You want to play better Golf? Quieten your chimp!

Isn’t golf meant to be your leisure time?

Our time is very precious to us in this modern day world. Distractions are ever present as we seek to do what’s best but get caught up when something we find more fun comes our way.

Golf can be very stressful to a lot of people. The anticipation of that weekend game after a long and difficult week at work can seem like the perfect retreat from the everyday problems faced in the workplace.


The calm and tranquil nature of the game can be just the tonic that the working adult needs to help them de-stress.

The anticipation is rife. They go to the course with great prospects and start the day on a huge high.

However, bad shots start to creep in, the odd hook, the odd shank in there. The brain and body start to get angry and tense. And it’s only the 4th hole!!! We then try everything in our power to put it right as we cannot continue in our mind to hit it like this otherwise embarrassment and the possibility of unsavoury banter from our regular playing partners starts to plague us. Every swing tip we have ever heard creeps into our mind and makes things worse due to the complete ‘paralysis by analysis’. The game continues to get worse and by the 9th hole we just want to walk in, sinking our sorrows in the clubs guest ale.

But what happened? We started so confidently and our anticipation for a great days golf was high. So why on earth did we self destruct?

The answer? Our ‘chimp’ got hold of our thinking!

According to Dr Steven Peters, our mind is made up of the chimp, the human and the computer. The human is the rational thinker, the chimp controls the emotions and the computer puts these two together.


When we hit a few bad shots on the course, we tend to react negatively, whether that means frustration or anger. Our chimp takes over with irrational thoughts. ‘Why am I so bad at this game’? ‘This happened last week, why don’t I learn from these mistakes’? These are just a couple of questions we ask ourselves. But the real question is, do these help us to get better?

Categorically and without a shadow of a doubt……!

It’s because the irrational chimp has taken over and disrupted our original happy human flow of mind and seen bad shots as food to feed it’s negativity.

The answer to stop this awful feeling on the course? Quieten the chimp. Recognise it is there and recognise it’s completely irrational in the way it is delivering it’s message to us. Let the sensible human run the show and learn that bad shots do occur whatever level of golfer you are, it’s one of those things. It’s how we deal with it on course is what makes us drive home from the golf course happy or whether we drive home angry with a sense of wasted time. Try not to be the latter.