On the golf course, the average golfer is very quick to attach their self-worth to the quality of their scores, which inevitably leads to under-performance and frustrating play. This is called playing “ego golf” and is one of the major reasons that golfers fail to improve.
If, before every shot, you are thinking about how the outcome of it will affect your score, or whether you will impress or embarrass yourself, you put too much pressure on your ability to execute. Ever wondered why you are able to play great on the driving range, but horribly on the course? This is the very reason and understanding why is an integral part of learning to play better through the “inner game” of golf.
Golf has a inherent lure to the ego. The first time you bombed the ball 200 yards onto the green and holed the putt for birdie probably made you think of turning pro. Then, trying to follow it up on the next hole, you inevitably get brought back down to reality. No one can play to their true potential or enjoy the game to the maximum whilst continuously listening to their ego. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride with no ending.
The ego is protection from our fears, and when you play “ego golf”, you are not playing with complete trust in your abilities. You are being distracted from what is real and from truly connecting to the shot at hand. You are looking at yourself from the outside, instead of listening to what is coming from within.
Thinking about future possibilities and how you will look in front of your playing partners or to others in general, takes away from the potency of the present moment, which is entirely where you need to be to play your best golf. The past is irrelevant, and at this point, so is the future. The focus has to be purely on the shot at hand. Visualize the shot, feel the shot and use your routine to get “into the zone“. Thoughts about score and equating your self-worth with the outcome of a golf shot only creates doubt and a lack of focus on your true objective. Accept the bad shots in the same way you do the good ones and just appreciate this great game.
By getting rid of our ego, we open up entirely new possibilities for our golf scores and in our lives in general.
Photo by Dov Harrington