There's a huge variety of golfers that might read this. I know that it could be anyone from a +8 handicap PGA Tour player (if you are hit me up 😉) to a 35 handicap player that plays once a year. Yet we all have one thing in common: from where we tend to get our confidence.
We tend to look to external sources to give us confidence.
This means that we look to things that are anywhere else but between our own two ears. Check yourself against this list - do you get confidence from any of these?
- Your most recent score for a round
- Your last few scores
- Your most recent finish in a tournament
- Your handicap
- How you currently compare to your regular group of golfers
- How your swing looks or feels
If you agree with any of these, that means you get your confidence from external sources.
Which is just fine! You're allowed to be motivated by whatever you want. Some people work jobs strictly for the money, and some people work a job because of the pleasure they get from it. Neither are wrong.
When you want to find your confidence in external sources, you can't complain when your confidence fluctuates as often as those external sources fluctuate. In the job example, if someone is working a job strictly for the money, and they get a pay raise, they'll be much happier. But if they get a pay decrease they'll be much more miserable. However, with the person working the job for the pleasure of it and money being a bonus, will be just as happy no matter the paycheck. Because they get to work the same job that they love.
In golf, if you get your confidence from your last few scores, which is an extremely common source from which to get confidence, then you'll be confident when your scores have been good lately. But if you get on a bad stretch of golf, or even a very normal variation of a few higher scores, then you'll lose your confidence. Because you need to be playing good to feel confident.
But if you get your confidence from internal sources, then you can be immune to the fluctuations of your circumstances.
So what does it look like to get your confidence from internal sources? Here's a list of a few:
- Your work ethic
- Your attitude/how you carry yourself
- Your belief in your process of improvement
- Your trust in your own ability
- The process of improving your strengths and weaknesses
When any of these are your true source of confidence, you are solid no matter what's going on around you. You could shoot 3 bad rounds in a row, but you know how hard you've been working and will continue to work, so you can be confident despite the bad rounds. Or you could show up to the course and your swing feels awful, but your confidence stays solid because you know that a golf swing doesn't drastically change overnight. You can trust in your ability and remain confident that you can still play well.
Having steady confidence that can ride the storm is vital in golf. Because we all know how often those storms happen. In my experience finding your confidence from within yourself is the best and the only lasting way to do it.