Are You Influenced By Your Playing Partners?

In my earlier years of playing golf, I would often be influenced by my playing partners. If they exhibited a certain excellence, I would change my game to try and match their efforts. Unfortunately, this approach to improving my golf game never worked and I usually ended with a much higher score than expected. I think it is natural for players to want to feed off of each other, but without the required skill or training, changing my swing mid-round never worked. As I matured as a golfer, I learned to play my game and not focus at all on what other players were doing. I became mentally stronger with a propensity to look inward for success.

I am confident that every player has tried to ape another player during a round of golf. It only makes sense to try to match others successes in the hopes that it transfers to our game. Unfortunately, the successes we are looking for rarely happen. We end up with poor execution and as a result a higher golf score. So, why do try to emulate other players during a round of golf; well, I believe it boils down to three distinct things.

First, confidence. For some reason our confidence in our ability to make shots wanes. We start to think that the shots we are making are not good enough to compete. So, we change our game in the hopes that we get to greener pastures. Of course, this is never the case. The more poor shots we make, the less confidence we have. Hence looking for a life preserver and we turn to our playing partners. Unfortunately, this approach is worse and higher golf scores ensue.

Second, mental breakdown. Mentally we start to imagine that our game is way worse than it actually is at that moment. Then we start to panic and possibly FEAR (false evidence appearing real) sets in. We scramble mentally for a quick fix and our playing partners successes are there for the taking. At least that is what we think and 99% of the time, we are wrong. Staying mentally strong about our game will produce our best score. We may not win a match, but at least we are competing at our intended level.

Last, desire for a quick fix. As a golfer, watching another player successfully navigate shots over and over unleashes the green eyed monster. We immediately covet that skill and decide to take it immediately. Of course without practicing or truly understanding the components of the shot, success us highly unlikely. I do not believe there are any quick fixes in golf. Yes, we can make minor adjustments to an aspect of our swing, but even those need to be practiced to ingrain success. In the past, I thought a quick fix was the way to improve my game, boy was I mistaken.

So where does all of this lead us you might ask. Well, we must accept our current level of play and focus on executing that with the best of our ability. There are always better golfers and trying to adopt one of their skills without practice is folly. Our golf journey is our own and as such we need to develop our own skills. Of course it is nice to get ideas on where to improve from better golfers and this type of influence is always welcome. However, after developing an idea on where we want to improve, we need to go practice and adopt this new skill to our own game. This change my friends is not accomplished during a round of golf.

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


7 thoughts on “Are You Influenced By Your Playing Partners?

  1. I have learned to play within myself and for the most part don’t get influenced much by my playing partners. I enjoy playing with better players and most of the friends I play with are competent golfers and a joy to play with.

    The one exception that does affect my game sometimes is being paired with a slow player. I have little patience for slow play and it can suck the enjoyment out of a round.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, I don’t change my approach when paired with a better player but I do find it helps me to concentrate a bit better. I find myself sometimes changing when paired with players who are very poor or exhibit bad etiquette. That never ends well.



    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do find myself adjusting to others games at times. But not in the same way I used to. Now, I’ll adjust to a longer hitter or a better golfer by getting deeper into my game. I’ll quite myself. Not spend as much time talking and put the effort into thinking about the next shot more.

    Beating a better golfer isn’t easy. Beating a longer hitter can be. If you stick to your game.

    Liked by 1 person

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