“I am Quitting Golf”

That is it, I have had enough! I am quitting golf!

How many times have you heard someone walking exasperated off the course, only to mutter those terrible words. They weave a tail of the course being too difficult, they have an injury or that their clubs are not suited for their game. I think that over 35+ years, I have heard almost every reason why someone is quitting golf. And not to my surprise, I see most of them on the links a couple of days later!

Proclaiming that it is time to quit golf is something I have never even considered. I have taken sometime off because of life, but to quit…..never! I guess I have been blessed with the desire to continue playing no matter how frustrated I feel when my game does not meet my expectations!

Having been around golf for so long, I believe that your ego and not managing your expectations about your golf game is what evokes the greatest stress and frustration while playing.

I have talked to players who play 5 to 10 times a year and expect they can keep up with players who actively improve their game. It is possible that someone can compete for a hole or two, but over the long haul, the player who does not play often usually fails to meet their expectations. As a result they walk away from their round feel frustrated and disappointed in their play.

I have also talked to players who play 50 rounds a year and have the same problem as described above. Yet, they refuse to change the way they play. Overall, it is an ego or expectations issue which prevents players from enjoying their round and uttering that they should quit golf.

I have talked about ego and expectations before and won’t repeat myself. However, there is a point to my diatribe. I am playing golf with my friend in just over a week on his home course. When we play, I will not have swung a club in about one month. Normally, I offer him strokes to even things out. I am not so sure I am willing to give him strokes this time (actually I might ask for stokes ) but that will be negotiated when I get to his house.

More importantly, I have to check my ego and expectations at the door. I am not suggesting that I will not try and score low, but I must keep in mind that I will be rusty and when things do not go the way I expect, to remain calm and remember that I am golfing in November! I must keep in mind that I am playing golf with my friend instead of working. I must keep in mind that no matter how I score, I must remain grateful for the opportunity to play golf on a new course.

I am looking forward to playing golf soon! And am very confident that I will be playing golf for a long, long time!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Creating a Winning Mindset in Golf

Have you ever wondered why certain players are always in the winner’s circle? When the pressure increases during the finishing holes of a match, these players remain calm and execute winning strokes without hesitation. Many experts point towards great form, a balanced approach to golf or confidence from hitting a winning shot a thousand times. But is that really all that is needed to play winning golf?

I agree with most of what the pundits suggest, but I also believe there is more to winning in golf than a great swing. Of course, that is the basis of any world class golfers, but there is more to winning than strong fundamentals.

A winning mindset is as important as perfect mechanics. It is critical to have a mindset where all self doubt is non-existent when making that crucial shot. Your mind should be focused on a positive result and not the possibility of failure!

Developing a winning mindset, like developing a soft touch around the green, takes practice and positive intent to stay in the “winning zone”. Training your mind to stay in the moment and successful aspect of winning at golf is challenging and easily achievable.

There are many methods to develop a winning mindset. Here is what I developed over the years:

First, positive visualization. I focus on making various strokes in my mind. I will take the time to sit quietly and visually play sand shots, chip shots, or driving the ball in the centre of the fairway. I will try to mentally and systematically work through all aspects of my swing without a club in my hand. Of course, all strokes are fantastic shots that have awesome results. I use this technique quite often during the off season.

Second, I focus on successful shots when practicing. Most players will analyze the missed shot and what the did wrong. I like to analyze the great shots. I focus on what I did right and ingrained those movements in my mind. I memorize how everything felt, sounded and looked. By focusing on the great shots, your mind will be trained to reproduce that same shot under pressure because of the positive feeling of success when making your golf swing.

Lastly, I practice difficult shots. I will push the ball deep in the grass. Hit chip shots from a divot. I will plug my ball in the sand trap before making that game winning stroke. During each of these difficult shots, I tell my mind that a tournament is on the line and that I must make a great shot to win. By framing the situation, I am creating the same conditions expected during a tournament. When I make an amazing shot, I take the time to think about the successful stroke and I want to duplicate it later.

My approach may seem a bit odd, but developing a winning mindset is part of developing a growth mindset in golf. Changing how we look at each stroke is important to executing the right shot under pressure. Focusing on the positive aspects of your golf swing will strengthen your mind and develop the positive results expected while playing golf.

My off season has started and so has my path to a winning mindset in golf.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Golfing at a New Course

Golfing at a new golf course can be daunting. The unknown is always challenging and can have detrimental effects on the mental aspects of golf. Most amateurs will fill their minds with self-doubt once the excitement of a new adventure on the links runs it course. Personally, I love playing new golf courses because of the challenge it provides my overall golf game.

In a couple of weeks, I will be playing golf in the United Kingdom with my best friend. We plan on playing at his home course at the Northwood Golf Course in Middlesex, UK. I am excited to play there and I am mentally preparing myself for an awesome time on the links!

To prepare to play at a new golf course, I use visualization, positive thinking, and research to help shoot the best score I can. Since my golf season is over in Canada, I will need to focus more on the mental side of my game to ensure the rust of inactivity does last very long.

There are a few aspects I like to focus on before playing a new course. These things help me score low and enjoy my time on the course.

First, I play a bit more conservatively than normal. I focus more on course management, try to leave my approach shots at around 100 yards, and do not challenge hazards. By playing more focused golf, I tend to score better.

I spend a bit more time on the putting green. Most of the time, the most strokes are lost on the greens. By learning the roll of the green, the length of the grass, and some subtile aspects of the breaks of the greens, my scores stay relatively consistent.

Lastly, I focus on hitting off the tee. Using my driver is not always the smartest play when faced with unknown shots. However, I try keeping the ball in play more than normal and sometimes that means using a different club than driver off the tee. It is important to park my ego at the clubhouse.

Playing a new course can be both challenging and fun. Personally, I like both aspects when playing a course for the first time. I will have that chance soon and I will let you know how it went! Do you like playing new courses?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!