To a non-golfer, the idea that golf requires toughness is almost laughable. Granted, only in unusual circumstances – extreme heat, walking a hilly course rather than riding a cart, playing with injury – are golfers forced to overcome genuine physical challenges.
But when it comes to mental toughness, golf provides a thorough examination.
First, let’s define mental toughness as it relates to golf. Broadly, it’s the ability to maintain or exceed your typical level of play in the face of pressure or adversity, such as a bad hole, an unlucky bounce, difficult conditions or a strong opponent. Put another way, mental toughness enables you to perform well physically when confronted with mental and emotional challenges.
It’s no coincidence that history’s greatest golfers, including Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, possessed exceptional mental toughness. It’s impossible to win consistently and claim major championships without it.
The question is, can you learn to be mentally tough?
The answer: absolutely.
You may think mental toughness can only come from experience – from trial by fire, if you will. True, if you’re never put in a position that challenges your strength and resolve, you won’t develop these traits. But if you play golf with any seriousness, if you care at all about how you perform, the game will test you every time out.
Here are some basic qualities all mentally tough golfers share: