There may be several reasons why you first started playing golf, plus a handful more that keep you coming back for more. But if you’re playing for the wrong reasons you’re likely increasing your score in the process. In this post you’ll discover how to maximize success by golfing for the right reason.
Have you ever felt like you had to pull off good shots for a partner or a group? Despite the fact that your individual shot or overall score will contribute to your team, playing for your partners is not going to help you excel. When you make shot decisions based on what you think you must do to tow the line you can put a lot of unnecessary and debilitating pressure on your shoulders.
No matter who you’re playing with, whether the round is friendly or competitive, and regardless of the format for the day you must commit to playing for one person and one person only — that one person is YOU! Your expectations are the only ones you should strive to meet.
I love this quote from Tiger Woods —
“One of the things that my parents have taught me is never listen to other people’s expectations. You should live your own life and live up to your own expectations, and those are the only things I really care about it.”
I encourage you to apply this wisdom to your game.
The best way you can bring your best to any round is to take a self-focused approach to it. Playing to fulfill anyone else’s expectations, pleas, directives, or opinions of you or your game opens the door to a lot of noise that you must deal with during a round.
Let’s run a quick 5-question diagnostic to determine who you play for ~
- Do you worry about what others think about you or your game, especially on days when you’re not playing great?
- Do you feel pressure to hit a particularly good shot when your partner just flubbed his?
- When in a team event, do you worry about letting your playing partner down?
- Have you ever felt embarrassed after hitting a poor shot?
- Do you feel better about your round when you’re getting accolades from your partner?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then you are playing for others rather than playing 100% for yourself.
The Importance of Playing for You
You’re not alone. I’m a people-pleaser by nature and have to fight the urge to try to be everything to everyone I want to serve. If I were to try to please absolutely everyone all the time I’d be putting myself under tremendous pressure. Instead, I focus on staying in my lane by doing what I do best and valuing my honest opinion of myself and my performance above anyone else’s. It’s not a matter of self-obsession or narcism — it’s about self-preservation so I can do my best for the people and things that matter most to me.
Consider how this revised approach could help you play golf with less pressure. It’s possible to set goals that you can realistically reach in any round that are centered around your own enjoyment. This would enable you to play within your game. Never would you feel under pressure to perform for anyone else or for any reason other than to reach your own goals.
Be a Great Team Player
The best way for you to contribute to a playing partner or team is for you to play for you. The more you mentally free yourself from the expectations of others the more freely you will swing. And the more freely you swing the better your delivery of good swing technique, better ball striking, and ultimately better scores.
It’s easy to have the voices of others get in your head. Avoid becoming responsible to play for others when you hear things like, “we need you to make this putt,” or “I’m counting on your approach shot to keep us in the hole,” or “I just don’t have my ‘A’ game today so I’m relying on you.” In response, refer back to your original goals for the day and get your focus back on playing your game for you. Teach yourself to listen to your own voice and strive for your own desires in golf. That’s usually more than enough to manage for most golfers.
Until next time…PLAY GREAT!
Need help developing a trusted and efficient mental pre-shot routine? I can help you with that.
If you’re interested in exploring how mental game training can lower your handicap I invite you to set up a 45-minute free consultation call with me. On the call I will evaluate your current mental game skills and provide you with a targeted solution to help you lower your handicap and love your game. Click on the image below to get started.
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