By Sunday, he was rapidly running out of gas, a situation that was obvious from some uncharacteristically loose ball-striking over the early holes. Invariably metronomic between tee and green, the year-old from Turin was forced to rely on his short game during his battle with Woods. He was, as became apparent on the fateful 12th hole, an accident waiting to happen. On Sunday, when the adrenaline kind of went down, I felt how much I was spending energy-wise. In those circumstances you ask a lot to your body, and then at some point you're going to pay a price for it.
In a way it was good I missed the cut. That gave me the weekend off to recover a bit more. As far as that belated inspection is concerned, Molinari was quick to point out how he had actually hit the ball better on the back-nine than the front, apart from the two destructive shots that both found water on the 12th and 15th. But it was a struggle to build momentum when I was struggling to save par the whole time.
On the back nine, I obviously hit a couple of bad shots, but there were a lot of good swings as well, under pressure. They should paint a picture near the green, trying a little bit of this and a little of that. So what can the average golfer do differently?
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Sandy LaBauve emphasized putting. On the pro tours, the best players in the world are constantly checking those four things and all the other golfers in the world never check them. I am going to stand up for us, the Everyday Golfer. I did check my alignment in a mirror positioned behind my stall at the driving range last week.
That cheap green jacket I was wearing does not fit me well. Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser. But don't let the observer comment on anything else you're doing and instruct them carefully that you do not care at this moment about the outcome of your shot, but only in the process.
This is crucial. A keen observer, especially if he or she is a friend, will always want to say a lot when invited to critique your game. But if you're working on something in particular, tell that person to keep all these other thoughts to himself. Try to set realistic expectations for your game over time. For example, if a professional golfer hits a drive into the woods, he's momentarily frustrated and then quickly moves on to consider his next shot. It's a freak occurrence. No use investing it with any meaning whatsoever.
If a handicapper does the same thing, however, he is likely to get frustrated and angry and stay that way for a while. His reaction borders on outrage, as if fate has dealt him an unfair hand or as if the bad shot reflects a moral failure of his own. And yet, unlike the pro, the amateur golfer almost always hits a ball into trouble. It's the unalterable, undeniable consequence of his real level of ability. I certainly believe that someone's game can dramatically improve quite suddenly, and I've certainly experienced a golf game that's very suddenly fallen apart.
But the fact remains that there is a role for some simple reality-testing in the midst developing self-awareness: namely, that someone who is a 15 handicap is going to average 17 or 18 strokes above par in any given round and thus chunking, slicing, duck-hooking, blading, yanking, pushing, and-yes-even shanking are going to be apt descriptors of some of your shots on most days you play.
Feel Well, Play Well: Amazing Golf Through Whole Health
Think about this reality when you find yourself starting to lose it. Step back. Laugh at yourself. Share the laugh with a friend. Think about how ridiculous it is to hook your self-esteem to something as simple and ultimately meaningless as a golf swing. Instead, consider the possibility that you could invest golf with other meanings, meanings that don't guarantee helplessness, anger, and self-condemnation.
Perhaps you want to experience a feeling of athleticism, or learn again to "play" like you did as a kid. Perhaps you want to have the satisfaction of seeing yourself master a challenge and get better at a physical skill, or to enjoy the social life available in a foursome. Perhaps you want to experience the intensity and focus that comes with competition , and the satisfaction and pride that comes with victory, or enjoy the exercise, the beauty of the natural surrounding. Or perhaps you want to use golf to explore yourself, to understand more deeply how you think and feel when you succeed and when you fail.
All these ambitions are healthy ones. None of them require the type of self-critical intolerance that afflicts the average golfer. Bobby Jones once said, "Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course - the distance between your ears. Excellent post. I'm not a golfer, so I can't claim any expertise.
A fellow I know who has Frustrated Golfer Syndrome, however, tells me that golf's singular emotional value is that when he gets out on the course, he immediately becomes so angry and frustrated at the events on the golf course that he forgets all about how angry and frustrated he is about events in his life. On a brain level, this may be like slapping the wall to distract yourself from the pain of having hit your thumb with a hammer. On a psychological level, it may be a useful mapping, as you suggest -- placing life's conflicts into a more manageable arena, at least in theory.
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But if that approach is going to work, then golf should be at least a little bit easier than life. Is it? It's one of the few sports where there are moments that a rank amateur can hit a ball every bit as good as Tiger Woods What about a golfer who is also an instructor Hashtag damaged goods! I really enjoyed this post and I'm sending this to my husband a clinical psychologist and true student of the game whose own view regarding golf very much reflects yours.
I however have been known to sulk in the cart for a few holes after a particularly bad shot.
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About the time I start to notice how beautiful the day is, is usually about the time I decide that that maybe I'm not such a failure as a human, and that I'll try again on the next hole. Your article has given me some material to help bring back that sense of persepctive even more rapidly the next time I play. I could not disagree more, I believe that I have some sound fundamentals and a good swing, the problem does lie in the unreal expectations I set for myself and how I have not applied the relaxation techniques I have learned on the course.
The one time I was able to do this I posted a 40 for 9 holes. Thank you for helping me to realize that it is just a game and I truly believe that with a different focus I will actually enjoy my next round. The frustration was as great today as any I have ever experienced. I was the guy you talk about in the article. I am rational enough to understand that as a 20 handicapper, I am not very good, do not practice often enough, and have not gotten enough instruction to be better.
The anger at the bad results simply isn't warranted. Golf isn't necessarily progressive like weightlifting. Your point about awaress is well taken. I will take the lessons of your article with the course we will be playing tomorrow. I trust they will help. I have been the self abusing, club throwing, ground slamming, shaft snapping golfer described in your article ever since I took up golf aged 12 now Often fuming around the course wondering why on earth I give up valuable time to play the game, but always returning and repeatedly trying to attain perfection.
I've tried for years to conquer this, reading a lot of the available golf psychology books Rotella, Galwey etc , which have never worked for more than a few holes, at which point I would blow up after the 3rd or 4th poor shot of the day.
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When I read your article, what I realised was missing was an explanation of why I was behaving like this, rather than just distraction techniques to try to prevent it from happening. I've found your explanation completely enlightening and smiled several times in recognition of my own behaviour and in realisation of why it was happening. Since reading it a few times now , I've played 3 times, have not blown up once, and have shot in the 70's each time in wintry, wet and windy conditions.
It's early days, but I really feel like I've got the monkey of my back once and for all. I am a female golfer and once again feel I'm being excluded even in this article. There is this misconception that women are not competitive and don't care how they score. That is just not true! I get so down on myself I am ready to call the suicide hotline. Please stop excluding women when talking about golf psychology.
I'd like to add that I can relate to every single word of this post. The self ridicule, the high expectations, the self worth wrapped up in a round of golf or a shot. My boyfriend is the guy you described in the article. I'm a frustrated golfer and full of hate for myself on the golf course.
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I guess what makes it so hard for me to fail at this game is that I believe golf is the only part in life where everything depends only on me. If I suck in life, there could be plenty of reasons for it. Many or some of them I'm not responsible for: Fate, wrong place, wrong time, false people, bad boss, wrong teammates, partner didn't fit etc etc. But in golf everything comes to myself. So I try to master this game in the hops, this time it would be a fair challenge.
So when I fail in golf, there is only one to blame for: Me.