Try Easy Like Camilo Villegas

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Sport Psychologist


According to Camilo Villegas, golf is hard. So given that, Camilo thought he must push even harder. But that mindset was counterproductive to his success. Camilo Villegas found peace of mind when he “tried easy”. Camilo stated he played his best when he just let it happen and did not force any outcome on the course. As a result, he won the Butterfield Bermuda Championships, and his first PGA tournament in nine long years. 

Let’s clarify this key point. Trying easy relates to the amount of intensity level you give toward an event. Trying easy implies that you are giving the appropriate amount of effort to excel at the task. Camilo Villegas was at his perfect intensity level in Bermuda this past weekend because he was trying easy instead of trying too hard. 

Trying hard can be very detrimental to your success. In an interesting experiment with Olympic runners, they were asked to run the first race at 100% intensity level (or in other words-they were asked to try as hard as they can). In the second race, the runners were asked to give 90% (or in other words, they were asked to try easier). Amazingly, they ran faster at the 90% intensity level.

Trying too hard can limit your foot speed as well as your swing speed. Forcing the issue and giving all your energy can cause excessive muscle tension, slowing down your arm speed and trunk rotation. However, trying easy should promote a more relaxed feeling that helps to create a greater shoulder turn and faster arm speed. This relaxed feeling can contribute to effortless power. 

To try easy like Camilo Villegas, here are a few mental game recommendations: 

  1. Develop a personalized scale of intensity level ranging between zero-100 (based upon a 10-point scale). Make zero being completely flat with very low intensity and 100 being totally amped up and a very high level of intensity. 
  2. Recall 2 or 3 events you played really well on the golf course and rank your intensity level. Some golfers may play their best at 60 while others may play their best at 80. Everyone is unique and you must find your best intensity level. 
  3. Discover ways to get into your best intensity level. If you play your best golf at lower levels of intensity, then use techniques such as imagery and breathing to get calmer. If you play your best when amped up, then use techniques to get more pumped up. Perhaps an easy slap on the thigh during your pre-shot routine can create a pump in your intensity level. 

Try easy to play your best golf. 

Author bio: 

Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players.  Dr. Gregg is ranked by Golf Digest as one of the greatest sports psychologists. You can see more articles like this one at This site is the online golf psychology course for the International Golf Psychology Association (IGPA). Please visit to see free videos and articles.


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