Carey Mumford is a real GIANT in golf psychology and his "clear keys" concept has educated quite a few erstwhile "gurus" in the game, including David Leadbetter. Carey, oddly, is also a GIANT among Internet people, as he is the volunteer editor for DMOS.org of the search-engine listing for the category "golf", and he personally vets nearly all golf websites and assigns them their basic indexing description that gets used by Google and Yahoo and Ask.com and all the other search engines in the Web. That's weird!
Carey was also involved in psychology and psychiatry in New York professionally before becoming a golf psych.
Unfortunately, the very concept "subconscious" does not survive the research and science since about 1980-1985. There is no such thing as the "subconscious." The entire concept was postulated by Sigmund Freud when he discovered the tools of empirical scientific research into the brain and its offshoot the mind were totally inadequate to straight-forward scientific inquiry, so he opted for "philosophisizing" about the brain and mind as a default instead. His quasi-religious jargon about the inner working of the mind ("Id", "Ego", "Libido", "Subconscious", etc.), as it turns out in today's science, didn't pan out. The VAST MAJORITY of American University Psychology Departments therefore stopped teaching Sigmund Freud and his outdated and inaccurate concepts of the mind approximately 30 years ago. The modern research is ALL ABOUT the NONconscious organ called the brain, and very little modern research concerns the "mind".
So, Carey is Old School in terms of modern brain science, and that is unfortunate, because the modern brain science says the Old School stuff is not simply outdated, but just plain incorrect and wrong and even non-existent. Uh oh, gotta modernize the old knowledge base, huh?
Don't believe that? Better read up: Patricia Cohen, "Freud Is Widely Taught at Universities, Except in the Psychology Department," New York Times, 25 Novemberhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/weekinreview/25cohen.html,
accessed 27 June 2012.
"PSYCHOANALYSIS and its ideas about the unconscious mind have spread to every nook and cranny of the culture from Salinger to South Park, from Fellini to foreign policy. Yet if you want to learn about psychoanalysis at the nations top universities, one of the last places to look may be the psychology department.
A new report by the American Psychoanalytic Association has found that while psychoanalysis or what purports to be psychoanalysis is alive and well in literature, film, history and just about every other subject in the humanities, psychology departments and textbooks treat it as desiccated and dead, a historical artifact instead of an ongoing movement and a living, evolving process.
The study, which is to appear in the June 2008 issue of The Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Assocation, is the latest evidence of the fields existential crisis. For decades now, critics engaged in the Freud Wars have pummeled the good doctors theories for being sexist, fraudulent, unscientific, or just plain wrong. In their eyes, psychoanalysis belongs with discarded practices like leeching."
There is now available greatly detailed, voluminous research about the NONconscious processes of the organ called the brain, not about the "mind" and certainly not about something vaguely named the "subconscious." In neuroscience today, the mind contains "awareness" of thoughts, emotions and perceptions, and body, but the organ itself as part of the body is NONconscious, and there is nothing in between that is "sub"-conscious. You're either "aware" of something, or not.
Carey once said to me about a year ago that no one can know anything about the NONconscious, which indicates a complete lack of familiarity with ALL modern neuroscience since the 1980s -- it is almost ALL studying the NONconscious processes of the organ itself. So that's not good. Old dogs can't be taught new tricks, I suppose.
Now, as to "clear keys," yes it is helpful NOT TO USE THE MIND while executing the shot or the stroke in putting, but BLOCKING the mind is a negative approach. There is a better approach altogether, which is to harness the 30 years of NEW brain research and go with the positive of operating the body's NONconscious processes the way they are made to operate innately. I often tell people that golf psychs are WAY out of date, and the best they have to offer about using the NONconscious body is "don't use the mind." Carey fits in that group, as does Bob Rotella. What they should learn and teach instead is what to do positively to "use the NONconscious". At least Carey has created some technique to control the mind, whereas Rotella simply tells anecdotes to illustrate the workings of this or that golfer's mind in supposedly superior patterns of conscious-nonconscious, without giving others any technique for HOW they should control their minds or what sort of development as a players ends up with a similar valued trait. That's non-teaching.
To use the NONconscious requires knowing how perceptions and movements are unified in "action". Perceptions shape and are shaped by movements and movements shape and are shaped by perceptions. Better, more relevant and more accurate and veridical the perception processes -- the better the goal-directed movement for accuracy and consistency; and by the same token, the more accurate and consistent and "natural" the movement habits, the more focused and relevant and accurate the perception-gathering processes. This dynamic interchange between perception habits and movement habits needs quite a bit of tuning up for almost all golfers, since no one is teaching this or has ever really concentrated upon this sort of teaching in golf history, but once put on the right track, this is HOW the NONconscious body is literally operated for optimal performance.
