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Golf Coach provides consistent results for students - 36% average improvement

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

Gratitude to Stephen Ladd for giving us a step by step look at his golf coaching protocol. Fortunately he kept some stats on his students and, as you will see, 100% of them improved.

Hugs, Gary

By Stephen Ladd

Dear Gary,

Thank you for your interest in my EFT work with golfers.  As per your request, below is a description of my coaching protocol, and a summary of the handicap reduction statistics that I have compiled over the last year and a half.

I have learned a great deal from the generous and informative posts by other practitioners on the forum (particular thanks to both Steve Wells and Stacey Vornbrock).  Hopefully this information will be of some use to coaches working with golfers or other athletes.

My entry into energy work with golfers was a natural progression of my ten years experience as a strength and conditioning coach (at least I see it as natural).  At the time I had a large number of golfers in my conditioning programs.  In addition, I also had the trust and respect of many top golf instructors in the area.  These relationships made it substantially easier to introduce EFT. 

Structure of Sessions

The vast majority of my work with golfers takes place one-on-one, in person.  The first session is in my office, or in the case of teaching professionals, it may be out on the putting green. 

In the Office

The session starts with an intake interview gathering specifics about the client’s golf game i.e. years playing, handicap, instructor(s), strong/weak part of game, best/worst moment on a golf course, physical discomforts etc.  Golfers LOVE to talk shop, so letting them talk a bit helps to build rapport.  I will also sneak in some seemingly non-golf related inquires concerning relationships (starting with “does your spouse play golf?”), job, belief systems (indirectly at first) etc.

Next I move right into a visualization demonstration of EFT.  It doesn’t matter to me if the client is familiar with tapping or not, I just want them to FEEL it.  In brief, I have the client visualize the most challenging golf shot/situation they have ever encountered, and attach an emotion and SUDS to it.  Then I tap for them a basic shortcut - KC (set up), EB, SE, UE, UN, UC, UA, W, TH.

Note:  I actually tap on them the first round or two, as I have found that it is easier for clients to stay focused on the issue/scene when they don’t have to watch and mimic me in terms of tapping locations.

Note:  I don’t insist that they actually say a reminder phrase, but rather encourage them to just “tune into the issue” in whatever way they prefer.

It usually only takes 1-3 rounds to bring the 0-10 intensity level down to a 0 on any particular issue.  Of course there are exceptions that require a bit more detective work, but I try not to get too “far out” in the first session i.e. how the anger they harbor for an ex-spouse may be causing the yips.  I have found it helpful to build a bit more trust before diving head first into (abstract) core issues.

Once the client has actually experienced a shift in SUDS level, they are usually quite open to the idea of “comfort zone” work.  After explaining the basic concept and doing some preliminary testing, I assign homework using several chapters of my book Tap In Golf: The Ultimate Mental Game Mastery System.


Note:  I have experienced a dramatic increase in compliance with homework assignments with the publication of my book, as compared to simple handouts.  This would support Gary’s recommendation of becoming an authority.

Before leaving the first appointment, I will secure a date and time for the next appointment.  Often times this will be at one of the country clubs or at the driving range.

The Putting Green

I like to get the client out to the putting green on the second or third session to be able to see a more objective improvement.  Often times this will have already taken place if they have been out playing rounds after our first session.  In my experience, it has worked well to take golf instructors out to the putting green on the first session.  This may be because the instructor (like a highly skilled golfer) can FEEL subtleties in his/her putting stroke (subjective) and we can also “score” the putts as well (objective).  Chapter Five of my book is called The Putting Challenge and is excerpted below:

Head out to the putting green with 5 golf balls.  Pick a single hole to be used for the duration of this experiment.  Begin practicing from about 20 feet at 4 different locations.


Make sure you are completely warmed up and have a good idea of the breaks in the green from each position.  This will help insure that the improvement you experience after the tapping routine will not be attributed to simply getting a feel for the green.

Next, you are going to hit 5 puts from each of the 4 locations.  Each putt will be graded by you, using the score card below:


BEFORE                                                                 AFTER

ACE                                                                         ACE

GOOD                                                                      GOOD

FAIR                                                                         FAIR

POOR                                                                       POOR

Note: it is helpful to decide in advance what constitutes each rating.  For example:


Ace: obviously, “in the hole”

Good: “tap in” within 1.5 feet

Fair: 1.5 - 3 feet

Poor: 3+ feet

Adjust the above criteria to match your current putting skill level.  Just be sure to use the same criteria for the before and after rounds.

