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Golf Psychology 1927

Posted February 7, 2014 by admin with No Comments in 1920's

Psychology is spreading like a weed. It has even invaded the golf courses, we are told by The British Medical Journal (London). The latest example is a small volume on mental handicaps in golf, by Dr. T. B. Hyslop, who is not only an enthusiastic golfer, but also an entertaining writer. Says The Journal:

Before we opened it we felt instinctively that the book would add another to those distractions which afflicted the centipede of fable, and indeed the honorary secretary of the Medical Golfing Society (to whose members Dr. Hyslop dedicates his volume with sympathy and regard) appears to have a similar feeling, for he quotes the whole of the fable in a foreword. Incidentally he quotes it wrongly, but that is another matter. Hitherto we have been under the impression that golfers and poets had one common characteristic in being born and not made; the golfer, of course, being born with a wooden spoon in his mouth. But after reading what Dr. Hyslop has to say on mental handicaps we have come to the conclusion that a babe with the minimum of golfing instincts may grow into a golf champion, provided he attends to his mental stance, when sufficiently grown up, that he is neither too optimistic nor too deprest in addressing the ball, and keeps his mind off his opponent and his opponent’s mind. Moreover, if he suffers from bunkeritis, putterphobia, or any of those other disorders to which he is subject between the tee and, let us call it, the putting green, he need only consult a psychologist or, better still, read Dr. Hyslop’s book, which does not, however, tell us much in a therapeutic sense. Etiology and diagnosis are its prominent features. Nor is it a book that lends itself to analysis. Its ten short chapters are concerned with such subjects as prodromata, diatheses, mental stances, automatism, stigmata of degeneration, time-reactions, psychotherapy, the tee-side manner, and anecdotage. We hoped to enjoy some new golf stories in the last chapter, but it contains none. The other chapters contain several. The ultimate result of mental handicaps is, in the author’s own words, that reserve, resource, and reason are the three best clubs for a golfer’s mental bag, and these three mental characteristics are really the triumvirate of potential champions. Altogether it is a most entertaining volume if not taken too seriously. Taken seriously it is distracting and brings us back again to the fable of the centipede.”

Source: The Literary Digest for July 16, 1927

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