Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

22

Factors affecting the salience of outcome, performance and process goals in golf

K. Kingston and L. Hardy
Division of Health and Human Performance, University of Wales,
Bangor, UK

Abstract

This paper focuses upon the appropriateness in relation to golf performance of different types of goal which, it is suggested, differ according to their primary focus. Contrary to trends suggested elsewhere, for example in the goal orientations literature (Burton, 1992; Duda, 1992), it is argued that outcome goals should not be denigrated to the extent that golfers are encouraged to totally ignore them. Rather, the suggestion is made that certain types of goal may be more salient than others to the golfer at different stages during golf performance. This suggestion is based on the available empirical evidence regarding the relative effects of different types of goal upon the cognitive processes that are thought to underly golf performance.

Keywords: Golf, Goals, Attention, Pre-performance Routines, Automaticity.


1 Introduction
Despite the obvious importance of psychological factors in golf, few researchers have rigorously examined the psychological processes that might underly and support golf performance. Notable exceptions to this statement include Boutcher and Crew's (1987) work on pre-shot routines, Kirschenbaum's work on self-regulation (see, for example, Johnston-O'Connor & Kirschenbaum, 1986), and Masters' (1992) work on automaticity. However, previous research has not considered the use of goal-setting strategies within golf. The present paper first reviews some of the more relevant literature on goal-setting. It then presents a reasoned argument for the use of a number of different types of goal during preparation for, and performance at, major golf competitions. One of the most widely accepted definitions for a goal is that generated by Locke, Shaw, Saari and Latham (1981); namely, “a specific standard of proficiency on a task, usually [to be achieved] within a specified time limit” (Locke et al., 1981, p. 145). Furthermore, Locke et al. (1981) also presented comprehensive review of goal setting and its influence on task performance in organisational and industrial settings. This review identified four mechanisms via which goal setting appeared to improve performance.
i) Directing attention and action;
ii) Mobilising and regulating effort expended on a particular task;
iii) Prolonging effort until the goal is reached;
iv) Motivating individuals to develop alternative strategies in their attempts to reach the goal.

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-144-

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