WARREN — Sports hypnotherapist Lisa Schermerhorn reached out to see whether Roger King’s clients needed a hand with the mental side of golf.
King was first to step up to the line. And the Vermont PGA pro found at least one very good reason to refer his clients to her: his Vermont PGA Player of the Year award.
Schermerhorn’s counsel helped King land the trophy he’d been chasing for 15 years; he recently beat out former Player of the Year Dave Jankowski in a close race that came down to the last competition of the season.
Schermerhorn contacted the Sugarbush head pro early in the year to explain her techniques and King, who was off to a good start in the VPGA’s weekly events, decided to try something he’d considered before. He even went so far as to agree to be hypnotized.
“She reached out to show me what she does. I went to her and it worked out well so I went again,” said King, who came to Vermont from an assistant pro’s job in Salem, Massachusetts. He was the head PGA pro at the Country Club of Barre until moving on to Sugarbush.
“Lisa helped me with my pre-shot routine and helped me focus on the task at hand,” King said.
“It was great. Sometimes I would have trouble focusing and the good part is I knew I was having trouble focusing.”
It wasn’t long before King saw results.
He was playing a VPGA event at the Country Club of Vermont and had bogeyed the first two holes.
“The round could have gone one of two ways,” he said. “I could force it but instead I stepped on the 12th tee and went through my routine and hit it down the middle and I think I shot 1 under the rest of the way. All because I didn’t start pressing. I had a process of getting to a shot at a time.”
King won two events this season, at Williston and at Barre, where he’d landed his first head pro job. He also had a handful of runner-up finishes and wound up supplanting C.C. of Vermont’s David Bennett as Player of the Year. Bennett won the award in 2016 and 2017 by big margins.
King had a skinny lead of 10 points over Jankowski when he teed it up at Okemo in Ludlow at the last event of the season. He finished strong, parring the last four or five holes to post 73.
“I had been trying hard and (the award) is something I’d been close to,” King said. “It’s a nice culmination to do something you set out to do. I had a goal and I didn’t go out and shoot 84 under the pressure.
“It came down to one event and being able to get through it and succeed was a nice pat on the back for all the work I’d put in.”
King has since sent some of his clients Schermerhorn’s way.
Would he send Jankowski or Bennett?
“I would,” he said, “but they’re not asking.”