Over the last 10+ years I’ve been Coaching a couple of things have become apparent:

  1. You CAN’T Motivate Players but you can Demotivate them; a Coaches Job is to create an Environment that encourages a Players Motivation to flourish. 

  2. Success doesn’t come from having more Motivation. It comes from doing what you need to do, even if you don’t have the Motivation to do it: also known as GRIT! 

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Stop looking for ways to boost your Motivation. Desire, discipline and commitment are the true keys to being World Class. Motivation is a luxury; it’s tinsel on a Christmas Tree. This is why having a structured Plan, orientated around a specific Goal is worth its weight in gold. I say this with confidence due to the success of the Individuals I support via my Connected Coaching Programme.

However, I think we can agree that Motivation (also known as ‘Drive’) is an important element to being good at anything. Without it people simply wouldn’t put in the hours required to refine their ‘Trade’. However, the more I Coach, the more I realise Motivation ebbs and flows, it comes and goes, it adapts and morphs. 

This is a VITAL thing to understand: the Reason(s) why you participate can and likely will change i.e. your initial Reason for Playing might not be your current Reason. Things change and it’s vital you stay aware of, connected to and regularly remind yourself WHY you Participate. 

It’s also important to understand how potent your Reason(s) for Participation are, as some have proven to be more effective than others. However, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to Motivation. The essential thing is that you use your Reason(s) to keep you participating and improving. The below will help you understand where your Motivation sits in the spectrum.

Types of Motivation

Motivation can be categorised into three types: Amotivation, Intrinsic and Extrinsic:

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The first type of Motivation is Amotivation. This is when an individual has very low levels of Motivation towards any given task. From a Sporting perspective, an Amotivated Athlete doesn’t know why they participate, they won’t find any benefits from participation. Behaviours that relate to Amotivation are a lack of competence and little commitment. An example of this is a Child Playing a Sport because their Parent Forces them… NOT GOOD!


The Second Type of Motivation is Intrinsic Motivation. This is the Internal Drive a Person has to participate or to perform well. This can be broken down into three parts: Knowledge, Accomplishment and Stimulation:

  1. The Knowledge aspect of Intrinsic Motivation reflects the need to learn new skills

  2. The Accomplishment aspect reflects the Athletes need to achieve a sense of Mastery of a Task and to feel a sense of achievement from said Mastery.

  3. The Stimulation aspect reflects the sensation associated physically experiencing a specific task. 


Intrinsic motivation often leads to an overall positive affect on Behaviours and Outcomes. Intrinsic Motivation is advised as the Persons behaviour is a result of internal Drive e.g. somebody participating because it’s fun and enjoyable - they want to see how good they can be (Mastery) rather than doing it for a reward. As a result they have a high probability of prolonged Participation and improved Performance as a result.


The Third Type of Motivation is Extrinsic Motivation, which is the Drive to participate caused by motives that are External or Environmental. For example; an Athlete is participating to receive a reward or to avoid punishment.

The healthiest form of Extrinsic Motivation is known as “Integrated Regulation”, which is very similar to Intrinsic Motivation; Behaviour, rather than being Externally controlled becomes Internally controlled. However, the Behaviour is Extrinsically Motivated as it is used to achieve a Goal rather than for the joy of participation. 

A great example of this is what we’ve seen in this years Premier League Title Race between Liverpool and Manchester City. The Level of competition between the two sides drove the quality of their Play to astronomical Levels, resulting in Extrinsic rewards i.e. Manchester City winning the Premier League (by a single Point) and Liverpool Winning the Champions League (and accumulating the Highest points Total ever by a Team finishing Second in the Premier League). 

From my Experience effective Motivation is a blend of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors - we don’t live in a vacuum! Many Athletes are Driven by the Extrinsic rewards Sport can bring to elevate their situation i.e. Liverpool and Manchester Cities rivalry: the Extrinsic Motivation of defeating a rival can be extremely effective. 

However, in an ideal World, participation should be predominately Intrinsically Motivated as failure to achieve an Extrinsic Goal/Reward can be demotivate, evoke poor Performance, declining Participation and could even result in Dropout (stop Playing altogether). 



To Reflect:

  • Stop looking for ways to boost your Motivation. Success doesn’t come from having more Motivation. It comes from doing what you need to do, even if you don’t have the Motivation to do it: GRIT! 

  • Amotivation depicts Behaviour lacking intension which leads to disorganisation, frustrated involvement and should be avoided at all costs!

  • The Motivation to defeat a rival can be extremely effective. However, in an ideal World, participation should be predominately Intrinsically Motivated as failure to achieve an Extrinsic Goal/Reward can be demotivate, evoke poor Performance, discourage Participation and could even result in Dropout (stop Playing altogether).

  • There is no hierarchy when it comes to Motivation. Your reasons are your reasons and as long as you’re aware of them, stay connected to them it and ensure they’re Positively influencing your well-being, participation and performance then there’s no issue. 

I hope the above has proved useful and/or insightful? If you’re interested in engaging with a Structured Coaching Plan to support your Goals take a look at my Connected Coaching Programme and get in touch.

Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company


As you can guess by the Headline I’m not a fan of the expression ‘Grow The Game’. Golf’s a Sport, not a Plant.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting people into the Game but let’s be clear on what we’re really trying to do; increase engagement and encourage participation. By framing it this way vs ‘Growing The Game’ it establishes a clear and specific Intention, from which we can create and facilitate strategies to do so. If we have to use a slogan why not simply use ‘PLAY GOLF’?

