Perfectionism In Golf

The drive to succeed and the frustration of never getting there!


Perfectionism can be beneficial or detrimental to your golf game, depending on just how perfect you want to be.

When Perfectionism Helps

The game of golf requires many different skills and techniques including hand-eye coordination, balance, speed, among others.

In addition, playing higher level-golf demands good physical and mental preparation. All of these need to be worked on and improved on a daily basis.

In fact, the goal of a professional -- and often times a recreational player as well -- is to reach the maximum potential of his or her abilities and skills. Striving to perfect your swing and other parts of your golf game will drive you to work more, stay focused, and look for any weakness or imperfection in these skills. If you stick with trying to do things better just a little bit longer than most other golf players, then you can achieve a lot; conversely, if you are satisfied too quickly with your results, you won't make the best of your abilities and you will find that there will be many players better than you.

In order for perfectionism to work for you, you need to use its drive and energy to improve your game and be able to let go and accept excellence as the final and realistic goal of your training and play.

Golf Perfectionism In Golf Australia

When Perfectionism Hurts

Hitting a perfect drive every time, and never missing a green, is impossible. Holing every putt for birdie is not possible either. In fact, there is not a single element of golf where you can be perfect because:

a) human beings are not perfect; and

b) the game of golf is too difficult.

This is where perfectionism can hurt you. While it may seem that you are perfect for a short period of time - for example, when you hit three tee shots in the fairway -- you will, sooner or later, miss the short grass perhaps you won't be 100% focused on the shot, perhaps the wind will blow the ball slightly out of its trajectory, perhaps ...

In other words, if your final goal is to be perfect, you'll be training to accomplish the impossible. That's when frustration and anger can arise and work to destroy your game. It's important that you remember what you want to achieve in golf and check with yourself: "Does pushing for perfection help me achieve this objective?"

It's also useful to ask yourself: "How much do I need to use my desire for perfection when I train or play, and how much do I need to let go to achieve best performance?"

Note that perfectionism is only a way of thinking -- nothing more -- which means that this way of thinking can be changed. To tackle and win your battle against perfectionism you need to find its lies. Being perfect is a lie: Imperfect human beings cannot be perfect.

Let's take golf for example. If you miss an easy putt, you may feel disappointed about it because you "shouldn't have" missed it. But holing every putt is not possible, no matter what you have been told. Which proves that your thinking is false. And no one likes to be wrong -- not even in one's belief about perfectionism.

The best way to tackle perfectionism is with logic.

You need to test your beliefs about how things "should be" against reality. Ask yourself whether your thinking is true. Compare your expectations with reality - with other people or golf players.

Here's what I did to get rid of "shoulds": I watched pros play on TV, but I didn't look for great shots. Instead, I looked for poor shots, poor decisions and bad misses.

Once you change your frame of mind and look for mistakes, you'll see many, many, many, of them. Once you see that even "top 10" players make many mistakes, you'll realize that you can't be perfect and that there is no need to be perfect to be a great player.