Social cognitive development of female athletes who participate in elite and competitive-recreational golf: Achievement motivation, perceived competence, and commitment to sport

Date of Completion

January 1998


Women's Studies|Education, Physical|Education, Educational Psychology




There have been numerous quantitative studies conducted on women in sport with regard to commitment, perceived competence, motivation, and socialization into sport; however, there is a paucity of qualitative research in these areas. This study was an exploratory investigation utilizing qualitative methods of inquiry. The research question explored was: What is the nature of competitive recreational and elite female golfers' commitment, perceived competence, and achievement motivation for playing golf?^ Three focus groups, comprised of eleven competitive recreational women golfers, were conducted using predetermined questions to elicit information regarding the research question. Eight professional women golfers were interviewed by the researcher in Tucson, Arizona while the women were participating in the Welch's/Circle K Ladies Professional Golf Association Tournament.^ Significant findings in the study included: (1) the majority of the amateur golfers emphasized their enjoyment of competitive golf, and the drive to become better at golf is what maintains their interest and continued involvement in golf; (2) confidence is built upon small successes which prepares the golfer for critical moments during competition; (3) three professional golfers mentioned thought processes as the key component for success on the golf course; (4) all of the professional golfers were introduced to golf by a family member, while only eight out of the eleven amateur golfers began participating in golf because of family; and (5) only one golfer in the study did not have any formal lessons in golf. ^