I was chatting with someone today who is a great golfer but admits to suffering a certain degree of anger issues when the game isn’t going his way. The last time he played he was one under after 10 holes, which in must amateur golfers books is pretty damn good. But the wheel came off on the 11th.
His drive whipped off in the wrong direction, which might not have caused as bad an outcome as he allowed it to, had he kept his temper in check. The driver was flung across the course, his bag was hoisted onto his shoulder and off he walked. One hundred yards later he decided that perhaps he should retrieve the errant club after all. He then walked home.
Many golfers are familiar with this type of sorry tale. To feel this intense anger and to allow this enormous sense of frustration to flood your mind and body is not a good feeling. In fact, it is a terrible feeling and stays with you for a long time afterwards. The intensity of the emotion experienced is in fact what embeds the memory even more deeply in your mind that it otherwise would.
This unchecked anger completely ruins the game of golf. And so if you ever thought you might enjoy the game or if you want to enjoy it in future it is well worth looking around to find a new way of dealing with these feelings.
Emotions like these are easier to change than most people think. Most of us simply shrug our shoulders and think to ourselves that “this is how I am”. Well, if you want to enjoy this great game, thats not an acceptable thought and you should bin it immediately and find a better thought process.
Here is a contrasting golf mind set which you could choose to employ. Another friend emailed me this week detailing her last three holes on a round of golf at Stanford.
She certainly had a dramatic finish. Hole 16 is a par 5. She hit a 30 yard drive, an ok second shot and then hooked her third shot into a tree on the left. She got lucky with where the ball ended up in the rough and it a beautiful approach shot straight at the pin. Unluckily it bounced off the green to the side on the right, she chipped to the green and sank a 7 foot putt to save bogie. Not bad after two pretty bad shots.
Hole 17 is a par 3. She again hit a horrible and very short drive, and managed to hit her second into a bunker. From there she made it out onto the green and managed to make a 90 degree putt on a horribly fast and treacherous green to save another bogie. On hole number 18 (another par 5) she admits to the fact that she was now pretty fed up with her previous drives and so paid extra attention!
Her mental strategy paid off and she hit a ridiculously long drive which left only a 150 yard downhill lying approach shot. She choked down her 170 club and hit a beautiful shot straight at the pin. The ball rolled off the second cut of rough at the back which left a 66 foot shot. She tried to putt but the ball only went 10 feet. She said she felt so mad at herself! But she gathered herself together to nail a 56 foot putt for a birdie. As she says “never say golf is boring”.
I like her style. I like her mindset. She didn’t let the frustration lead to anger; instead she turned it into a challenge which she rose to in admirable fashion. Everybody can make this mental switch happen if only they would choose to do so.
Roseanna Leaton, avid golfer and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.