Remove the Emotion from Golf

By Todd Kolb
July 31, 2015


One of the things I find interesting about golf is the endless supply of emotional highs and lows it can provide on a daily basis.

In 35 years of playing and teaching the game, I have never come across a sport that can make you feel like a PGA Tour champion one moment and within the time it take to hit one shot send you into a spiral of despair and anger.

Yes, we all know too well how quickly things change on the golf course.


As a golf coach I have a delicate balance when working with my students to decipher between what is based in fact and what is driven by emotion. Most golfers, myself included at times, tend to remember the parts of our round that have a strong emotion attached to them.

It could be a made putt on the last hole to win the club championship or a shot into 18 that splashed in the water ending in a devastating loss. The cold hard fact is both shots have strong emotion attached to them and will be planted deeply in our memory bank. Yes, emotions and golf go hand and hand.

My job as a coach is to put together a process of evaluation with the player that eliminates the emotion and focuses only on real data. It is vital as a coach that my assessment of a student’s game is based on facts so that I can accurately and correctly put together a plan that will truly lower their score.

The good news is that once the emotion is removed and we focus on the facts, the picture typically becomes very clear and the path to improvement is relatively easy to develop.

For the last year, we have used a program called Shotstohole to assess the status of our students game.

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The program allows students to enter every shot into a database, which provides us with a clear picture of what is happening on the course. This information gives us the ability to look at real data from each and every round comparing the performance of one player to a variety of other players and ranges of scoring.

It is this information that provides us with the knowledge to put together a true plan for improvement that is based on fact not emotion.

For those of us who play this crazy game one thing is for certain, emotion will be part of each and every round. In the end, the made putt to win the club championship or the ball that comes up short in the water are one in the same; they are both just golf shots.

If you truly want to understand where your progress can be made, take the emotion out of the process and base your evaluation on facts.

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