What people say about Ralph Cissne and the Will of Golf program:

“Ralph is very well educated on the fundamentals of the game. He also knows that there is more to golf than just swing mechanics, which is the mental side. His Will of Golf can help golfers of all levels understand the mind-body connection that is crucial for long term progress.”

Bobby Hinds
PGA Professional
Los Angeles, CA

“After reading the Will of Golf, I've been able to incorporate Ralph’s mind-body connection philosophy into my instructional curriculum. I highly recommend this to anyone looking to become a better player.”

Brandon Alford
PGA Professional
Oklahoma City, OK

“Two critical factors empower golfers to perform to their full potential. A body that is sport specific and a mind purely focused on the task at hand. Ralph Cissne’s Will of Golf provides guidelines on how to achieve both in a seemingly effortless way.”

Jon Manack
Director of Instruction

“Balance and flexibility are critical components of an effective golf swing. Cissne’s Will of Golf program provides a pragmatic and thoughtful approach to both mental and physical conditioning. It’s an excellent resource for every golfer.”

David R. Hale
Exercise Physiologist
Tulsa, OK

“Whether you are new to golf or a seasoned player, the Will of Golf program will help bring your game to the next level. Ralph provides essential mind-body tools that will benefit you on the golf course and throughout the rest of your life.”

Leeann Carey,
Planet Yoga founder
Hermosa Beach, CA

“The Will of Golf program is concise and efficient, just like Ralph’s golf swing. Guys in our skins game call him ‘the machine’ because he gets the job done. His mind-body approach to coaching has definitely helped my game.”

Michael S., age 25
Los Angeles, CA

"After our meeting last week, I have to tell you something is working. I have had two practice sessions using the ideas you presented. I was elated at the results. I feel very good about my game now and with a different attitude. Thank you very much."

Will K., age 58
Sherman Oaks, CA

“Two weeks after reading the Will of Golf book I shot a 7-under par 65, the lowest round of my life.”

Luke K., age 43
Pasadena, CA

“I used the techniques I learned in the Will of Golf to overcome a very severe case of tendonitis in my shoulder. The result has been improved flexibility and an index lower by two strokes (to 7.8).”

Rich M., age 55
Long Beach, CA

“The Will of Golf workshop shows you how yoga practice, visualization and breath work can greatly enhance your game. Bravo!”

Michelle C., age 31
Hermosa Beach, CA

“The Will of Golf seminar was my first experience using yoga in connection with golf. The stretches have really helped loosen by creaky back.”

Stan R., age 65
Redondo Beach, California


By Bob Peterson 02 May, 2017
Each breath is a moment of growth and opportunity. We expand and we contract. Awareness of this pattern is the path to controlling your state of mind and your results. With conscious breathing we access a relaxed yet heightened self-awareness that keeps our emotions in balance and our intentions focused.

Most people don’t think about their breath. As a result, their breathing becomes shallow and incomplete. The flow of oxygen to their brains slows so they may forget to turn off their cell phone on the golf course or chunk a wedge into the water. In yoga practice, we learn to breathe with purpose. We learn to direct the breath and focus attention toward the sensations experienced in each posture. In golf, we need to be aware of maintaining a steady complete rhythm to our breath that, with practice, becomes automatic.

Notice how your energy shifts throughout your day, on the golf course or after watching three hours of cable news. Recognize how outside influences impact your consciousness. Notice how your reactive mind may tend to inject the illusions of negative outcomes when you think of the past or about the future. You can always turn down the static by returning to the rhythm of your breath. You can always change your mind. Take a deep, full breath. Take in whatever you need and let it go. Relax and enjoy being in the moment, especially when the moment matters most.
By Bob Peterson 01 May, 2017
There have been thousands of golf swings analyzed on television, online and in magazine articles. While tempo and length of backswings vary, all great players get the clubface square at impact. In the beginning of Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons (a book you must have) there is an iconic illustration by Anthony Ravielli that seared the proper impact position into my consciousness.

