Golf Shot Visualization: There is No Spoon

I think the Matrix is a great movie. Simple plot along the hero’s journey set forth by Joseph Campbell mixed with some philosophical tones of free will. There is one scene I really like. It is when Neo meets a young child while waiting to meet with the Oracle and the child teaches Neo about bending reality through positive visualization.

The child holds a spoon in his hand and Neo watches as the spoon bend and twist without the child moving a muscle. The child returns the spoon to its normal shape and hands it to Neo. Neo sits down and stares at the spoon.

The child says to Neo:

“Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth. There is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”

Neo stares at the spoon and says, “There is no spoon.” The spoon’s head droops and the child smiles.

What if we apply this to our golf game?

Golf Shot Visualization

Here is the common scenario: you hit your approach shot wide of the green by 10 feet. The ball rests on nice rough giving it a gentle bed of grass to chip. Between you and the flag (and glory) sits a sand trap. Its tan bed shaped like the open mouth hungry for golf balls. At anytime, you expect to see the Sarlack to open its maw and arise. Funny the course did not mention that one on the scorecard.

Chip shot Visualization
A simple chip shot over a sand trap to the green behind.

Negative Visualization

The shot is a simple 10-foot chip shot. You have the perfect club for this shot, PW or SW. You can do this shot in your sleep but now you are in a nightmare because instead of thinking of where you want to be putting from, you are thinking of how your next shot may be out of the sand if you flop this chip. Why is this your part of your thought process and shot set up?

Chip shot
Visualization of how you see the sand trap when you focus on missing the chip.

The sand trap cannot move to intercept your ball. It is stationary and the standard flight path of the PW is lofty and will clear the trap by several feet. Still this sand trap sits there and mocks you. Why?  Because you let it.

Positive Visualization

The truth you need to know is that there is no sand trap.  Your shot will clear the trap  no problem.  The skill lies within you and you know how to chip.

Chip shot
How you see the sand trap once you realize it does not matter to your chip shot.

Set up to the ball and say out loud:

There is no spoon.

Look at that mantra. It is the rare use of negative statement where we prefer to focus on the positive. We removed all reference to the sand trap. The sentence is a movie quote and will draw your mind to the face of smiling child at Neo’s small victory.

When you replaced the sand trap with the spoon, you removed the trap from your mind and shot profile. Now swing nice and easy to your target, the pin.

This can be used for drives over water or to carry over environmental areas.  Anytime you allow doubt to enter your mind, erase it and remember “There is no spoon.”

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