Golf is 83% Mental: A Descriptive Study of Female Golfers Participating in an LPGA Qualifier
Aimee Kimball, UPMC Sports Medicine, USA
Theme: Elite performance
Poster Number: 25
Program ID: POS-1
Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
It has been found that better amateur golfers are more consistent in their use of mental training techniques, specifically their commitment to the sport, ability to control distractions, and the automaticity of their swing (Hayslip, Petrie, MacIntire, & Jones, 2010). The Hayslip et al. study notes that most existing research comparing psychological differences confirms that lower scoring (better) golfers are more “mentally tough” than higher scoring golfers. The present study sought to ascertain what female golfers competing in a Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) US Open qualifier do to mentally prepare. This presentation focuses on descriptive data revolving around the mental habits of 29 female golfers ranging from 16-52 years old and averaging a 1.96 handicap. Players completed a brief survey containing both open-ended and rating-scale questions pertaining to their mindset during typical competitive rounds. For example, when asked, “What percentage of golf do you think is mental?” the average response was 83% (range 60-100%). Interestingly, 62% of the golfers completing the questionnaire had worked with a sport psychology consultant. When asked to rate themselves on the statement “I consider myself to be mentally tough when I compete” the average rating was a 3.7 (1=never, 3=sometimes, 5= always). The question with the highest rated response (4.7) was “I have a routine I do before every shot.” This presentation will highlight findings important for consultants to consider when working with high-level amateur and professional golfers. This study is significant because it examined a unique population and provides SPCs with information they can share with young athletes on the mental habits of players attempting to “make it” at higher levels of their sport. These findings can help consultants establish mental training as an important part of sport performance training and provide clients with a comparison group to examine their own mental habits.