The impact position is the moment of truth. Video assisted lessons, which I highly recommend, provide invaluable visual feedback. There are many other factors, of course, but I don’t want to overload the circuits here. Of all of the swing thoughts my teachers have encouraged me to employ, when I focus on the impact position and through the ball to a balanced finish, my results are usually consistent and often remarkable.

Bobby Hinds introduced me to the impact bag. This is a great training aid to facilitate a tactile experience, essential for mind-body integration, of the proper impact position. You can achieve similar feedback in a doorway. Assume the address position with you buttocks against the doorframe. Place the leading edge of an iron against the opposite doorframe. Turn your body and press the clubface against the woodwork. Your left hip (right hip if you are left handed) should maintain contact with the doorframe behind you. Hold the impact position for a few seconds and repeat. Take this experience to the range and watch what happens.
By Bob Peterson 30 Apr, 2017
By Ralph Cissne
Southern California Golf, April 2002

Every golfer experiences moments of doubt. No other game provides more opportunities for gut checks and self-evaluation. Who hasn’t been humbled in the following manner? With great skill, you hit an excellent approach shot, bow gracefully to the thunderous applause of your companions and walk triumphantly onto the green. Then you stand over a four-foot birdie putt and feel the cold and certain clutch of fear grip your throat? “What if I miss it?” you ask yourself, initiating the probability of failure. “I will look like a fool.” A better question is, “What are you thinking?”

Whether it is a four-foot birdie putt or a 190-yard carry over water, fear is the beginning of the end of your scoring opportunity. Fear in these situations often rises from reflex reactions to our most negative fundamental thought about ourselves, which for many people is: “I am not good enough.” As a child your family, friends or teachers may have used harsh words to criticize you or your behavior. They may have said you couldn’t do this or that. It is not unusual for a small child to accept such statements as fact. They are not. Such criticism is often intended to protect us; however, these misguided negative offerings can cut deep. Find a way to forgive these detractors, let go of the past and move on. What’s the purpose of holding on to thoughts that bring you down? Better to choose a point of view that serves your objectives now. The world is how you perceive it to be. Ultimately, it is our responsibility to make the most of the opportunities we’ve created, in life and on the golf course.

“Everyone misses four-foot putts,” you hear people say, but there is no logical reason to think about missing them. Golfers frequently make statements like, “I can’t hit a three iron.” Or, “I can’t putt on these greens.” How can promoting incompetence possibly help them improve their scores? The intelligent choice is to focus on the result. On the greens, take a few deep breaths, visualize the ball rolling along your chosen line and dropping into the center of the cup. See this clearly in your mind. Tell yourself you are “the greatest putter who every lived.” Share this affirmation with your regular foursome. Amuse yourself, have some fun with it, knowing when you relax and fill your mind with positive imagery and a sense of accomplishment, there is no room for fear and failure.

Learn to build momentum in your round by feeding off your great shots. When you hit an iron close to the pin, rather than jumping up and down and screaming gratuities to the golf gods, choose to maintain your emotional balance. Smile and politely tip your cap to your companions, but conserve and redirect your energy. Relax and be aware of the profound sense of satisfaction flowing through your body. Be confident and know you may access this heightened state of accomplishment whenever you want. Relax, enjoy the moment and focus your attention on making the putt because you are, after all, “the greatest putter who every lived.”

There is no substitute for good instruction and plenty of practice. Practice with purpose and confidence. Develop a consistent pre-shot routine to align your body and lock in your intended target. If you really want to improve, commit to a teacher and a regular practice schedule with heavy emphasis on wedges, chipping and putting. The more confidence you build into your short game, the more success you will experience overall. And don’t be seduced by the dreaded demons of distance. What’s the point of being long and wrong? Learn to hit it straight first then go for distance.