In addition to this objective scoring system, also make a mental note of how you FEEL while you are putting.

Hit all twenty putts now, five from each of the four locations, and grade them accordingly.

Now perform the tapping shortcut routine for “tension” or any specific negative feeling or emotion you may be experiencing.

Take a deep breath.

Putt five (5) balls from location #1, and mark down the appropriate score for each one.

Move to location #2 and repeat the short cut routine again.  (Come on, it only takes 30 seconds!)  Now stroke the next 5 putts and score each one accordingly. 

Repeat this same procedure for locations # 3 and # 4.

Now it is time to compare the before and after scores.  The chances are extremely good that you will see an improvement, often times a dramatic one.  Below is the score card of a PGA teaching professional (reprinted with his permission).

Name: Dave Proffitt

Before                                                          After

Ace     I                                              Ace            III

Good  IIIIII                                          Good            IIIIIIIIIIIII

Fair     IIIIIIIII                                        Fair            IIII

Poor    IIII                                            Poor

Playing Lessons

Note:  I have been able to secure relationships with three golf courses which allow me to conduct playing lessons.  This was not easy at first.  Two of the clubs eventually allowed me to work there because I coached several of their more prominent members.  The third course recently cut a deal with me to do small instructional sessions once a month for their members in exchange for playing lesson privileges.  This will work out well for me as I will certainly gain more clients – and sell more books.

My on-the-course playing lessons have become quite popular – and profitable.  I offer six or nine hole formats (and on occasion a full eighteen hole round).   Before I will conduct a playing lesson with a client, they must have:

1)     Had at least one session off-the-course (preferably two)

2)     Own and be familiar with my book

Before the round we work on “clearing” (this word seems to be innocent enough for most golfers)  any particular element of the client’s game that is causing concern i.e. putting.  We also address any comfort zone issues and then review the basic “tension” shortcut protocols.

While on the course I usually have the client tap frequently, but on a limited number of points.  For example, I will often skip the set up entirely, and just use the CB and UE points. I started implementing this approach after many of my advanced players naturally came to this formula on their own.  It has also been my experience that some golfers get overwhelmed initially with too much on-the-course tapping.  Obviously there is a great deal of variation among individuals, which is what makes coaching so much fun.

One of my favorite methods for finding “what” to tap on, is to have the client simply tell me what they are thinking.  I’m constantly asking them “what do you think about this shot” or “How do you feel about it” etc.  I’m quite a nag, or so I am told.  At first I was a bit worried about talking too much and getting them “out of the zone”.  But then I started to question my own belief that “the zone” was so fragile – says who?  Why is it that golfers need it to be so quite?  My answer is that it is purely tradition - high brow tradition at that.  And tradition has never seemed a good validation to me.  I mean really… hitting a baseball is a much more challenging feat than hitting a stationary golf ball, but you don’t see the baseball players asking everyone to quite down.  But I digress…

To make matters even worse (or better, depending on your perspective) I will often employ some PET (provocative energy therapy) ala Steve Wells.  Thanks again to Steve for validating this style and allowing me to fully explore that which comes rather naturally with my personality.

For example, I might say things like: (all real examples from last week)

A)  “Wow, that’s a horrible lie, isn’t it”?

B)  “Are you sure that’s enough club to clear the water”?

C) “Driver on this hole is a gutsy call”.

Now, usually one of two basic responses occurs:

1) They will say something like: 

A)  “Yes, I hate lies like this”.

B)  “It really doesn’t feel like enough club, but I hate my longer iron”.

C)  “You’re right, but I feel like a wimp using my three wood”.

These responses provide great material to tap on, both in the moment and off-the-course (I take notes to create homework assignments).

On the other hand, I also get more “positive” reactions like –

 a funny look and a laugh

 a hand waving me away

 the middle finger (and a smile)

 or something along the lines of

“I feel good”.

And if they feel good, then I feel good.

It is important to note that I only use PET once I have developed a strong rapport with the client, which usually happens rather quickly.  However, there have been a few clients where it just wouldn’t mesh well with their personalities. 


I generally check in with clients about once a month to ask about progress, if they have any questions or concerns, and sometimes request testimonials.  I began to notice that many EFT practitioners on the forum had collected data on the improvements in their clients.  Therefore I’ve also added a somewhat more detailed written evaluation of progress.

