What type of personality do you bring to the golf course? Whether you think you’re turning the field upside down, or bringing a lot of emotion to your game, it will bring advantages and disadvantages to the way you play, and perhaps more importantly, the way you run the field. This is primarily determined by your personality type, but if you find that your personality is negatively affecting your game, there are ways to make adjustments to the personality you bring to the game.
Personality types are divided into high thinkers and high emotional players. Great thinkers use their golf intellect to negotiate the course, and obviously if your thinking is better than your opponents’ and you can carry it through, the advantage is yours. But players can overthink their game, constantly tweaking things and never having the ability to commit to a shot. High emotion players are generally more of a “feel” player, and when they’re on a roll they can hit some amazing shots. But when something goes wrong, it will be harder for them to recover. Golfers are divided into combinations of these two psychological types.
Psychologists divide these personality traits into four types of golfers:
1. High thinkers-high emotions. These players are scholars of the game, but they also bring great emotion to their game. Players like Tiger Woods or Bobby Jones are, and they were technical golfers who brought great emotion to their games. Great players both, but Woods over his career has changed his game perhaps too much, and Jones gave up competitive golf at an early age due to the emotional toll.
2. High thinkers-low emotions. Players who fall into this category could be considered cool but calculating. Jack Nicklaus comes to mind. Rarely have we seen a golfer think his way around the course, but rarely would you see him show much emotion. Ben Hogan could also be included in this category.
3. Low thinkers-high emotions. Players going out and hitting hard and seeing it fly are fun to watch, probably because they can do some amazing stuff, but you know they’re a train wreck waiting to happen. Think of Arnold Palmer and John Daley as belonging to this category.
4. Low thinkers-low emotions. These quiet players don’t seem to be concerned with where they hit the ball, and they certainly have little emotional clutter in their game. They just go out and play, and they have the ability to accept whatever happens. Everybody seems to like guys like Fred Couples or Ernie Els as they have beautiful swings and have a seemingly carefree approach.
We can see from this that any personality type can work to become a successful golfer, but probably the most important thing to know is not to fight your type too much. Generally speaking, the great thinkers have probably had a better track record. There are ways to at least make adjustments to your personality type to improve your chances of playing well. If your emotions get in the way of your game, for example, I wouldn’t recommend just accepting your lot in life, but looking for ways to improve. We will address them in a later post.