Golf isn’t just about the perfect swing or a low score; it’s a journey that demands more from young golfers aspiring to play at collegiate or professional levels. To excel, it’s important to look beyond immediate results and focus on building character and adopting a mindset that embraces growth and long-term thinking. Insights from Dr. Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” and Simon Sinek’s “The Infinite Game” offer invaluable guidance on this journey.

Dr. Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” explores the powerful impact of adopting a growth mindset. This mindset, which is all about believing that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work, is crucial for young golfers. It fosters resilience and a love for learning—two qualities essential for navigating the ups and downs of a golfing career. Take Michael Jordan, for instance. He wasn’t initially the best player on his high school basketball team, but his growth mindset propelled him to continually improve, embrace challenges, and persist through setbacks. For young golfers, the lesson here is clear: rather than obsessing over current skill levels or scores, consistent improvement and learning from every round, every swing, is key.

Simon Sinek’s “The Infinite Game” introduces the idea of playing with an infinite mindset—seeing success as a continuous journey rather than a finite goal. This perspective is particularly relevant in golf, a sport that demands mental fortitude and embraces unpredictability. Key elements from Sinek’s philosophy can be game-changers for young golfers. Having a “Just Cause” can be a powerful motivator. Whether it’s representing their communities, inspiring others, or simply pursuing the pure joy of the game, having a higher purpose can drive them through tough times.

But let’s not forget the importance of character in this mix. Traits such as patience, self-confidence, discipline, and many others are not just the hallmarks of a good golfer but of a well-rounded individual. Golf teaches patience like few other sports can. It’s about maintaining composure during a bad round and thoughtfully planning what to do next. Self-confidence is built through a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities to grow rather than threats to self-worth. Discipline, which is all about consistent practice and adherence to technique, translates to other areas of life, fostering a well-rounded individual. Additionally, traits like perseverance, humility, and integrity are equally important. Perseverance helps golfers push through difficult times, humility keeps them grounded, and integrity ensures they play the game with honor.

The foundation for becoming a great golfer often starts at home. How young golfers are fostered in their daily lives plays a crucial role in their development. Are they making their bed every morning, showing discipline? Are they saying thank you and demonstrating gratitude? Are they being praised for their effort rather than just the outcome? These small acts of character at home build the traits that help them thrive on the course. Respect, kindness, and responsibility are also cultivated in the family environment. Respect for others and the game, kindness in interactions, and a sense of responsibility in their actions contribute significantly to their growth as complete individuals.

Being a better player develops from being a better human being in everyday life. This infinite mindset approach ensures that young golfers are not only technically proficient but also mentally and emotionally prepared for the challenges ahead. Excelling at a collegiate or professional level isn’t just about perfecting their swing. By embracing a growth mindset, as highlighted by Dr. Carol Dweck, and adopting an infinite mindset, as advocated by Simon Sinek, young golfers can cultivate resilience, patience, self-confidence, discipline, and other crucial traits. Ultimately, these qualities will make them not only better golfers but also complete individuals, ready to face life’s challenges both on and off the course.

-Coach Mai