Once you advance out of the Dark Ages to this point, golf becomes "Just Do It" without the "Just" implying there is not anything knowable about the HOW. That's utterly false. There is a great, great deal to learn about the HOW for operating the NONconscious body.
One superior way to "clear keys" is what I term "kill your vision". Once the shot or stroke is decided for type and shape and start line and power requirements, and that sort of thing (draw versus fade, full swing, part swing, high read, tempo choice for stroke, etc.), the eyes and vision are not all that helpful, and certainly not at all helpful but harmful in the sense of the eyes as sentinels for "threats and opportunities" coming into the visual scene. The eyes and vision in this sense are "changers" of the status quo, but golfers need to NOT react to the eyes once the decision is made. Try to explain that to an "optometrist" cum putting guru (i.e., a "glasses fitter" barred by the laws of all 50 states from anything more elaborate for visual diagnosis or treatment due to limited training).
Interestingly, Loren Roberts is the ONLY example of just this in putting, and indeed in all of golf. Asked once what part of the ball he looks at when making his stroke, Loren responded that he doesn't really look at or see the ball at all when he executes the stroke, and that in fact his image of the ball blurs just before he starts the stroke. I've never heard of anyone who passed that tidbit along or who even tried to understand how it might happen. What is actually happening in Loren's brain, according to modern neuroscience, is that the metabolic processes active in his visual cortex (occipital lobe at the back of the head) are fading while the blood glucose energy supply is being drawn like sap to the OTHER brain area powering up, which is the body-in-space area of the somatosensory cortex in the parietal lobe above and behind the ears. That means his vision is yielding to his body. His BODY is now going on NONconscious processing to execute the stroke, without being troubled by the eyes, now useless and beside the point except for some basic peripheral monitoring of body position during the stroke that helps the feed-forward corrective NONconscious processes of the movement get back on track if something awry develops. The NONconscious intentionality married to the good perceptions is now shaping and forming the motion at the NONconscious level.
Anna Wise once taught how to STOP the inner chatter of the "mind" by "parking the tongue back in the mouth." Wise was an EEG expert who authored The High Performance Mind in 1997,http://www.amazon.com/The-High-Performance-Mind-Anna-Wise/dp/0874778506,
somewhat richly informed with brain process science from the modern research. Her objective was to control the conscious mind: "Her unique combination of brainwave real-time biofeedback combined with guided meditation has been taught to thousands of students in the United States, Europe and Asia. Her primary teaching venue was Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California." This is the realm of Michael Murphy and Golf in the Kingdom and George Leonard and Akido controls. The theory of parking the tongue is that the brain in silent self-talk uses subtle tongue movements to mouth the words of the thinking brain, and "parking" the tongue prevents this. Interestingly, Nick Faldo once learned that his placing the tip of his tongue in between his front teeth when he putted was beneficial as well. But, again, this is BLOCKING "mind", not affirmatively operating the "just do it" NONconscious processes.
So "clear keys" are INSTEAD OF that sort of superior control.
It's sort of important to realize that "intentionality" is not really mental: for movement, it's a physical orientation of the body in preparation of movement to the target space to accomplish the movement's goal. Animals have this same sort of movement intentionality to space, and they don't have "mind" in the human sense at all. So humans should rather prefer this animal intentionality that is not mental but physical, and then the execution of golf shots and putting strokes gets done with a mind as clear as the great blue sky of the whole day -- nothing at all in the coconut gumming up the shot!
Here's a technique I've been working on and developing for golf: Aim the putter face thru the ball and intend to putt the ball as aimed along that line straight into a hole 10-15 feet away on a straight-putt surface (uphill is good); then, move the focus of vision off the top of the ball and let it hover just above the ball 6" to 8" or so above the white dimpled surface of the ball; then just wait until the image of the ball doesn't matter to you even though you are aiming the eyeballs in that direction, since you are no longer looking at or caring about the image of the ball; once the "awareness" of the ball starts to fade from the mind, the sense of the body being superior to the vision takes root and grows more intense and profound, while the image recedes into such insignificance the ball might even "disappear" from mental awareness; however far down this path you can walk your brain, then execute the putt according to the usual motion.
If you do this with the full swing, you can get in the "zone" and airmail flush, solid shots with great tempo and impact right on target with much greater consistency and accuracy than usual.
Try it. New world, new century, new learning for golfers and golf gurus, and especially "Freudian" golf psychs.
Putting Coach and Theorist