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How to Stop People-Pleasing on the Golf Course and Play Your Best Golf

Updated: May 14


People-pleasing tendencies can easily arise on the golf course due to it's solitary nature. The desire to impress, to ensure playing partners have a good time, meet expectations, or avoid judgment can infiltrate our minds, inhibiting our own performance and enjoyment on the course. But by raising our awareness, setting boundaries, and prioritising self-compassion, we can break free from the shackles of people-pleasing and rediscover the joy of playing golf on our own terms. The consequence usually being that our performance improves.


Understanding People-Pleasing on the Golf Course:

People-pleasing can manifest in various ways, pressure to play the way that others' expect you should play, sacrificing your own enjoyment to avoid disappointing playing partners, finding a way to play your performance down if you’re having a good round but your playing partner isn’t. These behaviours often stem from a fear of judgment, a desire for approval, or a reluctance to assert ourselves in social situations.


Recognising the Signs:

To overcome people-pleasing tendencies on the golf course, it's crucial to first recognise the signs and patterns that may be holding you back.


Ask yourself:

  • Do I alter my game or behaviour to appease playing partners?

  • Am I overly concerned with how others perceive my actions or performance?

  • Do I feel anxious or self-conscious about making mistakes or taking too long on the course?

  • Do I prioritise others' enjoyment over my own?


If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, you may be struggling with people-pleasing tendencies.


Strategies for Overcoming People-Pleasing:


Realise Your Responsibilities:

It is not your responsibility to ensure your playing partners have a good time, nor are you ever really in control of that. If you go above and beyond to put someone else's needs over your own, then you are probably sacrificing your own performance and enjoyment. Try to prioritise your self and your game, and don't assume that your playing partners want your attention... because they might actually want the complete opposite!


Embrace Authenticity:

Embrace your unique style of play and trust in your abilities on the course. Remember that golf is a personal journey, and there is no one "right" way to play the game. Focus on playing in a way that brings you happiness. Remember, success looks and feels different to all of us.


Set Boundaries:

Set clear boundaries around your game and assert them kindly and confidently with playing partners. Whether it's declining unsolicited advice, taking time to focus before each shot, or simply enjoying a quiet round, prioritise your own needs and preferences on the course. The chances are that your playing partner will appreciate your decisiveness and clarity because they will want you to enjoy your time on the course as much as they do, and if they don't then maybe consider your choice of playing partners.


Give yourself a break:

Be kind and understanding with yourself, especially when facing challenges or setbacks on the course. Acknowledge that mistakes are a natural part of the game and offer yourself the same empathy and encouragement that you would offer to a friend. It always amazes me that the most encouraging playing partners are often their worst critics.


Shift Your Focus:

Instead of seeking external validation or approval from others, shift your focus inward and concentrate on your own performance and progress. How good does it feel when you hit a great shot, regardless of whether anyone saw it?! Celebrate your successes with yourself to boost self-confidence in the long term.


By realising your responsibilities, embracing authenticity, setting boundaries, and prioritising self-compassion on the golf course, you can break free from the grip of people-pleasing. Working on your people-pleasing on the course is not only a route to better performances - it's a great way to start to building your awareness and strategies to manage people pleasing off the course.


If people pleasing is holding you back, on or off the course, then take a step towards to freeing yourself with a 1-1 coaching session. Get in touch for a free discovery call or book a session online. Book before 31st May and receive 20% discount using the code: BETTERGOLF24

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Golf player | Golf Coaching & Lessons | Coaching Fore Success | Sheffield, UK
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