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It’s More About Attitude And Less About Aptitude

“Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course…the space between your ears.”

     ~Bobby Jones, Founder of Augusta National Golf Club, Co-Founder The Masters, Winner of 4 US Opens and 3 Open Championships


I was walking through the paddock at my course the other day when I saw the golf cart license plate pictured here.

It reminded me that so many friends and competitors I have played with have a similar defeatist attitude about their games.  Despite lessons, new equipment and game improvement gadget purchases, they are stuck shooting the same scores and dealing with the same weaknesses in their game round after round.  In fact, most players after a few years will find their handicap index stays within a narrow range year after year because of this.

So they give up.  In the case of the player whose cart I photographed, prior to the license plate purchase I’m sure they have silently internalized to themselves and openly to their friends various self-limiting expressions, leading to a belief in the proposition that are forever a “BD GOLFER.”

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Although the association between positive thinking and performance has not been scientifically proven, researchers have identified a consistent positive effect of positive thinking on sports performance.  Positive thinking and better sport performance has become mainstream.  There are countless books, podcasts, and coaches out there providing help.

One such coach is Joan King.  She is the founder of Positive Mental Imagery, a sports consulting service dedicated to helping golfers achieve their peak performances.  Since 1992, Ms. King has taught thousands of amateurs, junior tournament golfers and LPGA and PGA professionals how to understand the mind-body-spirit equation for peak performances.  She is also a low handicap senior amateur golfer, has competed in state, national and international championships, including qualifying for nine USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championships, and three Canadian Senior Ladies Amateur Championships.

I was introduced to Joan a few years back by my friend Karen.  I  was really intrigued by how easily negative thoughts slide into my head and how relatively simple it can be to change that messaging.  By repeatedly listening to Joan’s hypnosis tapes, you can begin to reprogram your thinking and rid yourself of those negative swing thoughts.  Joan has a blog and, as well, sells her hypnosis therapy through her site.  There you can download her content and listen to it on your phone or computer.

“It’s no surprise that attitude is a major variable when it comes to athletic (and life) success”, writes sports psychologist Dr. Chris Stankovich who has written/co-written five books, including Positive Transitions for Student Athletes and The Parents Playbook. What is key is that “attitude is also 100% under our control — so choose wisely!,” Stankovich writes, adding that “by developing a positive attitude your motivation, focus, and resiliency also improve… (allowing us) to build off our small successes while letting our mistakes go without beating ourselves up over coming up short.”

In a great article I recommend you read entitled Frustrated Golfer Syndrome: Causes and Cures, published in Psychology Today, Michael Bader DMH, said “an effective powerful swing can be explored and strengthened, but only if we stop judging ourselves.”

There are lots of bad bounces out there on the course.  There’s wind, rain and many other things we cannot control when we play.  However, we can control our attitude and that effort can only help us fight off being a BD GOLFER.

Thanks for tuning in.  If you find yourself digging my blog, please feel free to forward it to a friend who might also enjoy it.  As always, I would love to hear from you — feel free to shoot me an email to with any questions, comments or suggestions for future posts.  Next up:  Best of Survey.  Have suggestions, please let me know!

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