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Confidence or Success - Which Comes First In Your Golf Game

The game of golf is filled with emotional highs and lows. Indeed each round consists of good runs and disappointing runs when you consider how well you are hitting the ball. When you hit a good shot it can carry you on an emotional and confidence high for a few holes. Alternatively, when you hit a bad shot, all your confidence and composure can be lost. The question remains though, which comes first when you play a round of golf? Hitting a good shot (success)? Or the confidence to hit a good shot?

If you ask any golfer, they will undoubtedly tell you there are few feelings that are as good as the feeling you get when you hit a good golf shot. When you step up to the ball, go through your routine, select a target, and then hit the ball precisely where you intend, it feels almost like magic, like you somehow have control over physics and nature for a moment. The reward, besides having the ball go where you want, is an emotional and confidence boost. The confidence gained from hitting a well-executed shot lays the foundation for continued success, and more well-hit shots throughout the rest of the round.

At the same time all your confidence can be lost by hitting one poor shot. All of a sudden you are unsure of your abilities. Did you swing differently? Should you change your stance? Is your grip too tight? Is the ball at the correct location in your stance? Doubts start to arise and all of a sudden there is a little bit of panic and concern when you get ready to take your next shot.

The question about confidence and success in golf is a lot like the “chicken and the egg question”, figuring out which comes first is really just a philosophical exercise. You may step up to the first tee box feeling like the most confident person in the world, but if you hit a poor shot, you are now pressured to perform on the following shot. And then again, you may hit a couple bad shots in a row and then out of nowhere hit a good shot, and all of a sudden you have a renewed sense of confidence.

I think the key is to always be confident when you approach your shots. This can be difficult when you are playing poorly but I’d be willing to bet you will not get that lucky shot if you don’t at least have even a little bit of confidence. Your golf game will not improve unless you believe it will improve. If you always play confidently, and approach each shot thinking that you are able to place the ball where you want, those “lucky” shots will no longer be lucky, they will be expected.

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