Sep
08

The golf psychology of letting everyone else complain while you win

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How often do you hear your playing partners and other people at the golf course complaining about things beyond their control? Maybe you do it a bit yourself. I know I have from time to time, especially in the past. You know the sort of thing I mean. More importantly, have you ever thought about the golf psychology impact that this has on their game?

Now I’m talking here about a whole range of complaints. You’ll hear some people whingeing about the conditions. Maybe it’s too hot or too cold for them to play well. Perhaps the wind’s too strong, in the wrong direction or, as Tiger Woods seems too struggle with these days, the wind is swirling unpredictably. Some may be saying that the greens are too fast or too slow for them to putt well on or too hard or receptive for their style of play. Yet more may be complaining about the length of the course, the thickness of the rough, the width of the fairways or the size of the greens. And it doesn’t matter that it’s the same for everyone, most of them can find something to complain or worry about.

The complaining doesn’t stop with the conditions. How often have you heard golfers talking before a tournament and commenting on how they don’t like this particular course and always play it badly, how they don’t play well at this time of year or how they’d rather be paired with a different partner. Sometimes, they’ll talk about a particular competitor that always plays well here and they can never beat. You only have to think about all those PGA Tour Professionals who started out playing for second place as they just knew they couldn’t beat Tiger – "he’s on another planet."

So what does it matter if I complain a little before I play? Well, as I’ve said many times in my articles, whatever you consciously think about, you unconsciously achieve. You may remember me talking about how if you focus your conscious thoughts on not going into a particular bunker or water hazard, you so often hit the ball straight into or at it. The same thing applies to the things you complain about. If you go out to play thinking consciously about how much you don’t like the course, the conditions or your opponent, then your unconscious mind will fulfil your expectations and you will rarely play well.

My first and best golfing hero, the great Jack Nicklaus, told a story about how he used to assess his chances at tournaments by listening to what his fellow competitors were saying. If he heard a player complaining about the conditions or talking in a negative way about anything, then he’d think to himself, "There’s a guy who won’t be in contention", and mentally cross them off his list of competitors to watch out for that week.

So the next time you’re planning to play a round of golf and you start feeling hard done by about the conditions, your opponents or just a string of bad luck, then remember Jack’s comments and turn things round by finding the positives rather than complaining. The conditions are the same for everyone, your opponents are only human and your luck generally balances out over time. Let them complain while you focus on winning.

Comments

  1. […] Lee’s approach isn’t that much different from Jack Nicklaus taking advantage from "The golf psychology of letting everyone else complain while you win", as I wrote about in […]

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