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Shifting Perspective: Gratitude for Success

Updated: Apr 5

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that can greatly enhance your performance in golf and in life. Research has shown that being grateful leads to better physical and mental health, improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and lower rates of depression.

In this article, I want to emphasise the importance of prioritising enjoyment over achievement to improve performances. I believe this concept was the single biggest factor when I jumped from a 22 handicap to a 13 handicap in a single season, and therefore it is applicable to golfers of all abilities. Those who focus solely on achieving success in the game often end up feeling frustrated and unhappy. On the other hand, golfers who prioritise enjoyment while striving for excellence are the ones who succeed and find lasting fulfillment in the sport.

Why is practicing gratitude so beneficial for golfers?

Firstly, and arguably, it's impossible to experience two emotions simultaneously. By cultivating feelings of gratitude, you can shift away from negative emotions that hinder your performance. That tension you feel over a short putt when the "what ifs" start creeping in. The burning frustration you experience when a fantastically executed shot hits a divot and shoots off into the rough. Gratitude can help to reduce those negative emotions. Grateful golfers appreciate what they have, including the opportunity to play a sport they love and the benefits that come with it, such as fitness, relationships, and personal growth.

Grateful golfers also value their competitors, recognising that they play a crucial role in pushing them to improve. They embrace the challenges and struggles that come with the game, knowing that these experiences contribute to their growth. Additionally, they show appreciation for everyone around them and enjoy the pressure that comes with competitive play.

Winning is not the sole focus for grateful golfers; they find joy in the process, competition, and personal development. They work hard with intention but also take time to appreciate all aspects of their lives outside of golf. To become a grateful golfer, remember to acknowledge the privilege of playing a game like golf, shift your mindset to one of gratitude, and cultivate a daily practice of reflecting on things you are thankful for.

A few practical tips to try from today:

  • Go into your next round with something you're really grateful for outside of golf. It could be your health, maybe you've just overcome an injury. Maybe it's your children or grandchildren. Choose something you can focus on that will give you perspective when you hit that bad shot and feel frustration rising. Write it down on your score card as a mental nudge.

  • Practice changing your perspective on 'failures' to view them more as 'learning opportunities'. What can you learn and how are you going to improve? This can be a big mindset shift for a lot of us and it's something I work on with my clients - in golf and in life.

  • Next time you feel angry, frustrated, sad ask yourself this question out loud; "What am I grateful for?" Commit to answering it in that moment and notice how you feel.

In conclusion, being grateful for the opportunity to play golf can enhance your performance and overall enjoyment of the sport. Golf is not something you have to do, but something you get to do – so embrace it with gratitude and see how it transforms your experience on the course.

If you're interested in transforming your mental game (in golf or in life) book your call today!

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