Golf’s most influential figures all agree that managing the game’s mental rigors is the key to finding success in the sport. The great Bobby Jones famously quipped that competitive golf is played “mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course—the space between your ears,” and in Tiger Woods’ How I Play Golf tell-all which dedicates a chapter to the golf’s psychological component, he revealed that his greatest weapon is his “creative mind.”
All four major winners this year have brought up the virtue of patience as a contributing factor to their victories. At this past weekend’s Wyndham Championship, eventual winner Joohyung Kim began his tournament with a humbling quadruple bogey on his first hole. The 20-year-old shrugged off the adversity and embarrassment of the blowup, played his way into contention and went on to top the leaderboard on Sunday in style with a dominating five-stroke victory.
“I stayed very patient this week. That was the thing,” he told CBS’s Amanda Renner in a post-round interview. “I felt like after that quad, once I started to laugh it off, I was in a better mental state. Instead of getting angry and depressed, I stayed in the moment,” Kim continued.
With millions of dollars on the line, top players often tap into the expertise of a mental coach when they need to get their head straight. The caliber of mindset required to muster up championship level patience can cost a pretty penny. Of course, the cost-benefit for recreational players hasn’t really been there causing casual golfers to pay short thrift to the business of sharpening their mental acuity but golf gurua subscription-based app that launched in June, aims to change the dynamic.
During the early phases of product testing, they reached out to players on a handful of developmental tours across the pond including the Clutch tours, PGA EuroPro Tour and the Ladies European Tour.
“We saw a really good take up from people who may not be able to afford their own psychologist. We’ve had quite a few players who have seen various levels of success— Gabriella Cowley, on the LET, is one of them. I think there is a real opportunity there for us as we move forward to kind of be the psychologist for these developmental tour players that are on their way up,” Golf Guru co-founder, James Sinclair, explains.
High handicappers can also stand to benefit from mindfulness exercises aimed at promoting calmness, confidence and focus on the golf course as well as developing a positive and healthy attitude towards the game.
“Pretty much every golfer is struggling with something you can bucket into either lacking in confidence, struggling to focus or struggling to stay calm under pressure,” Sinclair explains.
“We want people to be focused and present and have a high level of self-belief. We also want them to have the tools to stay calm under pressure to deal with whatever a round of golf throws at them,” he adds.
The audio content itself runs the gamut from at-home or in-the-car guided meditations to put you in a positive mindset to real-time and immersive sessions meant to be listened to situationally as you actually play or practice. One that falls in that latter category is a simulation of a high stakes duel, pitting the listener up against Justin Thomas over a sequence of putts of varying distances on Sunday at the Masters.
“There’s a huge opportunity for every single golfer, whatever their ability, to improve their mental game. It’s almost like that side always plays second fiddle to the physical side. It’s the thing that is most often neglected but can potentially have the biggest impact on your ability to play better, even if you are a more casual golfer,” Sinclair says.
Golf Guru is currently forging partnerships with prominent golf psychologists who advise top-name players across the leading tours in order to bolster their mindfulness content and they are also on the verge of closing a pre-seed funding round. While its early days for the nascent platform, they have increased 8,000 users and they forecast they will have 13,000 paid subscribers by year end 2023.