Manage Your Performance Expectations on the Golf Course
It's not unusual for an amateur to hit the green with a shot but react with disgust. The same thing happens when a drive is missed slightly off the face, but harmlessly sails down the fairway. The explanation is simple—unrealistic expectations.
Much frustration caused by unrealistic expectations comes from watching the PGA Tour on television. People do not understand that when they watch weekend tournament telecasts, they are seeing the 70 top players in the world at their best. Half of the field goes home Friday night. I can assure you that they hit some poor shots that were not shown on television.
During the weekend, the TV producers behind the scenes focus on the top eight players who are in fine form and leading the tournament. These players are the best in the world, and to be in their current position on the leaderboard, their swings are clicking and their putts are dropping. All of a sudden, the telecast cuts to a player off the leaderboard with a 50-foot putt. Before he even addresses the ball, you know it's going in. Why else would they be showing a player seven shots off the lead? This continues for three hours, and the telecast becomes a highlight reel of great shots.
This does not represent real golf for most players. It is easy to assume that every shot you see on TV is going to be great. This has the effect of raising our expectations for our own game. We then expect to hit every shot down the fairway, onto the green and into the cup. Watching the pros gives us a warped view of true golf the way it is played in the provinces.
The reality is that golf is a game of misses. Ben Hogan said that he would only hit four perfect shots per round. To put it another way, the current 100th-ranked Tour pro hits six out of 10 fairways and a similar percentage of greens in regulation. He makes putts from 10 to 15 feet approximately three out of 10 times.
If you are not more realistic with your expectations, it will crush your confidence on the course and you will play worse. Instead, look at some key statistics after the round, such as fairways and greens hit. Do it after the round, because otherwise it will affect your demeanor on the course. Remember to work on your weaknesses on the range and not mid-round. That way, you can build and gain confidence rather than psyching yourself out with unrealistic expectations.
Instead of getting angry, develop your skills through drills and workouts from the pros on STACK's Golf page.