THE PERFORMANCE CHAIN
Golf is a complex, difficult sport that requires many different skills in order to play it well. While good technique is certainly one of the necessary skills, there are also physical skills that are required, emotional skills that are required, and mental skills that are required. Each one of these skills are like links in what I like to call The Performance Chain (credit to Dr. Rick Jensen who first shared the concept with me). Your chain might be mostly full of strong links, but it only takes one weak link for the chain to break.
So, in short, if we want to play better golf, we need to begin to look at golf holistically. That is how golf should be coached. Not every player wants to play professional golf one day so it's unrealistic to expect every to fully engage in the development of every necessary skill, so I work with players to see what makes sense for them.
So, what are the skills necessary to play the game at a high level? I’ve put them all together in a list and categorized them according to types of skills. My job as a coach is to assess a player and help them understand which skill on the list is the most important for them to work on first to see improvement in their golf game. Then we talk about which skill we need to work on next. And so the process goes.
So, here’s the list…
Touch / Feel
Ability to Stay Present (work the process)
Ability to Forget the Past
Ability to Stay Patient with the Future
Ability to Stay Positive
Ability to Control Emotions / Heart Rate
Ability to Develop and Maintain a Game Plan
Ability to Visualize
Good Relationship with God
Good Relationship with Others
Good relationship with Self (Inner Peace)
Conflict Management Skills
High Club Head Speed
Club Face Stability at Impact
Consistent, Repeatable Club Path Through Impact
Ability to Control Trajectory
Ability to Shape Shots in Both Directions
Ability to Play from Various Lie Conditions
Short Game Skills