The mental side of the game of golf is of course as important, and in the minds of some, even more important than the physical side. And over the years plenty have people have made more than a little bit of cash from advising golfers both pro and amateur on just how they can get themselves into top psychological as well as well as physical form before hitting the the links.
Take Dr. Bob Rotella. He's made a small fortune out of personally advising the likes of Tom Kite, Davis Love III, Paul Azinger and numerous other PGA notables to victory. And speaking of Dr Bob the Visulax app we are about to discuss references him in their tag line, billing itself as the “Best App if you can't afford Bob Rotella.” And in a nutshell the developers claim that their app will:
Improve your golf mind
Blocking out distractions
Improve your course management
Help focus on the target
Achieve perfect balance and timing
Which are lofty sounding goals indeed. But can a $4.99 app really help you improve your mental game?
Visulax Golf Basics
It's hard to know what you might get from this app as you wait for it download. Pep talks? Meditation chants? That loud American style of personal coaching that still seems to be all the rage right now? Really weird stuff like self hypnosis? What is it that Bob Rotella and his peers do that is so special anyway?
Well actually, when the app does open up you are greeted with a fairly quiet male voice that instructs you to “get into a comfortable position, put on some comfortable clothes, and to visualize your favorite golf hole. To feel the warm sun on your skin, see the green grass, hear the birds and to experience the positive feelings of the hole.” And as you are told all of this, there is some kind of Gregorian like chanting going on in the background, which is slightly distracting but not wholly unpleasant.
From that point you are guided through a series of physical relaxation exercises that is fairly standard, relaxing muscles and body parts one by one to achieve a completely ‘physically relaxed' state. You are then instructed to visualize the shot you are (were you on the golf course) about to take and to play it out in your mind as if it is being executed perfectly, all while still in a physically relaxed state. You can also note playing goals for yourself in the app's notepad function to track your improvements over time.
Visulax in Action
In the comfort of your home or office this is all rather calming and pleasant but the idea behind the app is that you replicate the techniques while actually out on the links, which is much harder.
There's already a lot to think about when you are actually playing a hole. Weather conditions, yardage numbers, club selection all of those kinds of things. You may also have a playing partner chattering away in your ear, all of which makes it kind of hard to remember what the soft voiced bloke told you to do when you listened to his speech. However, on a tough hole, when serious concentration is called for it did start to come back a bit and visualizing the shot became a possibility. Did it help? It's hard to tell but it might have.
In the end this is a useful app if you want to relax before a game but some may find trying to follow its' advice when actually out on the course a little distracting. Successful golf calls for certain swing and shot thoughts to planted firmly in mind and soft voiced bloke's recalled wisdom may interrupt them. Or not. In this case this is one of those things that will suit some and disappoint others. So maybe the best advice is for you to try it for yourself. Usually $4.99/£4.99 it's being offered for free in the iOS App Store at the moment. Visulax Golf requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. You can download it by clicking on the icon below.