We have experienced the challenges of playing on a golf team where your playing partners are struggling to make a shot. No matter what they try, nothing seems to work and they are a drag on the team. I have been that player in the past and I am sure I will be in the future. The question is what to do to make things better for the player and the team. Is it possible to fix the poor playing quandary and fast?
Over the years, I have followed and implemented mid round changes to improve the overall score of the team. Some have worked and others were less successful. Regardless of the result, the following observations help guide my views of playing golf on a struggling team:
- Don’t Take It Personal. No matter what we might think, every player is doing their best to score well. It weighs on the shoulders as much as for the person struggling and the rest of the team. Don’t take it personal because it really is not!
- Check your Ego. Because you are not playing up to your expectations, do not compound the situation by trying low percentage shots for your game. Your ego will tell you that you need to gain the confidence of the rest of the team in one stroke and that is just not possible. Check your ego and play shots that you are confident you can make; even if is to play the ball 100 yards down the fairway on your second shot on a par 5. At least you will be in play and that is always helpful for a team.
- Take a back seat on the strategy. When I am not playing well, I ask my team what they want me to play. Sometimes, I will be asked to hit a 7-iron 150 yards in play. Other times I am told to swing away and see what happens. Regardless, during those times I follow the lead of the players that are hitting the ball well and try to contribute to their strategy.
- Change team positions. Every team sets their hitting rotation based on the strengths of the players. My preference is off the tee as the key factor for hitting position. If someone is struggling, I prefer them to hit first, at least we can recover from there. Nothing worse than piling more pressure on a player deep in the rotation who is struggling. Moving them up in the hitting rotation will help the overall score of the team.
- Golf is only a game. Everyone struggles at one time or another. We must keep in mind that golf is only a game and we are playing to have fun. Of course we all want to do well for the team, but ultimately stuff happens. Worry less and enjoy the round.
Struggling with our golf game is a part of the journey. We all wish we were playing ‘lights out’ all the time, but alas that is not possible. There are many times when our team has changed its fortunes for the good by following the above advice. It really is a matter of staying in the moment and accepting what is happening at the time. And if nothing else, remember to be grateful you can play golf.
Stay safe everyone!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!