The Delusion of Perfection: The Art of Negative Thinking


Most mid to high handicap golfers do not have the time, money or desire to hit thousands of practice balls, but every golfer can develop the attitude that allows you to consistently play to the best of your ability.

Constant improvement is a by-product of developing the beliefs that allow you to unlock your potential.

How would you define consistency?

Your definition depends on expectations. Perhaps modifying your expectations, might reveal that you are actually more consistent than you think.

Most of my students equate consistency with score; breaking 95 or 90 or 85. Once you’ve established a goal (in terms of score) the next step is to uncover the mental barriers that seem to constantly block your progress.

Which shots have the biggest effect on your score – the number of perfect shots or the number of mis-hits?

Perfect shots are a fortuitous accident; nice when they happen, but impossible to predict. You never know if you are going to hit a perfect shot. On the other hand, imperfect shots are inevitable; it’s not a question of if, but rather when, a poor shot is going to manifest.

The secret to consistency is minimizing the effects of the first poor shot. You never know when it will occur, but you can prepare mentally by minimizing the odds of forfeiting more than one stroke.

Learn to play by feel; pick the club that feels right rather than trying to follow a preconceived idea of how a hole should be played. Scoring in the nineties is bogey golf. When you eliminate the double-bogeys, then breaking ninety is easy.

Consistency is not the result of hitting more perfect shots; it’s a matter of reducing the severity of the poor ones.

Poor shots are inevitable. At first, this may sound like negative thinking. Allow yourself a reasonable number of imperfect shots per round. If you score in the nineties, I would start with ten. You can reduce the number as you improve,

Your golf swing is constantly changing, based on how you feel. The better you feel, the better the chances of re-creating a smooth swing.

Would you feel better allowing yourself to hit poor shots or beating yourself up by constantly demanding perfection?

Consistency is not an all or nothing concept. The worlds’ best players understand the unpredictability of the game. Developing the mindset to accept this fact is the most important element you can learn from the world’s best players.

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