Golf Interview: Dr. Karl Morris-The Mind Factor

Manchester, UK

I am pleased today to be joined by Dr. Karl Morris, founder of The Mind Factor Institute. Karl we have readers from over 20 countries around the world and look forward to your insights on playing better golf!

KM: Hi BJ, Great to be here with you and hope that we can share some ideas that will be of benefit to everybody. Because the biggest myth is that Mind Coaching is just for good players- when I am convinced that players of all levels can benefit. It is not that easy to change your swing instantly but you CAN change the way that you THINK with some pretty instant results.

Karl, can you tell our readers a little bit about your background in golf?

KM: My background was initially as someone who wanted to play at the highest level. I was a decent amateur and when I left school I wanted to play golf for a living. Well that was a fairly spectacular failure as I could never take the game I had in practice out onto the golf course. Initially after I turned pro I concentrated on teaching and kept seeing the very same thing in my students. Better swings on the range but NO improvement in their game on the course. I felt that we were REALLY missing something so I started to study as much as I could about the mind. I looked at the ‘Inner Game’, NLP, hypnosis, CBT, neuroscience research….basically you name it and I studied it. And from all of that I came up with some ideas myself and it evolved into what I now call the Mind Factor. The heart of this is the principle that mental training needs to be both PRACTICAL and APPLICABLE. You need to be able to take the tools out onto the course with you. Theory is fine and research is great but golfers need TOOLS.

Karl, 2010 was a banner year for The Mind Factor, how does it feel to see two of your players win major championships?!

KM: If somebody had said to me in your ENTIRE career would you be happy if you had coached a Major winner? I would absolutely have snapped their hand off. Yet to have some involvement with TWO major winners in a year was for me unbelievable.

Graeme McDowell had an incredible year in 2010, can you share a few of the things that you helped him with?

KM: I first met and started to work with Graeme in the fall of 2003 when he had come out onto the European Tour and he had initially won and then he started to struggle. His manager at that time Chubby Chandler asked me to have a chat with him and it began a six or seven year relationship. Initially with Graeme we looked at HOW he practiced as the most important key. He is a very bright man and he realized that just hitting balls one after another on the range was not going to let him fulfil his great potential. We really worked hard on creating practice systems that simulated the game, put him under pressure and also gave him a way of measuring his progress. For the first few years we saw an awful lot of each other but now Graeme has the tools pretty much in place. That is always my aim, to make myself redundant because if the player needs to keep having a mind coach working with him then I have not done my job!

You helped coach Louis Oosthuizen to his first major win at the 2010 Open Championship. How did you meet Louis and can you tell us about the famous glove with the red dot?

KM: Louis is a great player and he came to me about six weeks before the Open and his manager again Chubby Chandler had said that he was playing some great golf but his concentration was all over the place.

That is what we went to work on- his FOCUS and CONCENTRATION.

The now famous ‘Red Dot’ was a particular technique to get his mind into the here and NOW. As he focused on that red dot at the start of his routine his mind became totally absorbed in the MOMENT. The task at hand. So that his mind didn’t wander to the possible outcome of winning his first Major. Being in the NOW is a great skill to learn and again the mind needs TOOLS to help you. The RED DOT was a tool.
Karl, what are the benefits of mental coaching for the average player that does not have tour aspirations? Can mental coaching really benefit them too?

KM: I really do think so because a good mental game will allow you to get the best out of the swing that you have. It won’t make up for a bad swing but it will help you become the best player that you can be. So many golfers hit the ball great in practice but they can’t take it to the course. That is not just the swing. When you work on TWO elements controlling the BALL and controlling the SELF then you give yourself a great chance to become the player that you can truly be.

Karl what about junior golfers, does being young mean that a junior would not benefit from learning to think better on the golf course?

KM: Not at all! Just as with good technical skills, a good grasp of simple but effective tools can help build solid young players, of which we are already seeing today. I think the difference with juniors is the sooner they learn mental skills the better but it should be done as a result of playing games as opposed to formal ‘sit down’ sessions.

Karl you offer many products on your website that players can use to improve. Is there anything new coming out in 2011?

KM: Yes we have a new product out that I am really excited about called ‘How to Change your Swing Instantly’ the science of how to change your brain to change your swing. So much as been written about what to do in the swing but so little has been written about HOW to change it. If you have golf lessons I honestly believe that this programme will greatly enhance your work with your pro.

Finally Karl, you have built a small army of Mind Factor coaches around the world. For players that may not be able to make it to Manchester, what can your certified coaches offer?

KM: A certified Mind Factor coach has the tools and techniques that I have used over the years with players of all levels. They have a knowledge that I am certain will help you get the best out of your game.

The knowledge that you have BJ!

Karl, on behalf of our readers I just want to thank you for joining me today here at the lovely Radisson Edwardian Hotel and sharing your insights.

KM: My pleasure!

For more information on The Mind Factor Mental Coaching Program in the U.S. contact:

B. J. Hathaway: Mind Factor Master Coach

706-836-4330 or