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Golf in Godzone: Mal’s “Slip Of The Tongue”

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

Mal Tongue coached Michael Campbell during Cambo’s amateur years and no doubt can take a wee bit of credit for his later successes.

Mal writes for the Pacific Golfer and in his regular column “Slip of the Tongue” Mal writes, “Helping the mind climb the mountain” he goes on to say, “The (NZ) game is not in robust good health and it is reflected in the fact Danny Lee is our only player ranked inside the world’s top 200  and no other Kiwi features in the top 450. For that to change there has to be a massive mind shift.”

Mal is long on copy but short on concrete steps on how to manifest the massive mind shift. However to his credit he has tried. Phillip Leishman; New Zealand’s leading media man on golfing matters wrote in his blog, July 12, 2010.

“I was a bit surprised at the criticism directed at NZ Golf recently from former National coach Mal Tongue. Mal, nice guy as he is has a particular issue with NZ Golf and its administration. It was well known that he had acrimonious break up with NZ Golf and their management back in 2004 when he staged a mass walkout with other coaches on a day described by some as the blackest day for amateur golf in this country.”

Alas there’s no details of the “blackest day” bust up but it does appear that performances by New Zealanders have been going downhill since at least 2004.

Seems like along time ago and I’ll have to take Mal’s word for it. “For us to go forward as a golfing nation and have players featuring among the top 100 in the world – remember, we once had five with that status…”

Five! And now we’ve got two and they are both amateur ladies; Lydia Ko at number one and Cecilia Cho at number three.

Try as I may to find out more about the backgrounds of the people at NZ Golf who don’t push paper but who work with the top amateurs, there’s not much out there. And I don’t know if their mind coach knows or cares much about NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) which is very big on modelling; like find someone who does something really well and model the way they think and act.

Given their world rankings, Lydia and Cecilia have the kind of model mind sets the Kiwi men need. And I have to agree with Mal that, “The players produced in this country in the past 20 years have been technically superior to many of their overseas rivals...They can hit, shape and manoeuvre the ball as well or better than any American, European, Asian or Australian.”

Here’s the link to Phil’s blog

Quote of the Day

"All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
The mind is everything. What we think we become."

 - Favourite NLP saying attributed to The Buddha

Could it be that Lydia and Cecilia aren’t easily distracted and spend more time thinking about being a winner?


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