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Ken Borland

As McCallum tore through the front nine, it was testament to her comments on player wellness 0

Posted on October 10, 2022 by Ken

DULLSTROOM, Mpumalanga – When Tandi McCallum tore through the front nine at Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate on her way to a seven-point victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour section of the Vodacom Origins of Golf ProAm, one could not help but cast one’s mind back to the evening before the first round and her comments as she spoke about how sports performance coach and mental wellness therapist Joanne Mountford has helped her regain peak form.

Mountford, who has been working with the South African women’s hockey team for their World Cup and Commonwealth Games campaigns, is also the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s coach and therapist for the player wellness programme sponsored by BetWay. Because Vodacom firmly believe that Health is Wealth, Mountford was invited as the keynote speaker for the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series ProAm at Highland Gate.

McCallum was on hand to back up Mountford’s methods, and her ProAm victory in the Dullstroom mountains was her third in a row, testament to the success of the player wellness programme.

“It’s crucial to understand what makes you tick, and Jo’s programme makes it very apparent what functions best in your game. If you’re always working on what you’re not good at, then you kind of end up chasing your tail,” McCallum said.

“It’s about consistency and how I manage myself and what I’m good at. It’s about keeping on track and staying in the flow with myself. She has given me techniques I can tap into that lead to better results.

“It had been a while since I had won and I felt like a bridesmaid for three years, getting into contention several times but then just not pushing through. You always find that there are one or two shots down the stretch that make the difference.

“As golfers, we know the value of each and every shot, but you also don’t want to put yourself under pressure. So when your thoughts start running away with you, that’s when I use Jo’s breathing techniques,” McCallum said.

As all golfers know, it can be the most frustrating of hobbies for those who play it socially, but imagine the pressures when it is your livelihood.

“It’s actually very difficult to just play one shot at a time, you can’t help but think about how winning might change your life, extend your playing privileges, get you into certain tournaments etc,” McCallum said.

“So it’s about staying in control of your thoughts and emotions for 18 holes. When I won again, I was leading by three and I was thinking ‘it’s great to be here’, but I was very nervous.

“You need reassurance that what you are doing is working and something as simple as controlling your breathing can get you over the line,” McCallum said before putting it all into practice and sweeping to another victory.

“I try and give the golfers actionable goals so they can stay focused in the moment,” Mountford explained. “I try and help them get rid of anything that hinders, like even perfectionism, which can be great, especially in a golf swing, but there can be a point where you need to let go, otherwise the mind can be very destructive.

“Pressure leads to anxiety, which feeds your sympathetic nervous system which activates fight or flight. So I work with their breathing so they activate their parasympathetic nervous system, which brings their heart and breathing rates down,” Mountford said.

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