AMELIA ISLAND – Many people agree a positive mental attitude is the key to success.
But keeping that attitude can be hard for professional athletes, particularly professional golfers, whose game relies on swings as close to perfection as they can get. This is magnified when thousands of people are watching.
Amelia Island hypnotherapist Dawn Grant found out this year how much a golfer’s state of mind can affect his or her game. And since Grant, in her work, seeks to get to the root of negative thinking and uses hypnotic suggestion to break those patterns, she thought she could help.
At the suggestion of a professional masseuse who works with athletes, she started attending PGA events at her own expense and was given credentials to talk to and work with golfers.
Since March, she has worked with three PGA golfers who say she’s helped them improve.
“Dawn is great for golfers and for me in particular because I sometimes can be too negative on myself and my game,” professional golfer Will MacKenzie said. “Working with her has helped me discover the root of that negativity in myself, and work to remove that from my mind. That allows me to free up mentally and play up to my own potential without limiting myself with negativity.”
Grant continues to attend the PGA events, but it’s now mostly at the expense of her clients, she said.
Grant, who has owned A New Dawn Hypnosis here for six years, said when someone gets the idea in their head he or she is going to fail in the future because of a past failure, that thought pattern can sabotage that person and it can be hard to break.
“There can be fear of failure, fear they aren’t competent, or fear of success,” she said.
One golfer she worked with said he didn’t want to be in a tournament’s top 10 because cameras would follow him and fame could cloud his personal life. Grant also said golfers can be self-destructive because they have no one to credit for the success or blame for their failures but themselves.
“People say golf is 95 percent mental,” Grant said. “And at the PGA level, there’s no question about the ability of the players. I’m able to help them with their belief patterns.”
As she’s worked with the golfers, she hasn’t just focused on their game, but also on the big picture of their lives, she said.
“I use hypnotherapy as a tool, but I’ve also started educating people on the power of their minds and their thoughts,” she said. “I don’t just focus on golf. And they become an overall happier, positive person. They become more relaxed. They enjoy the game out there. Getting angry is detrimental and doesn’t help anything.”
Grant recommends people visualize what they want, stay in the present and visualize success.
“Going into something with a positive expectation is setting yourself up for success,” she said. “Stay positive. Stay in the moment. Whenever you have a bad shot, learn from it and move forward.”
Tiger Woods does that naturally, she said.
“Tiger is a good example of what to be,” she said. “He expects to play well. He’s got so many positive thoughts about himself. He expects that he will shoot well. If it doesn’t go the way he wants it to, he’s surprised. He’s shocked.”
For client professional golfer Cameron Beckman, what helped him was learning to talk to himself.
“Dawn has taught me to think and say positive suggestions to myself while playing” he said. “These suggestions are reinforced by the hypnotherapy. Things have changed for me with very little effort.”