Champion golfers seldom let themselves slip into over-analyzing their games by thinking too much about trouble, various ways to hit the shot, mechanics, etc. In order to develop confidence in your golf game the first step is knowing more about yourself, specifically the way you think.
The 8 Personality Traits of Champion Golfers
Our first study of champion traits was of the LPGA players in 1981. We discovered that there are 8 personality traits out of 32 where the frequent winners on Tour measured differently from the other Tour Pros. Follow up studies in 1989 and 1990 on the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour players found the same 8 personality traits for the frequent winners. We have been able to map where the champions score consistently on our personality assessment. These ranges are the darker green in this sample report. One of these 8 traits relates to thinking, and is on a scale from “Concrete thinking” to “Abstract thinking.”
Abstract thinking is your ability to use your intellect to your advantage rather than to your disadvantage while playing your competitive round. You must use your abstract ability for such things as: club selection; course management; creating shots; calculations for changing conditions; and the way you will use a specific club to hit a specific shot.
You should not be “wasting” abstract ability or mental energy during competition on such things as: an involved analysis of your mechanics; your self-worth; other peoples opinions of you; what will be printed in the paper about you; why you haven’t won a tournament; why you have the number of bogeys you now have; how many birdies you should have; how many Ryder Cup points you could have earned; or all the times in the past that you have missed this type of putt. The higher your level of abstract ability, the more you need “thought stopping” and “thought replacement” techniques to quiet your mind so that you have a better chance of slipping into “The Zone” during competition.
Concrete thinking is more focused on facts, which often are less relevant in golf. While it is is a fact that different clubs perform differently, the extent of the difference is predicted using your abstract thinking. This means that abstract is incredibly important to performing well and developing confidence in your golf game.
One of your goals should be, if it is not already, to keep your thoughts in the present and on relevant, simple subjects, especially for the two seconds or less that you actually hit the ball.
The ideal measure for competition is 5-7.
Creating Optimal Golf Confidence
You can develop confidence in your golf game by knowing how abstractly you need to think during competition. This will help you make more informed decisions, focus better, and then perform more consistently.
Confidence in your golf game requires the three P’s: Practice, preparation, and problem solving. We assume you’re going through the effort of practice and preparation, but problem solving could be what’s holding you back. If you use the correct level of abstract thinking and don’t over-analyze your swing, you’ll be more reassured of your choices.
If you’re able to use your intellect to your advantage, you have an edge over your opponents, and it will start to show. When you’ve practiced hard and are making educated decisions, you will be reassured that you’re making good choices, and confidence should follow.
Learn to think like a Tour Champion.
Dr. Deborah Graham and Jon Stabler have helped Tour Pros and thousands of Competitive Golfers like you find consistency and build confidence using their Golf Psychology System and Tools. Find out how you compare to the best players on tour with our 8 Champion Personality Traits for Golf Assessment and Advice. A 42-page report with recommended methods based on your individual personality.