Pride or Ego – Does it Affect Your Golf Game

Yesterday, I asked the question if pride or ego was helping or hurting your golf game. It was a simple question that has a tremendous impact on your game. Many do not realize how it slowly creeps into your mental focus and your swing mechanics, but it does.

As I look back at my previous posts, I think I may have fallen into a trap. My earlier thoughts were that pride or ego was a bad thing and it needed to be controlled. Now, I am not so sure. I am wondering if there is a place for pride or ego in my game.

I generally looked at ego as some that hurts my golf game. These were my previous thoughts:

Ego is the furnace that heats the dreaded fear! It is the great inhibitor that stops golfers from achieving their goals and releasing the great golfer locked inside their body. Many would argue that ego does not play any part in their game. They would state categorically that they are in total control of all aspects of their game and could improve all aspects if they desired.

I still stand by my initial thoughts, but now, I think I should modify my views on the value of having a strong ego in golf. Ego, if applied properly, might open some doors to the weaker aspects of my game. If that is possible, then it is worth examining.

Ego can empower your confidence; it can offer mental toughness where it was void before; and it can be a game changer is invoked at the right time. It is required excel in sports or so they say. I actually agree with this premise and some research suggests the same.

You cannot be a competitor, and a winner, without ego. The desire to be a winner at all costs is what drives champions. To a champion, losing is worse than anything else. Losing is too damaging to the ego.

I have played competitive sports for over 40 years. I have found that pride or ego have their uses when facing down your enemy. I think back to Tiger Woods (actually any world number 1) in his hay day; the pride he took in his game by practicing more than anyone helped intimidate the entire field  the moment he stepped up to the first tee. Therefore, we must conclude that pride or ego has a place in golf.

I think about my game through the years. As I improved my skill so did my pride in my game. Looking back, it was an interesting metamorphoses. The improvement in my game and my pride were tied together. The stronger my pride, the better my game became. However, my improvement was not limited to executing a stronger golf swing. It worked its way in and influenced my course management as well.

Once my course management was affected, good things started to happen. I started to make better decisions and scores started to drop. I notice a distinct improvement in my shot making and shot selection. I found that I lucky bounces and that good fortune was more common place. As a result, my pride or ego continued to grow.

Unfortunately, this is where pride may become a liability. This is where a divergence occurs. This is where too much pride might be my downfall. Others think so as well:

Pride or ego is very important to great golf. Every player has these immeasurable traits and how they affect their game differs. Too much and a player takes unneeded risks; Too little and a player is too cautious. There is a happy medium and it is different for each player.

My pride and ego waxes and wanes throughout the year. When my ego is in-sync with my golf game, I play every well and the game seems easy. Too much or too little pride and I struggle with my game. My real challenge going forward is to determine the right level of pride needed each time I play to continually improve my game!

Does pride or ego affect your game!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

12 thoughts on “Pride or Ego – Does it Affect Your Golf Game

  1. Pingback: Are You Proud of Your Golf Game? | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Pingback: The Height of Hubris | The Grateful Golfer

  3. My biggest problem used to be when I played with people who could hit the ball farther than I could. Most of my friends were larger and should be able to hit farther, but I was always long hitter in the group. It wasn’t so much that I was a better golfer at the time, just that the issues I had didn’t effect my distance as much as the issues they had. But anytime I played with new people, if they were longer, my game suffered. I took a hit to my pride, and my ego kicked in and I found myself losing strokes to bad shots because I would unconsciously try to power it out there and blow it.

    Once I realized what the cause of my bad play was, it was a bit harder to manage than I imagined it would be. But once I figured it out my pride helped me to work through it and now I have a stronger mental game than before. And once you solve your ego problem in one area, it is easier to see and take care of others it might be effecting.

    I credit my first under 80 scores to learning that lesson. Once I stopped letting my ego rule, I started playing smarter golf. Basically my game. Which is what I had thought I was doing but really wasn’t. Now on a 340 yard par 4 when everyone else is pulling drivers even that they can’t reach, I grab a 4 iron. That gives me a 9 iron in from the center of the fairway while the guys are still out searching the rough for their balls.

    Now if I can only learn to have more patience, I might even get that par game I’ve been trying so hard for. I’ll be trying out some of your suggestions for that for the first time when I play tomorrow.


    • Kevin

      I think you have solved the challenges of pride. It is interesting that your scores dropped shortly after you checked your ego. Congrats! Good luck working on patience. It will take some time, but if you use the same process to conquer your ego, then you are well on your way!



  4. Jim,

    Interesting thoughts here. I think you’re right that it’s a fine balance with pride and ego that can either hurt or help your game depending how you manage them. Now that you mention it I think it would be important to monitor what is dominating your decisions on the course during a round — your brain or your ego. If I’m letting my ego make decisions I am fairly certain I’m not playing as well as I could.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Between pride and poor estimates on how far I actually hit my clubs, I am sure I cost myself a handful of shots each round. I tried pulling an extra club the last few rounds, and it helped. I will probably try to create a hardline resolution for next year to pull an extra club, even if that sounds terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jim, you marvel at the way an ego-based player like Phil Mickelson has gained control over his go for broke mentality as his career evolved. He leverages pride to his benefit but that wasn’t always the case. I am not an ego-based player and am more of a strategic tactician so pride doesn’t affect my performance much. Thanks for the great thought provoking post!


    Liked by 1 person

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