Golf Mental Secrets: The 4 Core Mental Traits Successful Amateur and Tour Golfers Use to Play and Win
"You see to become a top class golfer you will need to develop a very high stress tolerance threshold to deal with the continual adversity that is fundamental to the way the game of golf is played. It's a game that cannot be perfected, what part of that don't you understand?"
What kind of attitude would you need to have to be one of the best in a sport where for at least 90 percent of the time your outcomes are nowhere near your expectations, and every-time you competed you spent five or more hours at the venue - but only executed skills for about 3 to 4 minutes out of the 5 or so hours?
I want you to really think about your answer/s to this question for a moment, and then answer it...
Did your answer/s to this question bear a resemblance to any of the ones below?
So did you get any of these?
If you did, well done, and if your answers were similar to the one's above then you would be pretty close to the mark, and of course the sport I am describing is the game of golf. The game we can love and hate almost at the same time.
Of all the sports you can play, this is the one that relies heavily on sound thinking skills, excellent emotional management, a sharp decision making ability, and a laser focus to be really good at it.
Where do you learn to develop these attributes? Certainly not at any mainstream school or college.
Imagine that you never knew that you needed some or all of these attributes, do you think it would make a difference to how good you could get playing golf? I'm sure it would.
It is interesting when you look at the list that there is no mention of skills in the answers? Obviously the traits highlighted within these answers will have a huge effect on your skill execution.
Now just for a moment imagine that you didn’t have this type of attitude; do you think you could get to the heights of the game of golf?
Take the Test
Take our simple little test now and find out where you sit, and discover whether your attitude needs an adjustment that is currently holding you back from playing much better golf.
I think you will agree that you will enjoy golf more, and also get a lot more out of your game if you sit on the right hand side of the line?
After many years of observing golfers working and competing we have noticed over and over a small amount of consistent traits or behaviors that are consistent with the golfers who keep finding ways to play better and eventually get to the top of amateur and professional golf, versus those that struggle with/and give up much earlier than they should.
The 4 Core Mental Traits
We call these The 4 Core Mental Traits and they describe the 4 rock-solid core traits that we continually identify in golfers who perform better and more consistently over the long term than their fellow competitors.
There are other important traits that you could add to these, but in our experience these are the 4 core traits that drive long-term performance improvement.
These traits describe qualities that you should continually strive to develop in your golf career whether you are an amateur or professional, and they will enhance your performance process and keep you focused on achieving your most important goals on the golf course.
You will fail many more times than you succeed in your attempts to win golf tournaments and as a case in point I saw recently where Kenny Perry discussed this point with an interviewer and mentioned that he had played about 660 tournaments on the PGA Tour and 'only' won 14 times.
Think of how many holes and golf shots Kenny Perry hit to win 14 times in his career on the PGA Tour? So let's do a few basic sums and work out roughly what it would be.
Let's say that Kenny Perry made 65 percent of the cuts in those 660 tournaments (429 tournaments x 72 holes) he would played 30,228 holes in PGA Tour events over his career. Now imagine how many golf shots that equates to?
I think you can see that Kenny Perry hit more than one hundred thousand golf shots in PGA tournaments over his 30 year career to win 14 events.
You need to truly understand that you will fail many more times than you succeed and simply acknowledge that this is a simple fact of life in high performance golf and the more you can live with this truth and just get on with playing the game the better.
Golfers who are willing to persist with their effort to succeed for longer will have much more success in golf than those that don’t.
You will literally hit hundreds of thousands of golf shots in your golf career and most of them will be far from perfect, and it will be your determination to keep striving for improvement when you face continuous adversity that will keep you on the success track.
You must develop a deeply embedded belief that every setback you face is just feedback and not failure, and that it simply reminds you that to be a great golfer you will have to have more determination and persistence than the next golfer.
Your Key Success Strategy - "I Never Give In and Never Give Up"
You need a long-term outlook of where you will take your game to if you want to achieve any level of success in golf.
Justin Rose was a professional golfer for 15 years before he won the US Open, and Adam Scott was on tour for 14 years before he won the US Masters.
It is very hard to persist with golf with a short-term perspective because if you think about it, how can you have a long-term career in golf with a short-term perspective? You can certainly have short-term goals but ideally they will fit into your long-term plan.
For more on developing a long-term golf plan check this out (click here)
Perspective enhances patience, poise or self-control in your game and is essential for learning how to accept the mistakes that you will inevitably make in every round you play. Notice that all the great players have poise under pressure?
It's because they have perspective, that is, they can see a bigger future than a few shots that didn't come off the way they expected in a round of golf.
It’s a long-term perspective or vision of your golfing future that can help you to see past the normal day to day set-backs that can and do slow down the progress of golfers. Perspective keep you moving forwards towards your vision of where you want to take your game ultimately to.
Your Key Success Strategy - "Small Set-backs Won't Change My Destination"
You will never be able to play this game with perspective and also positiveness - a key driver of motivation that helps you to keep getting up from the canvas smiling when you suffer continual knockdowns or set-backs.
Positiveness basically describes your day to day outlook and heavily influences the type of energy you invest into your game. Positive energy helps you to keep finding ways to improve your game because it essentially allows you to keep seeing a bright, successful future.
Because golf is such a challenging game it is easy to see the dark side of things, but you need to be a lot bigger than your bad moments and keep seeing the positive side of things.
Positiveness helps you to manage stress and also enhances your perception positively of what's possible because it helps you to focus on the good in your efforts rather than the bad.
And when you look at your career positively you can see that your success in golf is about being bright in the dark moments, and this alone makes it easier to get up, dust yourself off and keep turning up to play your best.
Your Key Success Strategy - "The More Up I Am, The Lower I Can Go"
Pluck is an unusual word that basically describes spirited and determined courage, and if someone tells you that you have pluck then you are receiving a huge compliment.
To us pluck describes a golfers courage to stay creative and not become technical and overly mechanical - particularly when they have hit a few poor shots and are faced with a challenging shot at a crucial time in a round.
And this is one of the biggest challenges you will face as you get better. You have to learn to let go of the mechanical, and learn to embrace the creative.
We think it takes a lot courage to keep finding ways to play better without reacting to poor golf shots and sending yourself back to the classroom for more theory and technique change.
Tiger Woods has shown us all how much pluck he has, and over his career he has been able to compete even when his technical skills were not at their best, and he still has the courage to play creatively.
To become a great golfer you have to be creative and adaptable in the environment you are competing in, and because your plans doesn't always come off you need to be able to do as the US Marine Core are trained to do and improvise, adapt and overcome the challenge of the moment, sometimes with gutsy shots that you wouldn't normally play.
Sometimes safe is not an option, and the great players have all proven that when "the chips are down" they are often at their best and will hit clutch shots that get them back into the game and onto the scoreboard.
Your Key Success Strategy - "I Can Play the Shot That's Needed Now"
The key point to learn here is that golf is not a game that you can perfect, so stop trying to play this game that way?
It is a game of "less than perfect shots" and needs to be learned and developed with that in mind.