August 18, 2023

How Lucas Glover overcame ten years of the yips to become golf’s most in-form player with the help of a former Navy SEAL

Lucas Golver
Lucas Golver

It was a horror that plagued Lucas Glover for years. Two words that every golfer dreads hearing are “the yips.”

The yips, an uncontrollable wrist muscular tension, are not specific to golf, but the name, coined by the great Scotsman Tommy Armour in the 1920s, has come to mean a spasm that may impair even the game’s top stars’ swings.

Four major champions—Ernie Els, Danielle Kang, Bernhard Langer, and Georgia Hall—have struggled with the yips, which are also known as “the staggers” or “whiskey fingers” and are primarily related to putting problems.

Glover won the US Open in 2009 and rose to the position of 15th best golfer in the world. After six years and a case of the yips, the American’s ranking had dropped to 634 in the world.

Lucas Glover

“You don’t have much control over your hands, don’t have much control over your stroke.”

As you move to the pit, it gets worse.

Help Glover slowly recovered, returning to the top-100 by the beginning of 2023, but his green numbers persisted in making for nauseating reading.

Glover was 189th for putting strokes gained (-.568) and 187th for putts per round (29.83) in the 2021/22 PGA Tour season, while being one of the top golfers in approach play. It was time to ask for assistance, and Jason Kuhn, a former Navy SEAL, provided that assistance.

Baseball player for the NCAA Division 1 team Kuhn had aspirations to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) before the yips arrived, causing him to hurl close to an NCAA record six wild pitches in one inning. After Kuhn enlisted in the Navy soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, MLB aspirations started to fade.

He now works with business executives and athletes, especially those who are struggling with the yips, as a mental skills and team culture coach. One of his many clients was MLB pitcher Tyler Matzek, who Kuhn assisted in overcoming a severe case of the yips so that he could win the World Series in 2021 with the Atlanta Braves.

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