High Expectations In Golf
Do you feel pressured to live up to the expectations of others?
Do you feel you constantly let down others because of your play during golf tournaments?
Expectations can erode your love for the game and wreak havoc on your performance… but you didn’t always feel the pressure of high expectations.
Remember when you were younger and you just played golf for the love of the game and felt excited to face the challenges during a round of golf?
You felt a sense of freedom to just swing the club and were totally “wrapped up” in the game…
You probably were oblivious to many of the distractions going on around you…
Within time, your game improved and your score dropped. You may have started to finish in the top-10 or, even, won some tournaments…
With your success on the course came higher expectations from others to shoot lower scores, win more, and consistently beat your rivals.
The expectation of MORE creates a greater sense of pressure and is opposite of the mindset that helped you play at a high level in the first place.
If you can find a way to reconnect to that mindset when you played freely and didn’t obsess about results, you can return to those successful days on the course.
Jason Dufner knows what is like for PGA players to get weighed down by the expectations of others.
Dufner turned pro in 2010 and two years later, in 2012, Dufner won two PGA Tour titles (The Zurich Classic and the Byron Nelson Champoionship). The following year, Dufner notched his third Tour victory at the 2013 PGA Championship.
Many people, including the media expected Dufner to continue reeling in the victories.
It took two and a half years before Dufner won another PGA Tour event when he defeated David Lingmerth in a sudden-death playoff at the 2016 CareerBuilder Challenge.
After his victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Dufner was asked about the pressure to meet the outsized expectations of other people after he won his one and only Major in 2013.
DUFNER: “It’s so easy to get bogged down by whoever it is saying that you should be playing at this certain level. And then you start focusing on things that aren’t really helping you play how you want to play.”
Dufner emphasized the importance of focusing on yourself, ignoring outside interference and being patient as the keys to countering the expectations of others.
DUFNER: “I don’t really have any expectations of how I’m going to play or where I should play or where I should be or what tournaments I should be playing. I just, I’ve always been under the thought process that if you work hard and you do the right thing, good golf will come.”
When you allow the expectations of others (or your own) dominate your mind, you pull your attention away from the things you need to focus on to play great golf.
Remember, there is less pressure when attempting to play great golf then try to live up to the unrealistic expectations of others.
Tip for Letting Go of Other People’s Expectations
It is not your responsibility to give others what they expect. Your game is YOURS! Success is a personal matter with nothing to do with the opinions of others. Often, I find that players transfer their own expectations onto others.
Define your goals and what success means to you. Take into consideration that there will be ups and downs so don’t get too bogged down with solely focusing on results.
Remember, it is you who is on the golf course. Don’t feed into the drama, negativity and expectations from others. Focus on your goals, your game, and what you need to do to play great golf.
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