Although I am continually making changes to the questions, the basic outline always includes:



How did you hear about my services?

How would you rate your overall satisfaction level with the improvement of your golf game after implementing these techniques?

Excellent           Good  Fair                 Not So Good

What was your handicap prior to starting these techniques, and what is it today?

What part of your game improved the most?

Have you noticed any improvements in any areas of your life OFF the course?  If so, please explain.

Please provide me with any suggestions on how I might improve my teaching of the Tap In Golf techniques.

In the last 1.5 years, 103 golfers have filled out this evaluation.  The “satisfaction” inquiry gathered the following results:

59 – excellent

32 – good

10 – fair

2 – not so good

But in my experience, the most meaningful measure (by far) to golfers is the reduction of their handicap.

Below is information on a number of golfers for whom I could verify their start and end dates (most people seem to forget one or the other):

However, I do feel as though a disclaimer is in order.  Although I asked for the reduction of each golfer’s handicap, it has been my experience that a relatively small percentage of golfers have an “official” handicap.  It is probably more common among very good golfers, but I know several who routinely shoot in the upper seventies and don’t bother with the official procedure.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the USGA system, it is a rather complex calculation (done by a computer) that uses the 10 best scores from the last 20 rounds played on specific courses which have a “slope rating” (difficulty level).  Honestly, it’s been explained to me several times and I still don’t completely understand it.

Despite the fact that only a modest percentage of my golfers follow the system, I still get many of them answering the “handicap reduction” question.  This leads me to believe that they are actually answering the question:

“What was your average round “before” and “after” learning and applying the tapping techniques”?

For example, if they would normally shoot 90, they would consider their handicap to be 18.  Then after tapping they might normally shoot 80 - they would say they are an 8 handicap.  Therefore on the questionnaire and the following data sheet it would read a handicap reduction from 18 to 8, even though it was not an “official USGA handicap”.

Subsequent inquiry among of my clients has verified that this is most often the case.

Also note that some of my golfers started in the winter months (in Ohio), so that there could be a delay in getting out on the links after learning the techniques.

In other words, this data would not be solid enough for a graduate level dissertation.  Nonetheless, I hope that it is helpful or interesting in some way.

Name Begin Handicap Date End Handicap Date %Improvement
Albert C 20 1/4/2005 11 6/2/2005 45%
Tom H 14 2/2/2005 8 6/14/2005 43%
Sandy R 7 3/1/2005 4 5/2/2005 43%
John K 30 3/17/2005 17 7/10/2005 43%
Mari R 11 4/2/2005 8 7/1/2005 27%
Stan G 4 4/2/2005 2 8/21/2005 50%
Susan H 22 4/10/2005 18 6/17/2005 18%
James K 16 4/11/2005 9 7/21/2005 44%
Dianne C 12 4/12/2005 7 8/7/2005 42%
Jessica B 33 4/22/2005 24 9/2/2005 27%
Nathan S 10 5/3/2005 7 8/28/2005 30%
Matt B 8 5/21/2005 7 7/1/2005 13%
David R 6 6/14/2005 3 10/10/2005 50%
Ruth L 24 6/28/2005 18 8/18/2005 25%
John A 18 7/5/2005 12 10/2/2005 33%
Nancy D 28 7/11/2005 21 9/14/2005 25%
Mark F 15 8/10/2005 10 8/18/2005 33%
Ken S 10 8/29/2005 6 11/2/2005 40%
Steve Y 17 9/10/2005 10 4/17/2006 41%
Patrick S 11 9/15/2005 5 3/18/2006 55%
Doug K 9 9/24/2005 6 10/29/2005 33%
Berry W 31 10/1/2005 23 4/2/2006 26%
Shari W 32 10/1/2005 28 2/11/2006 13%
Todd B 7 11/6/2005 4 3/4/2006 43%
Mark T 11 3/7/2006 8 5/2/2006 27%
Bill N 4 3/14/2006 1 5/11/2006 75%
Jim C 23 3/19/2006 16 5/20/2006 30%
Garret F 17 4/4/2006 11 5/15/2006 35%
Tony M 29 4/7/2006 20 5/21/2006 31%
Jill A 6 4/10/2006 4 5/28/2006 33%
Seth A 19 4/10/2006 12 5/28/2006 37%
        Average: 36%



Thanks to all of the practitioners who post their reports to the forum.  I hope this is helpful.

Stephen Ladd



Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.