A Mental Approach to Golf – In 1981, I discovered that there are 8 Personality Traits that the frequent winners on the LPGA had in common and the other Tour players did not. In 1989 and 1990, further studies of the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour players found the same 8 personality traits for the frequent winners.
I wrote about these traits in my book, “The Eight Traits of Champion Golfers”, published in 1999.
Ask yourself the questions, “What do the frequent Tour winners do that makes them so successful? What are they doing differently than the other Tour players?” The answer is not obvious and until my studies was unknown but often speculated about.
Your personality, made up of 32 personality traits as researched and defined by Dr. Raymond Cattell, determines how you think and operate in the moment. Each of your personality traits can be measured and compared to others.
My studies discovered that only 8 of these personality traits were distinctly different for the frequent winners on Tour. This is the commonality among these elite and most successful players.
All of the Tour players have above average golf skills and physical talent. The level of performance in all the statistical categories on Tour is amazing and the top and bottom performers in these categories are not very far apart. Many golfers have physical talent, however.
Personality, these 8 traits, is the key to their above average performance and what sets them apart.
Golf instruction for your personality is vastly un-recognized and under-utilized for improving performance, yet it can give you immeasurable personal direction for growing, and getting the very most from your game in competition.
As you know, your personality is unique to you, and it follows that you bring your own unique combination of core mental strengths and weaknesses to golf. Just by being you!
Taking a mental approach to golf and understanding your own unique approach to the game is only a minor part of what golf instruction for personality skills can do for you. It can help you quickly target real causes of lost strokes, eliminating much wasted time and energy on countless “symptoms”, which is common practice for most “non-enlightened” golfers.
Here is a “for instance”..
Say you are playing great but you are missing a lot of make-able putts in competition. You’re making these putts in practice but not in play. Why?
Is your stroke changing?
So do you work on your stroke? Change your grip? Change putters? Move the ball in your stance?
You might find that any of these things work….for awhile.
But if the real problem causing you to miss all those putts has it’s origin in your personality or mental game, you are only addressing the symptoms when you try to solve the problem with trying yet another putter. You will soon be facing the same problem all over again!
And in the mean time, you will be giving up some really low scores and all the rewards that come with them.
How can golf instruction for your personality affect your golf?
Lots of ways!
Here are some examples of personality changing your natural mental approach to golf:
–If you naturally have an extroverted personality, you will lose many strokes because you are easily distracted and have a focus that is simply too wide over the ball. For example, you may be standing over that putt with your mind still on a conversation you just had about missing so many make-able putts. Or you could be pondering whether the special person back home will be checking your scores on the internet. This–and more–all while you are trying to make this putt!
–If you are naturally low in confidence, you will tend to lose strokes to self-doubt, negative self-talk and ultimately a lack of commitment. For example, you might be standing over the make-able putt with your mind more on how embarrassed you will be to miss yet another make-able putt or what others will say if you miss it.
— If you are naturally very submissive, you will tend to lose strokes to being too conservative or careful. For example, you feel you dare not hit out on the make-able putt for fear of missing yet another one. So you unknowingly hold on and guide the putt, ending short of the hole or pulled, rather than rolling it with a smooth, confident, firm, stroke.
You could be missing them for any of the above reasons. Or, it could be that you are simply an enthusiastic personality, conditioned to get a good shot of adrenaline over make-able putts.
I could go on. Different personality traits, but all resulting in the same missed putt. The first three mentioned are Champion Personality Traits. Enthusiasm is not.
Working on your stroke will not fix this. Changing putters may work for a bit, but it is not going to last!
The real solution starts with finding the origin of your challenge so you can apply the appropriate solution.
If it is higher natural Enthusiasm then, you will change your attitude about make-able putts to un-condition your excitement about them and treat them like any other putt–they should all be executed with emphasis on a good mental routine.
Second, you will learn simple techniques for quieting your mind and relaxing your body over make-able putts to help you accomplish the first step. Soon, both will become a habit and you will be making many more make-able putts!
Learning how you compare to the 8 Champion Personality Traits and where your natural challenges lie will enable you to focus on those key challenges. You will be rewarded with powerful changes that can improve your game exponentially….with results that will last. And you will stop chasing false solutions and wasting time or hurting your game.
So where do you start?
1. You can bookmark GolfPsych.com. We will regularly post articles. Check back often for new articles, or to review previous ones.
2. Read our book, The Eight Traits of Champion Golfers. It explains each of the Champion personality traits for golf and gives easy but effective recommendations for strengthening them.
3. If you want to jump in and get to work on accurate instruction for your personality complete this online assessment . It will provide a profile comparing your personality skills to the champions and a personalized e-book for strengthening your challenges.