Age, Psychological Skills, and Golf Performance: A Prospective Investigation

Correspondence should be addressed to Bert Hayslip Jr., Department of Psychology, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #311280, Denton, TX 76203. E-mail: .
The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Impact Factor: 3.21). 03/2013; 69(2). DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbt010
Source: PubMed


This study explored the influence of age in understanding mental skills utilization in the context of performance at a major
national golf competition. Participants, who ranged in age and in skill level, included 1,150 male and 170 female amateur
golfers competing in the Dupont World Amateur Golf Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Measures targeted general
mental skills used in competitions, golf-specific skills, and competitive trait anxiety. Hierarchical linear regression was
utilized to explore the potential moderating role that chronological age may play in influencing the impact of psychological
skills and anxiety on competitive tournament performance across the adult life span. Findings suggested no significant age-moderating
effects and instead pointed to the importance of developing golf-specific psychological skills to enhance or maintain performance,
irrespective of age. Although automaticity (performance feels “automatic”) predicted performance for all golfers, commitment
to the game and confidence in one’s putting did so only for the men. These findings reinforce the age-irrelevant role of such
skills in fostering the experience of peak performance in a competitive sport context and underscore the importance of interventions
targeting older players to help maintain or facilitate the use of psychological skills in helping them manage their games.