204: Dr. Gio Valiante: How to Play Fearless Golf

This week, we have one of the biggest names in golf when it comes to the mental game, Dr. Gio Valiante. Dr. Gio is an expert in the area of human performance as it relates to both business and sport. His book, “Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game” is known by many as one of the most influential mental game resources in the game.

Fearless Golf continues to be a best seller more than 10 years after it was published in 2005 and his players have won over 50 PGA Tour Events in the past 15 years.

We cover a lot in this episode, so you might want to get a pen and paper.  To give you a little teaser, in this interview, we talk about . . .

  • The effects of fear and how it physically impacts several specific pieces of your swing
  • The distinction between a mastery golfer and an ego golfer (and which one you are)
  • The dilemma of when to work on technique vs trusting your swing and focusing on a precise target

I’m telling you, there are so many small but insanely powerful pieces of mastery in this episode, that I’m going to venture a guess that this will become one of the most impactful episodes we’ve done in regards to long-term on-course improvement.

Dr. Gio Valiante’s Background

  • Dr. Gio Valiante is currently a professor at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He serves as the mental game consultant to the Golf Channel, Golf Digest, and the University of Florida.Dr. Gio
  • Some of his accolades and accomplishments include:
    • Clients including Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stenson, Davis Love III and many others
    • Sports Psychologist of the Year by The Golf Channel
    • Top 40 Under 40 to Influence the game of Golf by Golf Magazine
    • The #2 Sports Psychologist in the world by Golf Digest.
  • He has worked with many of the game’s top players including Justin Leonard, Chris Dimarco, Chad Campbell, Camilo Villegas, Jack and Gary Nicklaus, Heath Slocum, Franklin Langham, Notah Begay III, Charles Howell III, Billy Andrade, Fred Funk, Tommy Armour III, Matt Kuchar, David Duval, Chris Parra, Lori Rinker, Davis Love III and many, many more.
  • His groundbreaking research – sponsored by a grant by Rollins College and the Critchfield Foundation – resulted in the 2005 publication of Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game. Fearless Golf was co-published with Golf Digest and Doubleday and has quickly become the new standard in golf psychology.
  • Endorsed by the game’s top players, Dr. Valiante provides a vision for competitive golf that allows golfers to remain fearless, focused, and committed to each and every shot they hit.

Highlights from this Episode

  • What brought Dr. Gio specifically into Golf in terms of sports psychology and how the timing of his career played an instrumental part in why he was drawn to golf.
  • He defines what the title of his bestseller “Fearless Golf” means, and how people often misinterpret it as being reckless. He talks about the books inception and how since it was originally a case study on over 100 professional golfers, the title came after the content.
  • The “feedback loop” of the psychological, physiological, and mechanical that fear can manifest itself as on the course. How the stress hormones like Norepinephrine is what the body uses during “fight or flight” to tighten the muscles and is released under those stressful fairway shots only adding to the pressure, and how we slow down or damper that system.
  • In the book he talks about the mantra and importance of having a “precise target”, and he dives deeper into how simplifying and playing the “Caveman Golf” of “See ball – Hit ball” has you playing better and acts as a buffer to overthinking.
  • How overworking technique and your golf swing is not helping your game like you think it is, and when we should switch from simplifying things and working technique. When your playing for your golf swing, you’re probably going to play worse more often than not.
  • The idea of “Mastery vs. Ego:” The philosophy of how he approaches the game, how you should view the game, and the difference between the two. Mastery golfers are driven by improvement and curiosity while playing for themselves. Alternatively, Ego golfers are competitive; they show extremes of anger or pride depending on how they play.
 Parting Questions:

Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore?  Caddy Shack

What would be your walk-up song?  Lose Yourself by Eminem

If you could play 18 holes with anyone, who would it be?   Bobby Jones

Learn more about Dr. Gio Valiante and his work at:


“Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game”

Dr. Gio on RevolutionGolf.com

Episode Sponsor

SuperSpeed Golf

What To Do Next:

1.) Subscribe (Click the blue button below) and Leave a Rating/Review (Click this link) for the Podcast:

2.) Subscribe to the YouTube Channel (Just Click the red Button):

3.) Join the 18STRONG Movement Facebook Group: