Have you ever been so angry on the golf course that you could just spit nails?! The only colour you see is red and nothing short of a miracle could talk you down. Or watching someone stomp around cursing, muttering under their breath or throwing clubs has you taking a step back and waiting for the tempest to past. Well, your instincts are correct and that person is not to be trifled with for the near future. It is at that moment that you realize that that golfer is fighting with the wrong person!
Over the years I watched many a golfer blame a noise, a consistently poor lie, terrible pin placement, a sudden gust of wind and a plethora of other stressors for their poor play. The even point fingers at other players for standing in the wrong position, making noise, or moving during their swing. They basically are fighting all outside influences and cannot see that they are starting a scuffle with the wrong person (or thing).
Before I continue, I have to come clean and say that over the early years of my game, I would be that guy that would blame all outside factors for poor play. I would not really rant and rave, but huffing around was not out of the ordinary. Then about 30 years ago, I played a great deal of golf with my mentor Bob Fortune and he shaped my mental attitude towards golf on a better path. I have not looked back and now I am calm 99.5% of the time.
Getting back to the main thrust of my article; the only person to blame for poor play is the ourselves. Yup, the only finger pointing being done should be that in a mirror. I have learned that I am the only one to control my emotions on the golf course and blaming everyone else only makes me play worse. What picking a fight with all the stressors in golf does is cause a mental breakdown of our ability to focus and stay in the moment.
I have found that accepting that “$h!t happens” and focusing on ‘what is next’ helps me remain even keeled and within a good head space. I accept that poor play is all part of how a golf season unfolds. Don’t get me wrong, I am not always pleased with poor play, but I do not let it define my entire round. A few poor shots are going to happen, so I found that getting over myself is the best path forward.
Picking a fight with anyone but yourself is definitely not the way to shoot your best golf scores. All it does is drain valuable mental energy from your game and leave you frustrated or worse, angry. Finding your zen or at least your equilibrium on the golf course is a path on your journey worth taking; you will not be disappointed when you reach the next fork in your golfing road.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “Fighting With The Wrong Person On The Golf Course”
Jim, very reasoned observations. Every round will not be perfect weather, perfect companionship, and perfect play. Same holds true for players of team sports. I heard Clayton Kershaw describing how he had to change everything about his attitude and game to deal with the distractions and new routines associated with playing in the Covid era.
Hope your next time out is an exceptional one!
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Thanks Brian! Looking forward to it!
I’ve seen clubs broken, clubs tossed into lakes, even shoes tossed from the cart. And I’ve had to listen to threats from other groups and from people in our own group and though those last were directed at other groups, it’s still just no fun when you play with people who can’t control their tempers.
But I have to admit to having a few laughs at the expense of those who lost their temper during a round. And, being competitive, I’ll readily admit to knowingly using their inability to control themselves to my advantage over the years. My last neighbor and I were pretty evenly matched really. But if he played against me, he always lost. I knew how to push his buttons and if he got close, I’d jump all over them. So it’s not just a hindrance to your game one way, it’s also a liability ready to be taken advantage of.
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A competitor through and through; mental games are all.apart of golf for sure. I have fell into the trap a few times myself over the years. Not so much now though.