Charles is all smiles on the range. But on the course it's a different story. (Image: Simplistic.Designs/Flickr)

Charles is all smiles on the range. But on the course it's a different story. (Image: Simplistic.Designs/Flickr)

Tonight’s episode was a case study in golf psychology.

Barkley has made enormous strides in practice. Hank Haney has worked with Charles to the point that Chuck was comfortable going on national television–on his NBA show on TNT–and hitting a few balls with his redesigned swing.  Swing looked great.  Hank then took Barkley to one of those golf simulators that I hate. Chuck was busting out over 300 yard drives.

But, then, Charles went out to the course. And, oh my, that was bad. Horrible. Embarassing. He reverted back to his old hitchy, stop and start swing, and hit some nasty looking shots. Hank was dissapointed. Chuck was disappointed.

Hank repeatedly says that Chuck’s problem is not in his head, but it’s  in his swing. But, really, it’s his head that is producing a different swing on the course. He’s comfortable on the range. But it’s the course that’s getting inside his head. And that’s the catalyst for these bad swings.

Here’s a guy who could stand in front of 15,000 people and sink free throws to win playoff games. But he can’t handle the pressure of playing with a few friends on the golf course. It’s crazy how the mind works, isn’t it?

In my own life, it’s amazing how I could hit a tee shot in front of 50 people and not even think about it. But you make me stand and talk in front of those 50 people and I’m like Ricky Bobby after he won his first race in Talledega Nights: What do I do with my hands? But I’m getting better at that.

So there’s tonights recap. Until next week…

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