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

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

24

Promotion of the flow state in golf: a goal perspective analysis

J.L. Duda

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Abstract

Every golfer is interested in having more flow or optimal experiences in his or her golf game. It is suggested that golfers will witness a higher frequency and intensity of flow states if they adopt a task-involved (success equals hard work and improvement) in contrast to an ego-involved (success is demonstrating superior ability) goal perspective. With respect to the psychological antecedents of flow, research is reviewed which indicates that a task-involved approach should result in higher perceived competence, a preference for optimally challenging tasks, perceptions of personal control, more focused attention, and greater intrinsic enjoyment. Suggestions for fostering task involvement are provided.

Keywords: Flow, Motivation, Goal Orientations, Perceived Competence


1 Introduction

One of the most wonderful experiences for golfers is when they are in “flow” on the golf course. These are those occasions when the golfer feels like there is a “merging of action and awareness” in his or her game (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). Studies of the flow state in sport have found this experience to result in heightened motivation and be linked to positive and often peak athletic performance (Jackson and Roberts, 1992).

Research by Csikszentmihalyi (1975, 1990) has indicated that flow is marked by several characteristics including focused attention, a sense of control and competence, and intrinsic enjoyment. This work has also shown that flow states are more likely to occur when individuals perceive a balance between above average skills and task demands. In other words, people are more likely to get into flow if they believe that they possess the skills required to successfully perform an optimally challenging task.

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

-156-

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