When was the last time you thought about grit and motivation as they relate to the game of golf?
At The Golf Performance Center, our golf instructors, trainers, golfers and student-athletes are guided by a core set of principles, or as we call them, the 5 Elements of Success: desire, physical, coaching, mental and equipment. We believe these five elements must be in harmony for players to achieve what they want and be successful in the game of golf.
Some of these elements are self-explanatory. It just makes sense that you need to have proper physical fitness, the right coaching, a strong golf mental game and quality equipment to play golf. What do we mean by desire?
To start, the desire to improve means more than just a passing interest in golf. When we say desire, we’re really talking about two important factors: motivation and grit. One must be motivated by more than a general interest; motivation comes from deep within.
Otherwise, it may be too easy to quit when the going gets tough. And when those obstacles arrive, your motivation will make way for the grit required to face challenges head on and persevere.
There’s also room in the conversation about the desire to explore the place of natural talent as it relates to cultivating skills. While desire and motivation may come as a result of natural talent, natural talent is only part of the story when it comes to the discipline and grit it takes to hone your skills.
So how can you focus on your desire, motivation and grit as you work to improve your golf skill? Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Find the Right Golf Motivation
There are all kinds of reasons or golf motivations a person may have to improve their skills. You could be dreaming about winning on the PGA or LPGA Tour someday. Maybe you played in high school or college and you’re looking to get back into the sport. Perhaps you’re training to play with a group of friends or your spouse. Or maybe you are looking for a new sport that gives you a chance to get in shape and spend time outdoors.
We realize that not everyone is motivated by the same thing; however, there is a common feeling of motivation for everyone. And the strength of your motivation and desire to learn and grow will have a major impact on the way in which you approach and stick with your golf training. With a growth mindset, you put yourself on the path to success.
Typically when you’re motivated to grow and learn something new, you’re putting yourself in a situation that is unfamiliar to you or one that might be difficult. This can be great for motivation, because sometimes the better the challenge, the more motivated you are to achieve success.
On the other hand, new or unfamiliar situations can be daunting to some, and it can be frustrating when you’re trying to learn a new skill that doesn’t immediately come naturally to you. This is when you might lose sight of your original motivation.
Maybe the fundamentals aren’t coming to you as naturally as you thought or you’re getting back into the game and frustrated that you aren’t playing as well as they used to. If the 5 Elements of Success are in perfect harmony, the desire to improve needs to stay resolute. Therefore, when motivation only gets you so far, you need grit in golf to keep at it.
2. Face Challenges with Grit in Golf
Grit and motivation examples often go hand in hand because it’s rare to see one without the other. While motivation in golf will get you to sign up with a golf coach in the first place and get you to keep showing up, grit is necessary to stick with it long enough to actually improve your skills instead of giving up when something seems more challenging than you expected.
Something tricky about grit and resilience is that it’s easy to say you’ll see something through before an obstacle has presented itself, but it’s much more challenging to actually stay the course in the heat of the moment. When you set long-term goals, it’s a given that you might have some challenges, or even failures, and you can be prepared.
How can you develop grit to ensure you’re going to stick it out when you face obstacles? Leading researchers, such as Angela Duckworth of the University of Pennsylvania, have studied the concept of grit and found that it comes more naturally in people who have had to face more challenges in their lives. For example, she found that kids who have grown up with more adversity in their lives are more resilient and are three times more likely to stick with a task that is more difficult than someone with fewer challenges in life.
So how do you cultivate grit? By sticking with things that are difficult, no matter how hard it may be. It may seem silly to say the key to cultivating grit is to have grit, but working through adversity moment by moment will train your body and mind to keep going when the going gets tough.
It can be helpful in the face of new challenges to remember another time you overcame an obstacle. Reminding yourself that you’re capable of overcoming hardship because you’ve faced difficult situations before can actually motivate you.
So when you keep missing your line on a 6 foot putt or can’t quite hit that high draw, remember what initially motivated you to improve your game and recall another time you persevered. You will find yourself getting through with grit.
3. Motivation and Grit on the Golf Course
What do grit and motivation have to do with golf? More than you might think. Golf is a challenging sport and has many ups and downs to overcome.
You know the drill – with good shots or bad shots, emotions can run the gamut in a matter of seconds. It doesn’t take long for a lot of little things to grow into larger problems that cloud your thinking or try to mess with your motivation.
It is critical to your success to understand your motivation to play golf competitively. If your motivation is low and you are not improving the way you would like to as it relates to tournament scores, it may be time to reflect on why you’re there. If you can answer the question why, then your golf motivation is solid and you are more likely to stick to a plan or long-term goal that allows you to measure and see improvements.
If you want to ensure your desire is a strong element contributing to your success, the first step is fostering a better understanding about what motivates you; then, cultivate grit so you know you’ll be ready for any challenges you might face.
Grit in golf is not always easy to harness, as you’ll even see the pros get upset on the golf course. But the most important thing is to not let the small stuff get you down. Keep your grit and motivation examples in mind when faced with challenges, whether that’s an experience you yourself have gotten through or lessons from others.
Anyone can be motivated when it is easy. The real question is, do you have what it takes to be motivated when the challenge is tough or when you are struggling to learn something new? At The Golf Performance Center we invite you to come with your motivations, whatever they may be, and let us help you develop grit, achievable long-term goals and a growth mindset.