Review: ProMental Coach

Golf “Training” that is fun, easy and effective
When it comes to golfing, we all want to get better.  The path to getting better can often be confusing.  Will buying new clubs help me score better?  Will taking lessons help me score better?  Will spending more time at the range help me score better?  Will just playing more help me score better?  The list could go on and on. 
Sometimes it is a combination of those answers that might help you score better, but one area that most amateurs overlook is the mental side of the game of Golf.  Maybe you’ve heard the quote “90% of the game of golf is played between your ears.”  Yet how is an amateur going to get mentally tougher without hiring a mental coach? (which by the way is really expensive)  There really aren’t a lot of options, there are a few books out there, but for the most part, they talk about principles of mental toughness, but don’t interact with the mind in a way to create that toughness needed to stay in the zone and shrug off the errant shot or distractions.

The ProMental Coach is designed to go where only expensive professionals can “train” your mind while being affordable and portable.  All you need is a computer with a disk drive and you can start your training.  They suggest starting with at least a 6 week program.  I had no idea what to expect, I had never done anything like this before.   To start the installation is really easy and quick, just pop the disk in (Mac or PC), type in the registration code, fill out a couple details about yourself and away you go.

The first session has some baseline training, it is the standard in order to gauge your progress over the next 6 weeks.  At first it seems like just some simple computer games, some are a little like IQ tests, but nothing is too difficult.  It actually was kind of fun.  I really enjoyed the first session and once you are done, then you set up a schedule for continued training.

I actually looked forward to the next time I got to train.  The games are fun, different, and golf based.  It might be calculating distance, or time, or spotting the ball.  Over the first few weeks of training I noticed a couple of the exercises seemed a bit tedious.  There were a few that seemed like they should have been done in 2 minutes and yet lasted 4 or more minutes.  At first that kind of bugged me.  Enough already, until I recognized that is one of my mental issues on the course.  I get impatient and want to keep moving and sometimes I have to wait, staying in the right mindset while waiting is huge, and clearly something I needed to improve on.

There were a few games that seemed really easy and a few that were really tricky.  As you got better at each game over the weeks of training, they increase the difficulty level as well.   It continued to be a fun challenge each session.

So I had two experiments with the training.  I wanted to see what actually happened when I used the training and what happened when I stopped training.  So I decided to do 4 weeks of training, two weeks off and then back for a final week.

After the first week of training I didn’t notice much different on the course.  But after the second week of training I noticed how well I was driving the ball.  I hit more fairways than I ever had.  It didn’t matter which driver I was playing either.  If you look I’ve tested about 5 different drivers over the past 6 weeks.  I was crushing it down the middle hole after hole.  By week 4 I noticed the rest of my game was starting to get better too.  It wasn’t that I was swinging better, I was just doing things more consistent.  I still had a wild shot here or there, but not nearly as many, my mental focus was much better.  I also found my putting to be much better.  Since putting is mostly mental anyways, it makes sense to see real improvement there too.  I averaged about 2 less putts per round too.  So after 4 weeks I was shooting about 3 to 4 strokes better than when I started.  I had been averaging around 83 per 18 holes and now I was averaging 79 per 18 holes.

Step two was to take a break from training to see what would happen.  The first week it didn’t really matter I was still playing in the zone and was shooting right around 79.  But on the second week I was creeping up toward the low 80s again.  I could mentally feel I wasn’t always there.  Sure there were lots of things going on at work and at home, but the mental sharpness was missing.   So once I started training again, things started heading in the right direction.  The mental toughness returned and scores started going back down, even after just one week back at it.

So who is this for?  In my mind, this is ideal for anyone who has hit a plateau.  Let’s say you have consistently shot the same scored for some time.  New clubs don’t change things, nothing really changes, you just always shoot the same.  This I believe will get you over that hump and going lower.  Another person that this would be great for is if you play competitively.  If you play in tournaments this is almost as important as a lob wedge.  Being “mentally” strong can save you many strokes in tournament play, and will help you handle the pressure better on that 10 foot putt to win the match.

This isn’t necessarily for the recreational golfer who goes out to drink beers with his buddies and plays a few times a year; this is for the dedicated golfer who really wants to get better and is willing to put in the time, yet have fun training mentally. It costs about the same as a single wedge so if you are dedicated to getting better, this is a great investment.  I am going to make this a regular part of my “training”, no more weeks off for me.

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Quick Hits
+Portable and Personal

-Takes time and dedication