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Golf and the Millennial Generation

Sunday, February 11th, 2018 posted by LWGS

Golf and the Millennial Generation

“Without patience, we will learn less in life” – Mother Teresa

The millennial generation born during the late 90’s and 00’s have grown up with constant access to technology, e.g. mobile phones, laptops, tablets, smart televisions, etc. How has this shaped their experience of the world?

Technology and fast access to the Internet has provided millennials with a world where instant gratification is only a few ‘taps’ away. For example in a matter of seconds, goods and services can be purchased online with next day delivery, movies, television shows, and music videos can be downloaded, and a blind date can be arranged by a mere swipe of a finger.

There is little doubt that the existence of this technology has improved quality and certainly convenience of life. But it is possible that the expectation of instant gratification (and to receive things so quickly) will have a negative effect when it spills into other areas of their lives?

The demand for instant results are becoming part of everyday life. However, this is making us more impatient which I would argue doesn’t match the patience required for effective skill acquisition in golf.  

To improve (and especially in a sport as difficult as golf) one needs to be patient. Learning is a process that involves time and practice. 

Fitts and Posner three-stage model of learning suggests that during the early stage of learning (the Cognitive Stage), performance is characterised by a large number of errors. I.e., when a golfer is trying to make improvements to their swing, it is not uncommon for performance results to fall during this early phase of learning. 

As their expectation is instant gratification, and thus instant success, do millennial golfers have the patience to work through this early stage that is riddled with errors? Personally, I have witnessed a number of young golfers quit a particular drill (designed to improve their technique over time) because instant success was not achieved as they had expected.

We therefore as parents and coaches need to spend more time on educating the millennials on the process of skill acquisition, creating a more realistic timeline and understanding of the improvement process. We need to instil that patience is a virtue, and create an environment where young golfers are reminded of the advantages of perseverance. A lot of things that are valuable take time. 

As part of the improvement process at the Lee Westwood Golf School, we ask young golfers to spend time reflecting and to use critical thinking in assessing their performance and planning for the future. 



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