Term of Award

Spring 1998

Degree Name

Master of Education

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Kevin L. Burke

Committee Member 1

A. Barry Joyner

Committee Member 2

Charles J. Hardy


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a goal setting intervention on selected golf skills over the course of a competitive golf season. A secondary purpose of this study was to investigate a comparison of optimism and pessimism in relationship to goal attainment. Subjects (n=7) were elite golfers from a university men's golf team. A two-month goal setting intervention was implemented consisting of the individual golfers selecting three golf skills from five separate categories (fairways in regulation, greens in regulation, total putts per round, up and downs conversion rate, and putts per green in regulation) to set and implement performance goals. Baseline data were gathered through statistical charting of the five categories during practice and competition rounds. Goal setting data were collected from the practice and competitive rounds during the golf team's spring season. Optimism and pessimism was measured by the Optimism and Pessimism Scale (Dember et al., 1989). The following research questions were posed: 1) Would there be improvement in the targeted golf skills selected due to the goal setting intervention? 2) Would there be an appreciable change in the non-targeted golf skills 3) Would there be a positive relationship between optimism and goal attainability? 4) Would there be a negative relationship between pessimism and goal attainability? Results indicated that six of the seven golfers improved in at least one of their three targeted golf skills. While four of the golfers improved in at least two of their three targeted golf skills. Changes did occur in the non-targeted golf skills, however these changes were in direct relation to changes in the targeted golf skills. A statistical relationship was found to exist between those individuals scoring higher in optimism and goal attainability. The five golfers with the highest optimism scores, also attained the highest percentage of their goals. Lastly, the two golfers with the lowest optimism scores and two of the three highest pessimism scores, were found to have had the lowest percentage of goal attainability. Results from this study supported the previous research that goal setting may be an effective psychological tool for improved performance and that optimism/pessimism may play an important role towards goal attainability.


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