“For many years, I have suffered off and on from the yips. This spring, while in the middle of a significant swing mechanics change, I developed the full blown swing yips. Only those who have truly suffered from the yips can understand how devastating it can be. I was at my wit’s end and fully intending to give up the game after playing for over 50 years, when I discovered an interview with Jim on YouTube discussing his work with golfers suffering from various forms of the yips. I went to the Balance Point Golf website, and after connecting with Jim, decided to schedule a two-day private lesson in Portland.
The two days I spent in Portland with Jim were nothing short of magical. Jim’s understanding of the mental side of the game, coupled with his vast knowledge of swing mechanics, is unprecedented. I wish everyone suffering from the yips could have access to Jim’s knowledge of both the factors that result in the yips and the relatively simple ways in which they can be completely eliminated. His straightforward techniques make imminent sense, and he provides multiple approaches so that you leave with a fully stocked “tool kit” to address the root causes of flinching. Upon returning to Austin, I enjoyed my first “flinch-free” round of golf in years. Jim is the “yips whisperer,” and I am deeply indebted to my dear friend for returning joy to my golf game.” Mike Tomsu
"After suffering with chipping and pitching yips for over 12 years, three sets of wedges, several lessons and a visit to a hypnotist, I found what I needed in Jim Waldron. The concept of the mind body connection along with much improved mechanics got me over the confidence tipping point. My advice, if you have any form of the yips, is to stop suffering and see Jim." Kelly Bogle
Posted to golfWRX.com by Audio58:
I will apologize upfront for the length of this post, but I think the background may be helpful. I have been playing for over 40 years and been a single digit handicap for most of it. About 12 years ago I bought some wedges which proved to be a problem. I worked through the shanks, played well with them and then, started a fat / thin routine which eventually ruined my chipping and intermediate pitching. I had a full blown case of yips. I would put ten balls on the ground next to the practice green and blade four, chunk four and whiff two. For real. Not a single ball on the green, which was four feet away. My full swing was not impacted but any time I needed to hit a half shot it usually wouldn't clear ankle height and went twice as far as needed. I replaced the wedges. I got a lesson. I replaced those wedges. Another lesson. A few instructional books. Then a visit to a clinical hypnotist. Finally I bought a left-handed wedge to chip with and resigned myself to never approaching my previous level of play.
Then I ran across Jim Waldron's Balance Point School website. I sent an email, describing my particular malady and he called me. We spoke for about half an hour and he suggested two things - some drills to work on now and getting a one-day lesson with him. I worked on the drills and actually had some success. Meaning I got a few balls on the green but nothing close to the hole and no feeling of new found mastery. But progress.
The day of my lesson we started with a conversation that ranged from Eastern beliefs to the mind/body connection. Jim told me yips were a similar experience to what happens in a head-on collision. You don't remember the impact because the brain is protecting you. He described a wide range of approaches, depending on where the problem was most rooted. He also told me people with the yips have to be comfortable in three areas - physical / mechanics; mental and emotional. I told him I thought my mechanics were okay, but they had changed over the last 12 years as I searched for an answer. Mentally I had given up hope and emotionally I was fine. I was very accepting of this limitation. He told me everyone he has worked with on yips had issues in all three areas but there is always one which needs more attention and that is where you start. He reassured me by saying "you've come to the right guy."
We went to the range and he had me make some practice swings. He had mentioned he thought I would need to start with the emotional leg of the stool. When you have them as bad as I do, you have zero confidence. And until you get from there to enough confidence to expect to hit the green, it is impossible to make any progress when practicing. He watched me take three practice swings and said " we are going to start with mechanics." He showed me my entire approach was backwards. I had been trying to find some way, any way to get the ball on the green and without realizing it, had completely screwed up my stance, weight distribution, grip, aim and alignment. We spent some time practicing getting into the new stance ( fitting the mold as he called it), feeling the balance in the feet, practicing the motion and visualizing one of several focal points. Paying attention to my grip pressure worked the best that day. Then we introduced the ball and I started hitting crisp, low chip shots. No target, no hole, just making the motion and seeing the ball jump in the air. Then after about 30 minutes of this, he put a range basket about ten yards in front of me. Don't try and knock it in the basket or even hit it to the basket, I was instructed. Just hit it in the direction of the basket. After another 30 minutes of this I looked back and he was smiling. When I asked why he said I hadn't yipped all morning. And he was right.
We never went to the practice green. Just seeing ball come off the club at the right height and trajectory was enough.
After lunch we took a look at my pitching. He showed me a technique which uses a combination of two wrist positions, two backswing lengths and two grip locations ( one is gripped down almost to the shaft ) to create three distinct shots with each wedge. My 56 degree wedge went 90 yards with position one - the full swing. At position two it went 70 yards and position 3 produced a shot of 55 yards. Going from PW to LW I found I was quickly able to produce reliable pitch shots with no evidence of yipping. No flinch, no jerk, no stab, nothing. Nada. This is when I got a bit emotional. I had tried to cure myself and had given up. And now, here I was hitting the ball to almost any length I wanted with no trace of my former spasm. Later, when the head pro came out to check on us, he asked if I could hit a chip and pitch for him. Before that day, it would have been impossible. But I said sure, no problem and hit a crisp chip shot and pitched the ball right next to the target he asked to aim at - simple as that. Neither he nor Jim could really understand what a moment that was for me. But it felt like 12 years of frustration had been swept away in two golf shots.
I practiced a fair amount over the next few weeks and reported back to Jim I was doing much better than before. Not every shot is perfect, but I was able to very dependably get the ball on the green. I started to make a few chips and looked forward to playing. When I did play the chipping was much better but I did have the occasional flinch, usually if I felt the shot was going to be a tough one. And during those shots I couldn't seem to keep my mind on my focal point. As I have played three times now and practiced about ten times I can tell you I am good on the practice green. Meaning 99% of my chip shots land on the green and roll toward the target. My feel is coming back and I am starting to hit several balls close and even hole out from time to time. It would be hard for me to overstate the value of this. I spent over ten years knowing that practice was only going to result in frustration and likely send me shopping for a bowling shirt. Now I can practice, see some success and have real expectations I will get much better. On the course it hasn't caught up to my practice but there are hopeful signs every round. The majority of my chips shots during a round get on the green. I still have the occasional yip but most are acceptable.
As far as the pitching goes, I would say I am cured. It has been a much easier adjustment than the chipping and I have hit some wonderful shots. I am able to quickly do the math, select a shot and hit it close. I have been able to get up-and-down several times from 50 yards or so, which didn't happen before. I have taken the left-handed wedge out of the bag and put the LW back in. I can still chip with an upside down club, a hybrid and have a variety of shots with the putter. But those are now used on an as-needed basis and not my stock shot.
I am very grateful to Jim for his encyclopedic knowledge of the golf game, his wonderful approach to the mental side of golf and his continued interest in my progress. It is wonderful to have hope of getting better again and to not feel like I am limited by this. I am excited to practice and to play. I don't have to start every round with an explanation about my yips and a warning about not standing opposite me on the green when I chip. I learned a lot of different shots during my 12 year bout of the yips, but I am far happier hitting conventional shots again. Although, an upside down PW hits a shot that lands like a bag of sand.
And even though Jim and I didn't cover putting, his fundamentals for chipping have helped me there as well. Being able to feel real balance, real stability and to control the motion with the muscles covering the rib cage has made a significant improvement in my putting. I thought I was fine before, but I am much better when practicing and have already seen improvement on the course.
So if you have the same affliction, please don't feel like you have to continue to suffer. There is a man out there with a way out it.