Golf is Not a Game of Perfect (and neither is life)

Woman Golfer Reacting to Shot
Apr 2024

Golf is Not a Game of Perfect was written by sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella in 1995.  He worked with many top golfers, both men and women, helping them to develop the mindset to win tournaments and major championships.  His teachings are timeless.

What he noticed among his top players is that they got over their misreads, mishits and misfires, i.e. their ‘bad shots’ quickly.  Rather than beating themselves up, getting angry or blaming someone or something, they realized that golf is not a game of perfect.   Pro golfers have won tournaments hitting their first tee shot out of bounds.  They have outplayed the competition even though they lobbed their ball into the water on the last hole.  They have come out on top with having missed makeable short puts.

How often have you been disappointed in yourself because you didn’t do something ‘perfectly’?  Jim Collins states that ‘good is the enemy of great’.   In the same way, perfection is the antagonist of top performance.   It seems like an oxymoron; you don’t have to be perfect to excell.  Golf legend Walter Hagen said he expected to make seven mistakes per round.

When you mess up a hole in golf, flub a presentation or blow an interview, you can take yourself down a rabbit hole in despair.  It might be tempting to get angry or frustrated.  Life, however, is not made up of back-to-back perfect moments, there are crappy ones thrown into the mix.   Accepting perfection as a made-up concept frees you up to keep doing your best and having fun.


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