“Confidence has to be the golfer’s single greatest weapon…”Jack Nicklaus
When we think of some of the greatest golfers with the highest confidence levels, Jack Nicklaus is at the top of the list. But what is confidence? How does a golfer develop confidence? Does good golf give you confidence, or does having confidence lead to good golf? (Golf’s version of the chicken or the egg)
Let’s look at the word “confidence”. The word has its roots in Latin. Fidere – means “to trust”. Con- means ‘swindle’. When we put the two parts of the word together, confidence means we have to literally swindle our conscious mind to trust in our abilities to play the game and/or specific shots.
Two Types of Confidence
There are two kinds of confidence, personal confidence and performance confidence. Personal confidence is how we think of ourselves and how we perceive others think about us. Performance confidence is how we think and carry ourselves as golfers and execute shots. Both types of confidence are needed to play the game and enhance your enjoyment.
Personal confidence and performance confidence can be measured by a golfer’s learned skills and incorporates a strong belief in one’s ability to play the game. Confidence directly contributes to the quality and enjoyment of your play. Having confidence allows you to get the most out of your game no matter what your handicap is. It allows you to play without inhibitions and free of self-conscious thoughts of what others will think of you.
Golfers who exude confidence, no matter what their handicap is, have common traits that are observable. They play to their strengths and focus on only those things that are actually under their control. Golf is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to what happens to you. You are in control of the 90%! When self-doubt tries to creep in, players with confidence refuse to let it keep them from committing to the shot. They focus on the processes of the next shot and let go of the outcomes and they let go of bad shots and move quickly into the present moment. They find every opportunity to acknowledge their own great and good enough shots and let go of bad shots.
To improve personal confidence and performance confidence, you can take a personal inventory of different areas of your game. Use the scale below to measure your present skill level.
If you could improve the skill level of anything you marked a 5 or below, what would that do to your confidence on the course? Sometimes lack of confidence in an area is simply a lack of competence. If you have no idea how to hit a certain shot, how could you possibly stand over the ball with confidence and commitment?
One technique I coach my players to implement during practice and tournaments is “Fake it ‘Til You Make It”. I ask the team members to think of the tour player they most admire and walk, talk to, and imitate that player. Pretend to have the attitude of confidence that their favorite player displays to the world. If you fully commit to trying this technique, for even one entire hole, you will feel different, your confidence will begin to emulate that of the tour player you admire. You will begin to let go of outcomes, you will let go of “what will they think of me” and that’s where the magic begins to happen.
I’d love to help you improve your confidence. Contact me to learn more.