How Much Does Your Ego Play A Part In Your Game Of Golf?

Andy’s Prologue:

“As one who is prone to losing confidence whilst playing golf, I have been fortune enough to have benefited from Gail Smirthwaite’s expertise. Gail is a trainer for the PGA CPD programme and tours UK golf cubs conducting talks on ‘how to play golf with confidence’ to all standards of golfers.

Listen to Gail Smirthwaite on the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2

Not only that, she coaches many individual tour golfers including Alison Nicholas who is our ex-US Open Golf Champion and who has just been announced at the 2009 Solheim Cup UK and European Captain. You can listen to her fun and entertaining appearance on the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2 here in the UK, simply click on the play button above. I can’t stop thinking about yellow canoes – you will have to listen to find out why!

Gail offers top notch advice and tips, so much so ‘Glen Muir’ one of the leading prestigious golf clothes companies in the UK (these are the guys that did the clothing for the Ryder Cup) sponsor her.

So over to Gail for some solid help on not letting our egos get in the way of a great round of golf!

Gail’s Advice:

In this post I am going to talk about the role of our egos in the way we make judgments, formulate opinions and how our ego can affect our behaviour.

Social environment plays such a big role when it comes to how we handle our egos. A golfer’s interpretation of what is going on around them can potentially impact greatly on their golf play if they allow it to.

Here’s how it works! If you allow your ‘EGO’ to get involved when you play golf your level of competence becomes based on what others are saying and doing. For instance; outdoing your fellow players, always looking at how others are doing with their scores and worrying about how you look will be accompanied by the following self-talk …’Am I good enough?’, ‘How I can I avoid looking bad?’, ‘How is everyone else doing?’

If you are someone whose competence is ‘self-referenced’ and by that I mean you base your success on personal performance, mastering the skills and on your own level of effort; accompanied by self-talk such as; ‘How can I get better?’, ‘How do I do this?’ and so on… then you will be able to more readily focus on what really matters THE TASK AT HAND!

Annika Sorenstem knows a thing or two about golf and she is quoted as saying that …”Success is measured one shot at a time”.

The problem with someone who relies too much on their egos whilst playing is; should their confidence dip, which is often just around the corner in any game of golf, the ability to find the strength from within to focus will become a huge mountain to climb. You need to work on having the ability to concentrate on only that which is important – YOU and the shot you are about to play.

It may seem a contradiction in terms that in order for you not to play in your ‘ego’ you need to focus on yourself. Being self-motivated is often the quality we believe makes people ‘egotistical’. But as I said earlier the ‘ego’ is concerned with ‘appearing’ to be in control, a winner, the best etc. to others. This not only puts extra pressure on your performance, but also whilst worrying about what you believe other people maybe thinking of you may cause you to end up in an extremely vulnerable position – on and off the golf course!

Playing golf too much in your ‘ego’ lays you wide open to needing a ‘quick fix’ when your confidence dips. By looking for someone or something outside your control to help feed your confidence is a recipe for disaster. You need to be able to find that strength within so that you can control the only part of the process you are able to … how you see yourself and how you can stay focused and in the moment.

The reason I talk so often about the importance of your self-talk remaining positive is so that you can become your own ‘Confidence Caddie’™. If you do not fear losing then you will in effect be lifting a cloud from over you the whole time you play.

When Tiger Woods was asked a question what he thought the major attribute he and Roger Federer have in common he replied; ‘We don’t fear losing’.

The significance of this statement is that there is a different mentality when you look at mistakes as lessons and not as a personal attack on your self-worth.

How you see yourself is so important because if you see yourself as a really competent golfer then that is who you will be. If you see yourself as not very good at golf then that is how you will play.

Spending time on creating a good self-esteem will be helped by not worrying about what others may or may not be thinking. Remember, where does your control lie – with what you think about yourself or what others think?

For more advice and a 10 page free report on overcoming first tee nerves, controlling your emotions on the course and how to concentrate when you need to most please head over to my site at

Many thanks for reading.

Gail Smirthwaite

2 Responses to “How Much Does Your Ego Play A Part In Your Game Of Golf?”

  1. […] on from Gail Smirthwaite’s highly interesting post on How Much Does Your Ego Play A Part In Your Game Of Golf?, I would like to present Gail’s thoughts on playing in the […]

  2. Mike O'Donnell says:

    Andy, Any chance we can get the dialogue in written form so us Yanks can understand all of what they’re saying? 🙂

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