Many of our day-to-day challenges do not provide us with instant positive feedback. With the advancement of technology our world has become smaller and faster than ever before. Just as we complete one task another awaits in our in-box or on our to-do list. Projects often take years before we can see the fruits of our efforts. Golf, however, provides us with the opportunity for success each and every time we step up to the ball.
To this end golfers are on an endless pursuit to attain this feeling as frequently as possible. When we first start playing just getting the ball in to the hole is our goal. As we progress we try to reduce the number of strokes it takes us to achieve this goal from round to round. We become so focused on our score and suddenly that joy we first experienced turns into frustration and anger when a larger number arises.
The same feelings occur as we develop our swing. At first just getting the ball in the air and moving it forward down the fairway produces a feeling of elation. In pursuit of this feeling we then try to improve the quality of the swing and end up frustrated when each and every shot is not perfect.
It is not surprising that a golfer’s first hole produces a great sense of accomplishment when the golf ball flies off the clubface or drops into the cup for the first time. What is ironic is that most golfers now shift that wonderful feeling they are experiencing to a focus on score or swing mechanics. Our expectations change from can we do it to how do we do it. We start moving from a personal experience to judging our performance compared to others or a standard of perfection. It is exactly this shift that leads golfers down a path of frustration and a variety of other negative emotions.
We need to keep our emotional barometer in check. Science has proven time and time again that emotions release chemicals in our bodies. Positive emotions support good performance and negative emotions inhibit performance. Add a positive (realistic) emotion to your pre-shot routine to set the stage for success. Make the shift from how you will perform the shot to what you want to accomplish, from how you played the game to why you play the game, and then enjoy the great game of golf!