Is Your Cart Before Your Horse?

Sometimes during a workshop for golfers, I’ll ask the participants to take a moment to imagine a golf hole they enjoy playing (despite my tongue in check mocking of mental imagery I do employ it from time to time). Whenever this prompt leaves my mouth I realize there’s a bit of a cart and horse relationship that may have occurred in the participants’ minds. What made the hole each chose so enjoyable?

  • Did the player choose a hole that they score well on? Being able to score well on a regular basis led to the fond memories.
  • Did the player choose a hole that is a spectacular layout? Perhaps a nice ocean view or a panoramic look at cascading mountains. Something that stirred up good thoughts regardless of score.
  • Did the hole choice arise from great course design? A twist, a turn, a hazard or two, and fair but challenging green. A hole that challenged and interested the golfer and ultimately led to some good scoring now and again.

I can’t really fault any reason for enjoying a particular hole. If one is not finding enjoyment for one reason or the other, the clubs should be left collecting dust in the garage. This being said, the second and third reason are more appealing than the first. They reflect some sort of genuine love and appreciation for the experience.

Beyond this though, the third reason really resonates to me from a high performance golf perspective. A challenging and focusing task led to enthusiasm. The golf hole, the experience, the few swings, good attitude, and simple competition precedes the score. When this equation is out of order, consistent high performance tends to be elusive.

When you think about your sport, be careful, don’t put the cart before the horse.

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