Practice is a key to success in any sport. Even at the professional level you’ll find athletes -- football players, for example -- who spend many more hours on the practice field than they do in actual competition. For the young, developing athlete, practice is even more important. When Tiger Woods was very young he had “a beautiful, fundamentally sound golf swing,” his father, Earl Woods, wrote in the foreword to Woods’ book, “How I Play Golf.” Young Tiger, however, still spent countless hours practicing. Despite his inherent athletic skills, a grown-up Tiger says there is only one way to reach his golf goals: “Practice and more practice.”
Bobby Jones once said that the game of golf is played on a five-inch course — the distance between the ears. So it is not surprising that mental training aids abound and cover a vast amount of territory. Many professional golfers hire a mental coach to help them reach their full potential, and many books, videos and DVDs explore the mental aspect of competition. You don't have to be a pro to benefit from training your mind as well as your swing.