Overcoming Expectations on the Golf Course

long-term success in golf

Playing Golf with an Optimistic Mindset

Do you set high standards for your performance when you play a round? Do you believe that setting the bar extremely high leads to performing your best?

Let’s look at this question in reverse. If your standards are low, will you perform at a high level?

Of course not. Low standards will lead to low effort. If you have low standards, you will not put in the work to improve your game. Thus, if you have low standards, you will under perform.

Now, let’s look at the opposite. Do you think having excessively high standards leads to peak performance? Is never being satisfied the key to motivating yourself to greater heights?

Interestingly, excessively high standards or expectations lead to frustration and under performance.

Never being satisfied or happy with your game is a characteristic of perfectionism. Perfectionism is an unattainable ideal that leads to negative emotions and less confidence.

If you have excessively high standards or demand perfection, you will always be frustrated when not playing up to your expectations. No matter if you go low or score poorly, you’ll dwell on every mistake. Dwelling on all your faults and mistakes leads to low confidence and frustration.

Let’s clarify the difference between high standards and excessively high standards. Having high standards is the pursuit of improvement, not a demand for perfection.

When you have high standards, you will be more objective in your evaluation after a performance. You understand you can learn from both the positive and negative aspects of performance.

Recognizing your strengths keeps confidence high while still maintaining motivation to work on your game.

Do the pros have high standards. Yes, for certain, but they can manage their expectations on the golf course. A good measuring stick to determine if your standards are excessively high is how much you judge your game during every play.

If you dwell on bad shots or bogeys and this triggers frustration, your standards are probably too high for your game. It’s hard to have fun on the course if you are always frustrated with not meeting expectations.

If you’re critical about your performance after the round, ask yourself the following questions:

Am I demanding perfection from myself? If so, why do I need to be perfect? What do mistakes say about me as a golfer or person?

Recognizing self-sabotaging expectations and replacing with small objectives can help you have more fun and be less critical.

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