How to Accelerate Emotional Drive
The 6th Secret
The characteristic approach to the game by those who succeed involves a fixity of purpose which comes from
emotional drive. The drive comes from what psychologists call "goal tensions," and this goal tension comes from the
decision of the player to disregard the possible pleasures of the moment for the pleasures of final important
achievement. However, the strength of this decision is apt to fluctuate from time to time and, to avoid its
weakening, there are ways by which our drive can be further stimulated by conscious effort. Here are some of those
1. Watch expert golfers in action. You will tend to identify with them, as you do with the hero
in a movie, and as you do so, emotions of various kinds will be aroused which will stimulate your ambitions. After
any tournament there is always a great flurry of golfing activity. The golf matches now being portrayed on
television will result in even greater golfing interest.
2. Play in golf tournaments. A big emotional incentive comes out of competition. People learn
much faster if their efforts are competitively successful. They experience an exhilarating lift to which they can
easily become addicted. On the other hand, if they
lose, their pride is stung and they may be stimulated to redeem themselves
through a better showing.
3. Take lessons from someone you admire. Many a person has developed a lifelong desire to
improve his game by the accident of having been around a person he liked who was a good player. It is not necessary
to wait for such an accident to occur. Seek out the professional that you most admire and pay him whatever it costs
for lessons. The ideal pro would be one who could both teach and play and also had personal qualities which would
serve as a long-range source of stimulation. An example of such a relationship is that between Ken Venturi and
Byron Nelson. It may well explain why Venturi is an obsessive practicer.
4. Consider golf as a stepping-stone to material success. Golf has developed into big business
and, in this business, there are many opportunities. Good playing can lead to money-making on a much larger scale
than many other fields. This accounts for the fact that college players with promise are turning down other careers
to take their chances on the circuit. Many golfers do exceedingly well in selling clubs and other accessories. Some
use connections developed on the golf course as an entree to
profitable business deals. A good or even creditable game is a help in both business and social situations. If one
becomes a professional even in a comparatively small way, he will find that the returns are good. In some cases,
the returns approach the fabulous.
5. Consider golf as an aid to good health. Many physicians consider golf the ideal exercise as
a promoter of good emotional and physical health. Without excessive strain, it enables one to exercise every muscle
in the body. In addition, it promotes mental health by taking the mind off problems which produce emotional
6. Be a "poor loser." It is not good psychology to cultivate an attitude of being satisfied
with failure. Such an attitude is self-destructive, since it destroys the emotional drive that is required for
sustained effort. Tommy Bolt was so heavily criticized for his angry reactions to poor shots and poor rounds that
he set about to completely suppress his feelings. He said later that he quit winning the minute he started becoming
a "good loser." I have known several amateurs whose games have deteriorated under similar circumstances.
This does not mean that one must be obnoxious in order to perform at his best. As is mentioned elsewhere in this
book, our emotions can be directed into productive channels which will drive us to improve. It has been reported
that Bobby Jones in his prime had unpleasant physical reactions during the stress of competition. In the best
sense, this great sportsman was a "poor loser."