Are You a Risk Taker? Know Yourself to Know Your Golf Style


Are you a risk-taker or do you prefer to play it safe?  Do you map out the course and know all the yardages or do you just wing it?

Many of you might have taken a DISC or Meyers Briggs Assessment at work to discover your personal behavior style. Knowing your golf personality can help you play better. I have been so intrigued with behavior and motivation that I became certified and have created an online DISC Golf Assessment Report. Not only does this work in a corporate setting, it works on the golf course as well.

There are four behavior styles

The High D

A driven, competitive leader. You love tournaments of any kind.  You are in it to win it.  You take risks, sometimes without thinking about the consequences.  One of your favorite words is control. You are decisive, tough, strong-willed, demanding, independent and self-centered  Your biggest fear is loss of control. I know you can guess who the number one high D is in golf.  Yes, Tiger Woods.

Practice: If you are a High D, you need to take time to focus on process rather than results.  Your tendency is to allow your impatience to dictate your action. You typically expect immediate results. You might even allow bad shots to keep you from focusing on developing a repeatable motion, which in turn will help you become more consistent.

Play: On the course, be sure to make a game plan for each hole. This will help you stay focused on process, rather than results. You typically have a temper when you do not perform to your expectations so it is imperative to have a plan. As a risk-taker, it might be a good idea to make a deal with yourself. You will not go for it unless you have at least a 50-50 chance of pulling off the shot.

The high I

Christina Kim at the 2015 Australian Open

A people person. You are sociable, talkative, open, enthusiastic, energetic and persuasive. You play in tournaments for the recognition. You are a performer and want to be on stage. Your biggest fear is social rejection. Two players come to mind: Lee Trevino and Christina Kim.

Practice: If you are a High I, much like the High D, you need to take time to focus on process rather than results. Your tendency is to allow your fun-loving ways to keep you from being aware of what is going on in the moment. You will have the tendency to practice with friends and maybe so busy talking, you do not pay attention to the task at hand.

Play: A simple game plan for each hole you play will help you stay focused on the process instead of results, score, or winning. You have a tendency to laugh things off. Take care to not become too complacent in what you are doing.

The High S

Calm, cool, and collected. You are steady, careful, patient, family-oriented, modest and trustworthy. Your biggest fear is loss of stability. Lydia Ko is a perfect example of the High S behavior style. Lydia will practice for hours by herself.

Practice: If you are a High S, you need to pay close attention to your self-talk. High S behavior styles are great listeners. Not big talkers. You need to listen to yourself. Since temper is not a big issue for this type most of the time, it’s fine to get after yourself briefly as you are telling yourself what to do and not to do. Push yourself a little.

Lydia Ko - Mediheal Championship - Ben Harpring
Lydia Ko at the 2019 LPGA Mediheal Championship | Photographer Ben Harpring

Play: Because you are naturally calm and possess a better pace than most, it would be a good idea to play alone and just focus on what you have been working on. Be selective with the groups whom you play with and make sure they won’t be too competitive while playing or push you to be too fast.  Do not allow others to pull you out of your gift of being steady.

The High C

Compliant. You are precise, follow rules, logical, careful, formal, and disciplined. Your biggest fear is criticism of your work. You are very detail-oriented and tend to play slowly. Bernhard Langer is a High C.  It has been said, he once asked his caddie if the yardage was from the front of the sprinkler head or the back of it.

Practice: Your largest hurdle will be to overcome trying to be perfect. Similar to the High D and High I, you must take time to focus on process rather than results. Your tendency to be self-critical can depress you. Try to give yourself positive affirmations when you accomplish the task at hand.

Play: On the course, be sure to only have one or two swing thoughts. It is a good idea to time your pre-shot routine and process as you tend to be very slow.  If you can develop your process and know what you want to focus on, it will help you produce better shots in a timely fashion.

Be Aware of Your Style

We are all a combination of these styles. The more aware we become of ourselves, the better we can perform. There might be times on the course where you will need to lower one style or raise another.

As witnessed in his April 2019 Master’s win, Tiger Woods was on a mission to win another green jacket. If you watched his facial expression, demeanor, and actions, he didn’t allow his emotions to get out of control.  He just paid attention to the task at hand and performed his best while others allowed bad decision making and a couple of missed swings get to them.

Feature Photo:  Lydia Ko in action the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Photographer Ben Harpring

Cindy’s article was originally published in The Buffalo News and is reproduced here with the author’s permission.

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