The Impact of Sports Psychology Within the Realm of Golf
The interdisciplinary science we call psychology has forever played a role within sports. Golf is very much a proactive game, meaning the golfer is the one initiating the swing compared to other sports in which a player responds to stimuli. With such a slim margin of error, it is easy to see how sports psychology can differentiate elite golfers from a very large field of equally qualified competition. At the conclusion of the 2017 PGA season, Dustin Johnson was the number one golfer in the world with a scoring average of 68.7. Danny Lee finished the 2017 season ranked 100th on the list of top players in the world with a scoring average of 71.1. So what is it that differentiates Dustin Johnson or other elite golfers from the rest of the field with equally impressive swings and mechanics? Through a multitude of research, a case study at Kalamazoo College, interviews with professional golf instructors, college golf coaches, and a world-renowned sport psychologist, we found that the answer lies between the ears of these elite golfers who have trained for years to ignore, respond, and adapt to varying stimuli that occur out on the course. This paper will elaborate on the findings of how golf truly is a game that expands beyond the realm of physical mechanics and tangible traits.