Golf IQ

In psychology, intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a term commonly used to describe an individual’s intelligence level, in a given area. Thanks to the work of Howard Garner, in his best selling book Multiple Intelligences, intelligence is no longer thought to be unidimensional and can be measured across many domains including social, emotional, interpersonal, intrapersonal and even music. So what about golf? Is there such a thing as Golf IQ? 
Based on my observations of players over the years, I have no doubt that the better players think at a higher level. They have a greater knowledge base and a deeper reservoir of experience to pull from and can therefore make more informed decisions about things like course management, the impact of weather on the flight of a golf ball, overall strategy, how to read a lie, and course conditions. Golf IQ also includes knowledge about the self and things like understanding how you react to specific situations, your ability to control your emotions, regulate stress levels, knowing your limitations, your ability to deliberately focus your attention and your ability to stay in the present moment. 
Tiger Woods was once asked what his thoughts were on how his mindset was different from other players on the PGA tour. Tiger said, “There are those who play checkers and those who play chess. Then, there are those who play elite chess. You might hit the ball farther than me, you might be a better ball striker, but I can promise you one thing, you will never out think me on a golf course”. What I love about this quote is Tiger’s emphasis on the mind and it’s how one thinks that sets them apart at the highest levels of performance. It’s not distance, power, or ball striking ability, but one’s ability to both manage themselves and the golf course, their golfing IQ, that allows a player to perform at their best. 
Dr. Josh Brant
Clinical Psychologist

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