Most importantly, focus on the finish, on what you truly want to accomplish. Practice visualizing the flight of your shots and, when you complete your swing, holding a balanced finish until our ball lands on the target. Maintaining balance is essential to building a consistent, fluid tempo. Lighten up and loosen your grip on your old bad habits. Think of your swing as an expression of your natural rhythm. Hold that thought and learn to take deep breaths to release the tension in your body. Learn to relax and embrace the possibilities of playing the game of your life. Celebrate your great shots and don’t beat yourself up should something go wrong. Be confident you will recover. The beauty of golf is there is always room for redemption. Remember, you are the greatest… Play well.
By Bob Peterson 28 Apr, 2017
By Ralph Cissne
Southern California Golf, May 2002

Power has been a raging hot topic in golf for most of my life. We’re all mad with the desire for greater distance, especially off the tee. Everyone wants to generate more power, but our new high-tech alloy equipment only provides the means to transfer energy as the club head strikes the ball. Ultimately, power is something you must find and cultivate within yourself.

I’m a bit of a purist about the game and was slow to surrender my sweet persimmon driver. It’s a beautiful club and has held a special place in my closet for a very long time now. I’m not going to give up thirty yards off the tee. Who would? But once we have all the technology we can handle, then what? If you truly want to improve your game, lessons are always on the agenda. Work with your local golf professional to develop strong fundamentals of grip, stance and alignment. Balance, fluid tempo and bringing the club head down the line with consistency are the keys to success. Learning, and practicing, proper swing mechanics are mandatory if you want to increase your skills and self-confidence. This is also the gateway to your power.

Get Leaner, Longer and Stronger

Physical conditioning is also important. Go to any driving range and notice the people who stretch before they practice. Most people just drop the bucket and start swinging away. True athletes wouldn’t think of practicing or playing without warming up and stretching the muscle groups involved. Virtually every professional athlete works with strength and conditioning coaches and trainers to optimize their performance. This is particularly important if they have injuries. Why should golf be any different? Your local health club most likely has a certified personal trainer who can help you create proper stretches and “core conditioning” exercises based on your level of fitness.

Given the enormous popularity, you probably have a Hatha Yoga studio nearby. Yoga classes are an excellent way to increase your balance, strength, flexibility and range of motion. The stretches you learn from a trainer are almost certainly based on aspects of this five-thousand-year-old science of life. Modern physics theorizes matter and energy are similar manifestations only with varied density. Consider your body and mind in this way. In yoga postures the breath is used to direct attention to the point of the greatest sensation. This process of concentrating energy promotes growth and healing of the muscles and connective tissues. The beauty of yoga, taught by experienced and inspired teachers, is the classes are self-contained. You find everything you need to get leaner, longer and stronger in one place.

The Powerhouse of Conditioning

The purpose of Hatha Yoga is to fuse the body into an instrument of the will, which makes an ideal discipline for golfers. I discovered golf and yoga in my early teens. In my twenties I sustained lower back injuries and quickly learned, if I wanted to continue playing golf, I had to maintain my core strength and flexibility. So, over twenty years later, I practice yoga every morning without fail and hit the golf ball longer than ever. Of course, I’m not using my old persimmon driver anymore.

The Pilates Method is another mind-body discipline, which blends the best of Western and Eastern approaches into exercises performed on mats or special equipment. Pilates exercises are similar to yoga in that they condition the entire body with special emphasis on the specific core muscle groups supporting the spine and pelvis. Called the Powerhouse, this group of muscles includes the rectus abdominis, internal obliques, lower back muscles, transversus abdominis and gluteus maximus. To engage your Powerhouse, pull your navel in toward your spine. Try this, lengthening from the center of your body when you stretch, walk or swing. As a golfer, you should immediately recognize the benefits of conditioning these muscles to help prevent injuries and promote a fluid and powerful golf swing.

Relax and Be in the Moment

Extraordinarily hard swings destroy your accuracy and the rhythm of your round. How can you maintain balance and tempo when you are swinging out of your shoes? Yoga teachers encourage students to “find your center,” the place in your body where you are balanced and complete. In yoga you learn how to breathe and that every breath is a moment of growth followed by a moment of surrender. A heightened state of relaxed self-awareness is a natural result of this process. With yoga practice, your physical and emotional balance is maintained and you enjoy a meditative quality, which is easily accessed on the golf course and throughout your daily life. All that is required is to take a deep, full breath. Take in whatever is necessary. Then relax and enjoy the power of being in the moment.
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