My Inner Game of Golf Experience

June 12th, 2018

I love to golf. I enjoy being outside in warm weather and spending 3-4 hours with my son or friends. I also think there are few things as fulfilling as hitting a solid shot.

Last month, I had the good fortune and pleasure of playing two major championship golf courses with long-time friends. In anticipation of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I set out to get my golf game in top shape. This included spending time at indoor golf simulators in the late winter and early spring. It also involved spending more time at the driving range and putting green.

In addition, as a form of preparation, I turned to one of my favorite books on performance psychology: The Inner Game of Golf by W. Timothy Gallwey.

Gallwey’s book encourages golfers to move away from identifying performance (shooting a low score) as the ONLY goal. There are other factors, Gallwey says, to consider in order to improve your mental approach to the game.

Gallwey educates golfers to notice three aspects of their experience: performance, enjoyment, and learning. This is what he calls the PEL triangle. He describes how these three factors are interrelated. For example, he suggests that focusing on the pleasure you feel while golfing allows for “relaxed concentration.” Relaxed concentration, he says, is critical to performance. Similarly, focusing on your learning, he says, is bound to have an impact on your performance.

Returning briefly to my golf experience…. As I played, I had Gallwey’s words in mind. I paid attention to the beauty of the course, the ideal weather conditions, and the joy that comes with spending time laughing and talking with dear friends. Even though my performance was up and down, keeping a balanced approach (namely focusing on the PEL triangle) made for an amazing experience (in the moment and as I think about it weeks later).


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One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.


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