Suppose you own the only golf course in the world, and you are the only person who plays the game. No one watches you – it’s a completely closed shop. Would you be fearful of any shot? Of course not. Folks, what we often fear are others’ opinions and our own expectations.
FEAR IS USUALLY DUE TO:
- What other people might think, either on this swing, the result of this swing, or your final score.
- YOUR COMFORT ZONE : The possibility of uncharted failure or success.
This is why golfers have such a difficult time breaking through the next threshold of 100, 90 or 80 for the first time. How many times does a golfer get off to a horrible start in the early stages of a round of golf, then start pressing and stressing because they don’t want it to turn into a disaster over 18 holes? Or the opposite can occur. What would happen if someone who had never broke 100 shot 40 in the first nine holes? Quite often they look ahead and begin stressing, thinking what a tragedy it would be if they didn’t break through their barrier or worse yet, that they aren’t good enough to shoot the score they are on pace for. Golfers are strange people – they have a hard time dealing with successes until they have experienced a few of them. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ESCAPE YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
GETTING AHEAD OF OR BEHIND YOURSELF
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
William Allen White
- You must stay in the present. The most important shot in every round of golf is the one you’re playing.
- Our game presents numerous opportunities for the mind to wander. There are long pauses built in, whether between shots or waiting on the tee or green. Successful strategies for dealing with these pauses are:
- Simplify your approach. A player who is truly in the present steps onto the tee and thinks only of how she wants to hit her tee shot. She doesn’t think about what she ought to or will make on the hole. She thinks about her tee shot. She hits it. She accepts it, good or bad. She finds the ball. She thinks about the next shot. She repeats the process until the ball holed or until she’s run out of holes.
- The player who is truly in the present doesn’t constantly evaluate how she’s playing, because that would mean she’s dwelling on the past.
- She doesn’t keep a running tally of her score, attempting to calculate “what she needs” in order to shoot a certain score or break through a threshold. Again, this would mean that she’s dwelling on the past and anticipating the future.
- What you can do successfully is have fun. Talk to your playing partners about whatever you’d like. Enjoy the walk or the ride – THAT’S THE IDEA, ISN’T IT?
You can’t alter what has happened in the past, but you can influence what will happen in the future.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Be POSITIVE, and EXPECT good things relative to your ability. For a few of you, par may be 72. For some of you it will be 90 (bogey golf). Whatever your personal “par” is, don’t lose sight of the fact that you will possibly hit a few perfect shots, a few good shots, a lot of mediocre shots, and a few poor ones. This is the case for every level of player. Your score rarely is the result of how many perfect shots or putts you’ve hit. It’s the result of your mistakes. If you make a better quality mistake, you will be rewarded with a better quality score.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY
Don’t make the mistake of starting out aiming to shoot a particular score. Don’t worry about your score. Just concentrate on the next shot, and add ‘em up at the end.
- In what you observe about the golf hole. (Don’t concentrate on the hazards or possible perils – have a TARGET).
- In your visualization of the shot. Envision a successful result. Ideally a golfer is both competent and confident. If you ever had the choice between competence and confidence, choose confidence every time. Confidence breeds competence. Competence then increases your confidence.
- In your post-shot and post-round analysis. Don’t forget your successes! Think about the good shots. Try to experience again how they felt, how you felt when you hit them. They can be, and should be, the basis for your future visualizations. This will do nothing but increase your confidence and positive attitude.
SMILE! IT’S ONLY GOLF!
Games are not meant to be dominated. They are meant to be an exploration of skill and intellect, your competitiveness, physical prowess, and desire. They should be impossible to master completely, and that adds to the enjoyment.
For example, unless you play with a small child, I’ll bet none of you play tic-tac-toe anymore. WHY?
Because it’s no longer a challenge.
I’m assuming at least some of you play golf because of the challenge. The fact that no one masters golf adds to the enjoyment. Why spend time beating yourself up, or being afraid to try something, if the intention is to have fun? It makes no sense.