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Improve your game from your inbox – Don’t focus on outcome goals

Improve your game from your inbox – Don’t focus on outcome goals

Coen Welsh on the Psychology of Golf

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson for winning the 2018 WCG Mexico championship. CNN reports that Phil has played in 101 tournaments over the last 5 years and didn’t win a single one. He has been knocking on the door at the start of this season with a tied 5th place at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and a T2 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, not knowing at that point that the win was just around the corner. Congratulations to Phil for becoming the oldest WCG winner at 47 years old.

Tip of the week – Don’t focus on outcome goals

It must have been incredibly hard for 5-time major winner Mickelson to go through 5 years without winning. However professional golf is a tough sport.

Jack Nicklaus said: “Professional golf is the only sport where, if you win 20% of the time, you’re the best.” This quote proves how hard it is to win in golf.

If Mickelson had measured his success on the course in terms of wins over the last five years he may have given up by now. However, when analysing his comments after the win we can see that he is not focussing on outcome goals.

For example, Mickelson said “I think that my game’s getting better each week.” Outcome goals are not in our control. Ultimately whether you win or lose, its not up to you. You can play your best and be beaten by someone else who is in sublime form that day.

So what should you do? The answer is simple, you should focus on process goals. Process goals focus your energy on the process you follow while playing. In other words, you should focus on areas you can control such as a pre-shot routine or your swing thought for the round.

Prior to a round of golf or a practice session you should identify one or two processes to keep in mind during the round and focus on those only. These processes could be the two elements mentioned above or it could be something related to your rhythm or keeping your head down. By focussing on the process, you allow the outcome to take care of itself.

Quote of the week

“I said earlier that if I couldn’t win, I want Phil to win.” – Jon Rahm

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About The Author

Coen Welsh

Coen Welsh, a qualified industrial psychologist, is an expert on the Antecedents and underlying Psychological Conditions predicting Employee Engagement.He has worked in diverse teams in the UK, Egypt and Namibia. Coen regularly gets invited to speak at HR and other conferences. He is a regular contributor to NBC National Radio as well as Tupopyeni and Off-the-Hook on NBC Television. He is a founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of Namibia. You can visit him at or send a comment to [email protected]