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Golf IQ

What is your ideal performance mindset? Here's how to find out.



December 15, 2023

If you’ve ever had a really good round, it might have felt like you were more focused than usual. That’s likely because, whether you realized it or not, you were playing in your ideal performance state.

Finding your ideal performance state is something that fellow play editor Drew Powell brought up earlier in the week, and we talked about it on the most recent episode of Golf IQ, which you can listen to below (and subscribe here).

PGA Tour player Kevin Streelman first introduced the concept of an ideal performance state to Drew and his teammates at Duke University.

Ideal performance state refers to a player’s mental intensity level on the course. Streelman explained that it’s a sliding scale. On a scale of one to 10...

  • One is the most relaxed you could possibly be on a golf course.
  • 10 is the most intense you could possibly be.

Using that scale of reference, think back to your best and worst rounds and think about where you landed from 1-10 both between shots, and during the shot itself.

Your intensity before shots is the window before you hit that you spend strategizing, shooting yardages and picking out your target. While your intensity between shots refers to the window of time after you’ve hit and are walking up to the next shot, i.e. are you talking and joking with playing partners, or are you quieter and reserved?

I figured out my ideal performance state by looking back on my best rounds and figuring out their common denominator: a caddie. I realized the caddie was helping me stay somewhat chatty between shots, but they helped me rein it in and focus on the shot at hand when it was go time.

Knowing your number will help you play better golf and also increase your awareness on the golf course. For example, players with a higher number will be able to identify when they’re more relaxed on the course, allowing them to tighten the reins or keep playing in that fun mindset and not worry about their score. And that self-awareness on the course is key to becoming a better player.

Once again you can listen to the full podcast right here: