What Do We Do With the Rest of the Day? Examining Non-Shot Making Activity in Competitive Golf

Davies, Thomas C a (2017) What Do We Do With the Rest of the Day? Examining Non-Shot Making Activity in Competitive Golf. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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In completing this thesis I am attempting to answer the broad question of what golfers should do with their time on the course when they are not executing their shots. Surprisingly, and considering the amount of research within golf that has considered how performance can best be optimised, either by focusing on the development of technique, mental skills, physiological factors, or tactical considerations, this has remained an under-researched area with few authors considering the potential impact of these time periods.
In attempting to answer this broad question I present five, substantive chapters, one desktop study, one chapter which explains and justifies the chosen research philosophy and methodologies (Chapter 3), and three empirical studies. These are wrapped in introduction (Chapter 1) and conclusion (Chapter 7) chapters. Chapter 2 critically reviews the extant literature prior to the completion of this thesis. In addition to critiquing existing literature future avenues for research that would fill some of the identified gaps in knowledge are suggested. Adopting a pragmatic philosophical approach Chapter 4 explores the perceptions from golfers and support personnel of what golfers should do on the course when not executing their shots. Results point to the use of a number of novel processes specifically the use of pre2- and post-shot routines, in addition to the impact of caddies at the meso-level of performance. These impacts of these processes and inputs on both player attention and other psychological factors are discussed. Reflecting the suggestion from Chapter 4 of the importance of meso-level processes, Chapter 5 seeks to identify if, and how, high-level golfers use the meso-level processes identified in Chapter 4. The findings suggest that high-level golfers do use the processes identified in Chapter 4 but that the content and application of the processes varies depending upon shot outcome. In particular, post-shot routines need to be adaptive based upon shot outcome. Consequently, the need to develop meta-cognitive skills is also highlighted. In order to close the pragmatic loop and practically apply the knowledge generated in the thesis to that point Chapter 6 takes five high-level golfers through a 10 week intervention. These interventions are aimed at developing the skills and processes discovered in the thesis and assesses both the perceived and performance benefits derived from the interventions. There were notable improvements in performance as a consequence of the interventions, although these were not statistically significant. However, participants did also positively note a number of perceived benefits derived from the interventions including the development of meso-level skills and associated general benefits and improvements. In concluding the thesis, and as per the pragmatic approach adopted, I offer practical suggestions to what golfers should do with the rest of the day and the impact that adopting these processes has on performance. Finally, and in order to provide practically useful findings to practitioners, a model for how to integrate the findings from the thesis is proposed.

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