The Right Intensity for Playing Great Golf

How to Play with Pressure in Golf

Optimal Intensity Level for Golfers

What intensity level would you associate with peak performance in golf?

Would you agree that being totally relaxed is the absolute goal in order to play great golf?

After all, if you are not relaxed, you will tighten up and swing faster, right?

That’s not necessarily the case for many golfers.

Most golfers play their best golf when their body and mind are relaxed. Conversely, some golfers need more of an edge to get themselves fired up and playing well.

When it comes to the intensity level playing your best golf, one size does not fit all.

Take for example, LPGA golfer Stephanie Meadow… After missing the 2019 US Women’s Open cut, Meadow went on to miss the next five cuts in a row by only a few strokes.

Meadow figured that she needed a more fiery attitude to perform at her peak rather than being fully relaxed.

MEADOW: “Sometimes you just need to show a bit of fire to get the job done. You can’t just be a walking zombie. So you have to try and find that balance, and it’s a tricky balance to find. Sometimes when you play badly, you feel you need to be more collected. But it all depends on your personality, and that’s the toughest part of sports psychology. You have to find that happy medium and recently I had been trying to stay more calm, which obviously didn’t work.”

Meadow came to an important realization regarding intensity and performance. To be successful at golf, she needs to examine what mood helps her compete at her best.

You see, you can’t just go through the motions physically; you need to be tuned into your mental game as well.

Intensity greatly impacts your focus, mental game, and performance, so it is key to understand how your level of intensity affects your play.

There are 4 key points that explain the relationship between intensity and performance:

  1. Optimal intensity for peak performance is unique for each golfer. What works for one golfer may not work for you.
  2. Balance is everything. Optimal intensity exist along a continuum. Therefore, it is important to modify your mood given your competitive circumstances.
  3. Different levels of competition may require a different intensity for peak performance. For example, a championship tournament may call for a calmer mindset.
  4. Different shots require different levels of intensity. You can be a little more fiery driving a tee shot than facing a 5-foot putt.

What is your optimal intensity for peak performance?

Optimal Intensity Level for Peak Performance in Golf:

How do you know what level of intensity helps you perform at your peak?

This requires some introspection and comparing past performances…

Think back to your best rounds on the golf course… How would you describe your intensity level? Did you feel pumped up or more relaxed? How did you find that state? What did you do prior to the round to get there?

When not performing well, are you going through the motions like a robot or are you over excited and almost anxious? How did you get into that state? What did you do prior to the round to get there?

Compare the level of intensity you experienced when playing at your peak and playing poorly.

Do you need to feel relaxed or pumped up generally–to perform more consistently on the golf course?

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