An inductive exploration into the flow experiences of European tour golfers

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Swann, C, Crust, L, Keegan, R, Piggott, D & Hemmings, B 2015, 'An inductive exploration into the flow experiences of European tour golfers', Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, vol. 7, no.2, pp. 210-234.

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This study explored perceptions regarding the experience of flow in elite golf; a sport which is different to those studied previously due to its self-paced, stop-start nature. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 European Tour golfers. Whereas the majority of previous studies have deductively coded data into Csikszentmihalyi’s dimensions, the data in this study were analysed inductively. Thirteen categories were generated which described the flow experiences of these golfers, and these were compared with the original flow dimensions after analysis. In contrast to previous understanding, these golfers reported being aware that they were in flow as it occurred, and seemingly were able to manage their flow experiences. A category describing altered cognitive and kinaesthetic perceptions was also generated which was not accounted for in the existing flow framework, while the participants also suggested that flow was observable (e.g. through changes in behaviour). Findings are discussed in relation to the existing literature, and recommendations made for future research including possible revisions to the flow framework to better describe this experience within golf and other sporting contexts.

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