To get people interested in the Game I believe we first need to recognise the Phases of Engagement Golfers go through - their ‘WHY’. 

From being involved with the Sport for nearly two decades I’ve deduced 3 main Phases of Engagement:

  1. FUN - the Foundation. People start Playing because they find it Fun. It’s a nice thing to do with Friends & Family.

  2. PARTICIPATION - the Walls. As engagement deepens, Players compliment their ‘Fun’ Golf with participating in Club events, potentially fun format initially then progressing on to weekly/monthly Competitions.

  3. PERFORMANCE - the Roof. Players not only play for Fun, but they’re now engaged enough to want to Perform well in Competitions and even play Professionally.

It’s easy for those in the industry to neglect the first two Phases and assume People are automatically in the 3rd. It’s vital we honor all the Phases and create strategies that encourage Golfers to start and keep Playing, whatever their motivation.

How to Increase Engagement and Participation from a Junior Perspective

To increase Engagement and Participation we first need to establish Traditional avenues Children ‘Get into Golf’ i.e:

  1. Parents

  2. Friends

  3. School/Community

  4. Inspired by High Level Performance (e.g. watched Tiger Win the Masters on TV)


They then:

  1. Hit Balls on the Range/Practice Area

  2. Get ‘Good Enough’ to head out onto the Golf Course (typically playing from the furthest back Tees as permitted)

  3. Struggle & toil until they Love the pain 😉

An Alternative...

Read how Australian Tennis are combining ESports during their Flagship Event; The Australian Open

Read how Australian Tennis are combining ESports during their Flagship Event; The Australian Open

Technology driven participation is here (all you need to do is take a look at the great work TrackMan & Top Golf are doing). So, instead of fighting the ‘lure of Fortnight’ let’s embrace it!

We’re all on the road to self-driving electric cars and virtual reality lifestyles so let’s make Golf the ‘First to Market'.

The below is what I feel could be an effective Process* for Juniors (and Adults) to go through in order to remove Golfs major participation barriers of Cost and Time:

Step 1: Social/Simulator Experience

Step 2: 9 Hole Short Course Play

Step 3: 9 Hole Fun Format (Full Length Course)

Step 4: 9 Hole Stableford/StrokePlay (Full Length Course)

Step 5: 18 Hole Fun Format (Full Length Course)

Step 6: 18 Hole Stableford/Stroke Play (Full Length Course)

*Cost kept appropriate & Coaching oriented around Play vs Technical Proficiency)

As you can see, at no point is Competence a prerequisite to Participation. To my knowledge, no other Ball Sport has constructed this ‘Performance Barrier”.


In Skiing/Snowboarding for example the mere presence of gravity determines the Goals:

  1. Stay Upright

  2. Stay Upright while moving down the Slope Slowly 

  3. Stay Upright while moving down the Slope Quickly

  4. Stay Upright while moving down the Slope Quickly & make it to the Bar 😉 


It’s crazy to think Golfers should have Lessons/Coaching in order to reach a level of competence and THEN they can go out and Play!?! Yes, you need to be Coached to be able to move the Ball well enough so it doesn’t drive you insane but we need to take the lead set by US Kids Golf and get People on appropriate length Courses!

Let’s remove the Stigma created by naming Tees ‘Ladies, Gents, Junior’ (and while we’re at it, Golf Clubs: drop the Dress Codes and segregated areas of The Clubhouse). Lets simply name them by colour then encourage Players to start at the shortest Tees and give them the opportunity to Tee it back via Gross Score e.g:

BLUE = 120+

YELLOW = 110 & Below

GREEN = 100 & Below

ORANGE = 95 & Below

WHITE = 90 & Below

PURPLE = 85 & Below

RED = 80 & Below

BLACK = 75 & Below

Gamify Your Training

As Children, we all played those Sports where we had to endure 50 minutes of Drills to Play the 10 minute game at the end. So, why don’t we adapt our Training/Practice/Coaching to make the entire Session a Game i.e. Gamify: use the Golf Course/Practice Ground to Learn though Playing Games! Here’s an example of one of my Junior Coaching Sessions at Archerfield to illustrate:

As you can see, it’s Task Orientated; as they are Playing a themed Game (a Game designed around the development of a particular Skill: Direction, Distance, Curvature etc) Coaching Moments emerge - Players ASK for input (usually because they’re Loosing 😉) vs having to endure a monologue of someone telling them what to do. The format provides Context, increases active Engagement and drives Technical improvement. Most importantly it’s FUN, encourages on Course play, Club Membership and the creation of a Social Life around the Game.

This approach isn’t just effective for Children, it works for Adults too! Here’s an example Putting Game. Give it a go: 


If you like the idea of Gamifying your Practice take a look at my Connected Coaching Programme and for the little ones, here’s a link to a Downloadable PDF Playbook of Games & Tasks I wrote with Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott from VISION54:


To Reflect:

  • Lets Eliminate the Stigma/barrier that Players have to reach a Level of Competence in order to Play on the Course

  • Facilitate Participation through Play on appropriate length Courses 

  • Embrace Technology 

  • Players: Gamify your Training/Practice

  • Coaches: Gamifiy and orientate your Coaching around the Intention of getting as many Golfers on the Course, joining Clubs and building a Social Life around the Game. 

Let’s do this! Thanks for Reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company