted the idea for this weeks main tip.

While Tiger’s attitude has improved greatly over the past year, Rory’s has always seemed to be excellent to me. Rory actually seems to enjoy the whole golf experience more than Tiger, which will serve him well in the long run. Tiger’s new found self control is already serving him well, as manifested by his recent play. Figuratively speaking, I just wish he’d take more time to stop and smell the roses.

After last week’s newsletter article about anger management on the course, I received several comments. They ranged from one golfer saying that he loved the premise of the article and vowed to never show anger again on the course, to one guy that said he liked to maintain a little “edginess’ when he plays (not quite sure what that means), to another golfer that said he was going to wear his ear buds when he played and listen to Bob Marley’s “Don’t Worry – Be Happy’.

I think I stand somewhere between “edgy guy” and “Don’t Worry – Be Happy” guy.

Coincidentally, I was doing research for this issue and ran across some relevant material from renowned sports psychologist Dr. Gio Valiante on attitude.

Last week I essentially said don’t let a bad shot get you down, and don’t display anger on the course. I gave you ten seconds or ten paces for your anger to dissipate, and then it’s back to business.

I want to go into a little more detail on why it helps to maintain a great attitude when you play, then you can decide on which demeanor will suit you the best personally.

Forcing a good attitude can be accomplished through reverse causality. Reverse causality refers to a direction of cause-and-effect contrary to a common presumption. As used here, it means that you can actually force your body to perform better by forcing yourself to have a good attitude, instead of playing with a less than optimal attitude.

You can actually make it happen! 

When you carry a good attitude, and perhaps even with a sense of humor after a bad shot, you physiologically change your body. You produce HGH, human growth hormone, and beta endorphins, which are neurochemicals within your body that result in greater muscle relaxation, better cognitive processing, better mood, and a generally better overall profile for a performance athlete.

Note to VJ: dump the deer antler spray and get happy. 

The opposite is also true when you play with a toxic attitude and display a lot of anger and frustration when things don’t go your way.

If you think that for some reason you are entitled to shoot good scores but have a bad day, your anger will physiologically effect your performance. Bad attitude creates high stress, which in turn generates the production of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which compromises your swing as well as your putting stroke.

This mix of toxic chemicals that change inside your body is why we can actually see the difference between a golfer with a good attitude and a bad attitude on film, their bodies actually work differently.

A stressed golfer has issues with tension which affect posture, grip and swing mechanics This in turn causes a loss of speed, as well as release problems. As a result, you’ll hit more bad shots and respond negatively to those bad shots.

With the knowledge that a good attitude is actually going to change your physiology, which is going to lead to better golf swings, really make a conscious effort to enjoy the golf experience itself – it can do nothing but help all phases of your game.

It’s not to just put a smile on your face, it’s to really enjoy the journey

Love your practice, enjoy your golf,


Tom Tucker is a World Golf Teachers and United States Golf Teacher Federation-certified golf instructor. He may be contacted via his website or at the Plum Creek driving range in Batavia, NY.