Sport Golf

Wednesday 13 December 2017

McDowell's mind guru can save you five shots

Graeme McDowell, pictured here taking a break at Doral, has impressed his mind coach, Karl Morris, so far this year
Graeme McDowell, pictured here taking a break at Doral, has impressed his mind coach, Karl Morris, so far this year
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

GOLFERS struggle in every round to get the balance right between mind, body and spirit – as Rory McIlroy can confirm after a turbulent few weeks.

His 'McMeltdown' at the Honda Classic is well documented, but a closing 65 and a tied-eighth finish in the WGC Cadillac Championship last weekend brings the promise of better things to come for the young maestro.

By contrast, Graeme McDowell rarely shows his disappointments publicly and grinds away steadily.

One reason for that is the guy's stoic and competitive temperament, and another is the maintenance work he carries out on the mental side of the game.

McDowell's mind coach Karl Morris has been pleased with the early season form of the player who finished joint third in the Cadillac Championship.

"I was over a couple of times in the States with Graeme last year and I spent a week with him in Lake Nona in January. He had a long break but he's smart enough to know what's right and wrong for his game," said Morris. "He knows himself a lot better and it's such a long season now that the real skill at that level is careful scheduling.

"Graeme's got a number of projects going on, but when I saw him in the middle of January, he was really fired up and ready to go for the year."

Morris also works with the GUI elite and 'ordinary' club players and is impressed with the emerging talent in the amateur game.

Reeve Whitson's recent victory in the Spanish Amateur Championship is an indication of the quality coming through the ranks.

"They are fantastic. I was with a bunch of them with Neil Manchip in November and I was very impressed with the whole set-up with the GUI," he said.

"Their players have very good role models in Padraig (Harrington), Rory, Graeme and Darren (Clarke), and they have a great work ethic.

"One of the things that strikes me in Ireland that's very different to the UK, and that is the club competitions. Club competition in Ireland is such a big thing. There's almost no parallel in the UK.

"Castle GC in Dublin got me over last year for a full day and we talked about a few simple strategies of what they could do in pressure situations and they did well, didn't they?"

Indeed they did, as the Castle made a historic breakthrough by winning the 2012 Irish Senior Cup.

Individuals and clubs who want to find out a bit more about Morris' methods can attend two seminars he is holding next week.

The first is at Monkstown GC in Cork on Thursday, March 21, and the second is at the Links Hotel, Portmarnock, on Friday, March 22, both starting at 7.30pm.

The theme is intriguingly titled 'Five shots lower without changing your swing'.

"We're not saying 'don't work on your swing' but I'm basically presenting a number of ideas that you can implement without altering your technique that can hopefully save you five shots," said Morris.

Further details and booking information can be obtained on the GUI website.

Irish Independent

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