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If you are a competitive golfer then you need good golf psychology to play your best and develop your skills faster. Unfortunately, most golfers focus all their efforts on the swing and short game until they get really frustrated. Then they start looking for mental game help.

Most golfers think a Sport Psychologist is what they need to improve their mental game for golf. Popular thought is a sports psychologist can help you learn to improve your focus, manage your emotions, and deal with nerves and anxiety.


Questions to Ask Your Sport Psychologist

The first question you should be asking is how much they know about golf.

Secondly, are they experienced in helping golfers?

Find out how successful they’ve been. Are their clients successful? At what levels in golf are they experienced and successful?


Sport Psychology History

Sport Psychology is not a licensed or legally controlled profession. Anyone can call themselves a Sport Psychologist. No education or degree necessary. There have been notable practitioners with no sport psychology or psychology education at all. Chuck Hogan was one of these yet he was able to get the LPGA Coaching Division to adopt his theories and methods years ago.

Part of the problem here is that Sport Psychology is a new degree, a new profession. Dr. Bruce Ogilvie is considered the Father of North American Sport Psychology. He published his first book on the topic in 1966 and began coaching athletes that year. He conducted some studies on athletes in risky sports and found they had superior intelligence, emotional stability and independence compared to others that did not participate in risky sports. Golf was not one of those sports.

He was a consultant to the United States Olympic athletes from 1960 to his death in 2003.

It was not until the 1990’s that any college or university programs offered a degree in Sport Psychology. There is still no state licensing for Sport Psychology.

Now consider that the concepts and methods promoted by most sport psychologists are based on research with athletes in other sports. Olympic athletes have been subjects as have many college athletes. These studies have generated general concepts like Optimum Levels of Arousal for Performance.


Why to Use A Golf Psychology Expert vs A Sport Psychologist

Then there is Golf. Arguably the most difficult sport mentally of all.

Do you want a generalist trying to apply general principles from other sports to your mental game for golf? Do you want advice from a person with limited golf experience? Do you want the same advice they give everyone?

A sport psychologist is necessarily a generalist with some amount of golf experience. They often work with athletes in lots of other sports. But those other sports are easier than golf mentally. Simple coaching can work in those other sports. Golf is much more complex. Relax and block those thoughts will not work well for the 5 hours it takes to play a round of competitive golf. There is too much going on and time to think. The rounds take too long and most important tournaments are multi-day challenges.

You want a Golf Psychologist for your mental game coaching. You want a Golf Psychologist that is using methods based on Tour level research. You want a Golf Psychologist that has a lot of experience on Tour and with golfers at your level. You want a Golf Psychology expert that has lots of client successes.

You want an expert in golf, not a generalist in all sports. Golf is too difficult mentally. The generalist may help, they may not. Much like a book on the subject. How much of the book is right for you? How much of the book is wrong for you? You won’t know until you try. Do you have time to waste?

Dr. Deborah Graham is a golf psychology expert who has a PhD in counseling psychology from 1982. Dr. Bruce Ogilvie was on her dissertation committee. She did the first study of the LPGA Tour players to earn that doctorate. She did not get a degree in sport psychology. It was not offered anywhere in the US then.

She went on to earn her license to practice psychology in California and later was also licensed to practice in Texas.

Golf Psychology Training

The 8 Traits of Champion Golfers Book – Based on the scientific Tour Level research of Dr. Deborah Graham

In 1990, she completed studies of the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour players. Along with her study of the LPGA players, these were the first and only mentality studies of the best golfers in the world.

From 1990 she worked on the Tours full time for the next 20 years and then tapered off her Tour traveling. She has worked with over 400 Tour players and 21 of those players have won 31 Majors while she worked with them. She continues to work with Tour clients and other competitive golfers at all levels.

The results of these studies and her methods and tools are available to you for your game. We call our system GolfPsych. You can do it yourself with our online assessments and tools, attend small group schools of 4 players or get individual coaching directly.

This individual coaching is possible with Dr. Graham or any of the excellent teaching pros that have attended our Instructor Training and are now Certified GolfPsych Instructors.

Any of these Certified GolfPsych Instructors will be more effective for your mental golf game than any general Sport Psychologist!

Still unsure about why you should use a golf psychology expert? For details and to answer any questions, go to and contact us. We look forward to helping you with your mental golf game and to your success. You can also comment or fill out the form below.

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"Thanks for the GolfPsych updates.  I used them a lot when I played on the PGA Tour and I still use them quite a bit here at Illinois with my team!" - Mike Small


SportPsych, Inc.
DBA GolfPsych
2 Blue Heron Blvd.
Boerne, TX 78006


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