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Golf: Something to Chew On

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

‘Jordan Spieth's secret weapon at Birkdale? Gum-chewing. Can it help your game, too? Writes Josh Sens who also asks, “But do positive claims about gum-chewing stand up to closer scrutiny?’

Time for a new piece perhaps?
Josh writes, ‘Jordan Spieth delivered a post-round press conference that could have passed for a Wrigley’s commercial.
Spieth told reporters that he’d teed off that morning while chomping on mint gum that his instructor, Cameron McCormack, had given him on the practice range.
“I was one under through two, and I thought I better keep it in and it’s still in now,” Spieth said. “It’s probably time for a new piece.”

Time to think again for those who have tried almost everything else to improve their performance on the golf course? But maybe not because as we all know there’s no permanent quick fix

In Parent’s opinion

Josh quotes, ‘Joe Parent, a noted mental game coach who worked with three-time major champion Vijay Singh, believes in gum-chewing’s potential as a stress-reliever.
In Parent’s view, the true power of gum, mint-flavored or otherwise, likely lies in its role as a placebo. “It has worked for (Spieth) because he believes it works,” Parent says. 

That view is seconded by sports psychologist and former collegiate golfer Jared Tendler.
“Classic placebo,” Tendler says. “And once it stops working, (Spieth) will look for a new one.”

Chew gum to relax and focus?

Josh does his own research on what the experts think and as for me I found the following from Dr. Travis Bradberry co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0

‘Chewing gum actually lowers your cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for stress. But chewing gum doesn’t just reduce stress, it also makes you more alert and improves your performance in memory-oriented tasks. It does so by increasing the blood flow to your brain and alerting your senses. When you experience a stressful situation while chewing gum, your body is less likely to go into the primal fight-or-flight mode (which results in poor decisions and inability to focus).’

Alas neither Dr Bradbury or Adam MacDougall who wrote The 10-Minute Man provide scientific data that suggests as MacDougall writes, ‘cortisol levels were 16 per cent lower in people who chewed gum.’ Therefore it’s your call to chew on it or not

Link to Josh Sens and Dr Travis Bradberry

Quote of the Day

“Flattery is like chewing gum. Enjoy it but don’t swallow it”– Hank Ketcham, creator of the American Dennis the Menace

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