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Golf Australia Express : Issue 33
WHICHEVER CATEGORY OF unhappy golfer you fit into, you’re about to change for the better. And so will your scores. So says Dr Joe Parent, a US psychology professor and author of several golf-related books such as Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game and Golf: The Art of the Mental Game. “Most people think if only I played golf better I’d enjoy it more. It works the other way around—if you enjoyed it more you’d play it better,” Dr Parent says. “People identify themselves and their self-worth too much with their golf scores. “They have a misunderstanding about how difficult golf is. And so their level of expectation and their results don’t match up so well. “Golfers are unhappy because their expectations of what they should be shooting are unrealistic.” It’s a fair point. How many golfers expect to shoot their official handicap or better each time they step-up to the first tee? In reality, our handicaps reflect the score we can shoot on our best day. While there are many factors at play that can answer why we see so many unhappy golfers during our rounds—such as unhelpful playing partners and sticklers for the rules of golf— the major culprit to our golfing gloom is that little voice in our heads at address. “Golfers need to get out of their own way,” Dr Parent says. “If you are miserable about your game it means you have been playing badly and you expect to continue playing badly. “If we focus on the bad shots then we walk to the next one expecting another bad shot. We get mechanical, thinking ‘how do we avoid hitting a bad shot.’ “So it’s important to assess how you’re " Golfers are unhappy because their expectations of what they should be shooting are unrealistic." COVER STORY THE