If you caught the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open, you saw Vision54's teachings at their best. Na Yeon Choi, a diminutive player who has a shy yet determined way about her, navigated many obstacles on her way to victory at the difficult Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.
After a third-round 65 that beat the field’s average score of the day by 8 shots, Choi triple-bogeyed the 10th hole on the final day to let the leaders close within 2 shots.
“That moment maybe I thought I might screw up today, but then I thought I needed to fix that,” Choi told reporters later. She gathered herself and bounced back from the snowman with a birdie on 11 and an improbable par from deep fescue on 12, continuing with smart golf down the stretch to her first major win.
How did she do it? Choi is a student of Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, the creators of Vision54—54 in that it is possible to shoot a round of all birdies and a score of 54. Nilsson and Marriott want golfers to think of that as a realistic goal.
NBC analyst Annika Sorenstam explains the practice as “self-talk.” One listens for personal signals and reacts to them. It is about trusting decisions already made and committing to them.
In Play Your Best Golf Now, Nilsson and Marriott teach players how to keep their minds off the game in between shots, especially at critical moments in a tournament. Choi did this by chatting with her caddie about the trip home. Then she focused 100 percent (but no more than 7 seconds) on each shot.
By focusing on the smaller details, like where to position the ball on the tee, she avoided both getting ahead of herself and dwelling on the past. This is life teaching at its best, to be used on and off the course. The book outlines 8 essentials to a consistent game, to follow whether you’re playing in the U.S. Open or your local club championship.
My ebook is cluttered with notes, highlights, and tags, and I used a few of the techniques at my club championship this year. I didn’t win, but I was especially happy with the way I recovered from my poor holes. In fact, I consistently parred after a particularly bad hole. That’s a confidence builder, for sure … win or lose.