The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

Today’s blog is coming from sunny San Diego, and I do mean sunny, with temperatures in the mid 70’s, with lots and lots of sun. As promised, today’s subject will be the dreaded yips. Is there a cure for the yips? The answer is a decided no. I will explain later.

First a brief historical review of the yips. The first well know yipper was the great Harry Varden. Other great players that have had trouble with the yips include, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and probably the most well know modern yipper Bernard Langer. Because these players were in competition for a long time, it was thought the yips were an older players problem, due to the stress of many years of competitive golf. But today a lot of younger players are plagued with the yips and players that are not in a lot of competitions, also have yip issues. There are different forms of the yips in golf. Putting yips, the chip yips, the driver yips, and as far as I am concerned shanking is nothing more than the iron yips.

What is a yip? It is an uncontrollable twitch of a muscle or muscle groups when performing a particular golf shot or stroke. It is accompanied by a black out of the brain. It is worse under stress but it does not mean it is totally  a mental abnormality. The yips have been studied by the Mayo Clinic believe or not, and it is through their work, that it has been shown that one of the causes of the yips may be due to the repetitive  nature of certain golf shots, namely putting. That is why grip changes have helped a lot people with the yips. Even if you are not a yip sufferer, I would suggest you read the Mayo Clinic study. It is found on their web site and it is fascinating reading.

Why can’t the yips be cured? It is not a disease. It is a symptom. To put it another way Tuberculosis is a disease, anemia is a symptom. There are many causes of anemia. You have to find the cause of the anemia and then you treat the disease that is  causing the anemia. There are many causes of the yips. One must find what is causing the yips in each case and then try to treat the cause which will make the yips go away. Lets look at a case sample me. I yip every putt, right handed. I putt left handed and play golf right handed. Putting left handed is a much more natural way for me to putt. I throw left handed, my left eye is my dominant eye and I am much more comfortable over a putt from the left side. Do I hit some bad putts left handed, absolutely,but I don’t yip. I have suffered through the chip yips the last two years. At times, I have done better than at other times. I can tell you the chip yips are more complicated than the putting yips. In order for me to be totally free of the chip yips I will have to find the underlying cause that started them. As yet I have not found it. It will be one of my number one projects for the coming year. Any one who has suffered with the yips knows it is a very helpless feeling. Remember it is not a 100% mental  flaw.   There can be physical problems that may make the yips worse.

The blog will be put to sleep for next couple of weeks or so because of the upcoming college football bowl season. I am a college football junkie and I will watch every meaningful play of every bowl game, just like I did last year. I know there is lots of complaining about all the meaningless bowl games, but I love every one of them. I hope everybody has a great holiday season and a Happy New Year, as the search will continue into 2014.

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2 Responses to The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

  1. Vet

    Great article. When the yips occur, I think it is a confidence issue, apparently not so much! Have a fantastic holiday and I look forward to reading your blog in the new year!

    Merry Christmas
    Jim

  2. Brian Penn says:

    Vet, college football is the best football. Strap on the feedbag and enjoy! Merry Christmas! Brian

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