ORLANDO, Fla. -- The great Bobby Jones once said that golf is "played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears."
Now there's a new tool that can help you with that tricky little track.
Developed with neuropsychologists and PGA professionals, Pro Mental Coach is a software program designed to help golfers develop a Tiger-like focus on the course, improve their attitude, and, of course, knock a few strokes off their handicaps.
"Most golfers know the mental game is important, but they don't know what to do," said Jerome Guimont, director of business development for the Brain Center of America, which creates "brain-fitness programs" designed to improve "cognitive, psychological and physical health."
After completing a 30-minute assessment test, Pro Mental Coach gives you feedback on your current mental game, shows you how your scores compare to other golfers of similar age and ability, and gives you several "exergames" to strengthen different parts of your brain.
"It's not one-size fits all," Guimont said. "It's really personalized."
Guimont demonstrated an exergame that made you pick the first image that pops up on your computer screen despite all kinds of distractions, including flying butterflies, jumping fish and a gopher popping out of a hole. If you take too long to pick the image, the screen starts to turn red, and you can feel the pressure mounting. Suddenly a tricky five-footer doesn't seem so bad.
Joe Hallett, a PGA professional and director of instruction at Vanderbilt Legends Club, said many teaching pros were put off by the Pro Mental Coach at first, thinking it might put them out of business. But Hallett says the program doesn't compete with a PGA pro; instead, it helps golfers improve a big part of their game that doesn't always get covered in a 30-minute swing lesson.
The information from your brain exercises can also be sent to your PGA pro, who can see how your mental game is improving and offer feedback.
"The amount of science behind this is amazing to us," Hallett said.
For more information on Pro Mental Coach, check out the video below, or go to promentalcoach.com.