The Mental Game


Mental Insights from David Wright, Ph.D.


February 2009



Q: What process (or method) would you recommend to assist golfers in performing their best?


A: While the fundamentals of golf are important, like posture, grip and alignment, the most fundamental thing we do as human beings and as golfers is breathing. Most golfers (and people in general) don't realize that there are fundamentals to breathing properly for optimal mental performance on the golf course and in life. Our quality of life is reflected in the way we breathe. Someone who is tense will tend to have rapid, shallow breaths. Relaxed people tend to breathe deeply and slowly. Shallow breathing causes changes in your nervous system that promote an acceleration of the signs of stress. An accelerated nervous system causes muscle tension, lapses in concentration and mental strength, and poor performance.


Relaxed Breathing (deep diaphragmatic breathing) calms the nervous system and promotes a state of relaxation, which is consistent with good health and performance. A good process to do on or off the course is to check in with the quality of your breathing.  An easy way to do this is to simply count the number of breaths you take in a 30 second period of time. Focus on lenthening the inhale and the exhale and deepening the breath.


David Wright

About Dr. David F. Wright: Dr. David Wright, has been a golf teaching professional for over 20 years. Dr. Wright's students range from beginner to professional levels. He works with over 100 tour players worldwide. He conducts golf schools and individual lessons at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, California, as well as at other select national and international locations. He has authored two golf books and numerous videos and teaching aids. As one of the top teachers in America, Dr. Wright is able to draw upon this diverse background to help golfers reach their maximum potential. For more information about David Wright visit