Jack Nicklaus Visualisation Drill
The Jack Nicklaus Visualisation Drill is from the Golf Practice Planner.
Jack Nicklaus Visualisation Drill
Golf Mindset Practice Drills
4 out of 10
15 seconds (per shot)
In this Jack Nicklaus visualisation drill, you’re going to learn ways to visualise a golf shot. I recommend you choose Jack Nicklaus as your course management caddy.
You can’t afford the real Jack to teach you course management, but you can use a visualisation technique to imagine a teeny tiny Jack Nicklaus sitting on your right shoulder whispering into your ear pearls of course management wisdom.
Step 1: Watch
Watch the video.
Step 2: Visualise Teeny Jack
When on the course, imagine a teeny tiny Jack on your right shoulder telling you about his top-secret golf visualisation technique…
“Never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in your head. First see the ball where you want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and you see the ball going there; its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behaviour on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows you making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.” – Jack Nicklaus
This sage advice from Jack will prevent you from doing what I used to as a college golfer in the 1990s – whack loads of balls quickly. Slow deliberate practice using visualisation is infinitely better than the fast variety!
Step 3: On Course
When on the course, practice visualising shots in different ways.
Below are some examples of visualisations.
There is no right or wrong. There is only what works for you. So, if you can’t see the flight of the ball. That’s fine. For example, Tiger Woods relies more on the feel in his hands than on visualising ball flights.
Bounce: visualise the bounce of the ball and it coming to rest.
Close your eyes: when standing behind the ball close your eyes and visualise the path the shot will take. Then open your eyes and step into the shot.
Feel the shot in your hands: feel the shot in your hands, like Tiger Woods. Tiger will stand behind the ball and with his right hand make the move he wants (e.g. draw, fade).
Mind Movie: Jack Nicklaus once said: “Never hit a practice shot without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in your head. First see the ball where you want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes, and you see the ball going there; its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behaviour on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows you making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.“
Rehearse Swing: rehearse the swing you need (e.g. draw swing if you’re going to hit a draw).
See it before you swing it: never hit a shot before you see it in your mind’s eye first. Only walk into the ball when you’ve seen the shot you want to hit in your mind’s eye.
See yourself hitting the shot: When behind the ball instead of just seeing the ball flight, see yourself hitting the perfect shot.
Unique Feature: Pick out something unique about the target, and describe it (it doesn’t matter what you describe; the act of describing it clarifies the image). Jack will often verbally describe the shot out loud.
Step 4: Keep Score
Below are three games.
Game 1: Practice Ground Visualization
Hit 10 ball. Give yourself a point for each shot that you visualised during your preshot routine. You get no point if you forget to visualise and got trapped into thinking about technique. If you want to take this a step further, after you visualise a shot, write down what you visualised in your Golf Practice Plan. When you get home, look at what you’ve written. Find ways of enhancing the visualisations (see step 3). Give yourself a point each time you write down the visualisation and improve it.
Game 2: Play 18 Holes On The Practice Ground
Visualise and play the entire round on the practice ground. Imagine yourself on the first tee. Pull out your yardage chart, pick the club that matches your course strategy, and hit the shot. Play each hole like this. The only shots you won’t be hitting are putts. Give yourself one point for each hole you visualised (the maximum score is 18 points).
Game 3: Play 18 Holes In Bed
Visualise how you want to play each hole the night prior to your round, even if it isn’t a tournament. You can do this while relaxing in your bed. Give yourself one point for each hole you visualise (the maximum score is 18 points).