Getting Mad At Your Golf Partner

If you play in any golf team events, you have to rely on your partner to make some of the shots during your round. Depending on your handicap, the reliance might be a little lob sided. I think that is to be expected because the stronger players have a higher expectation to hit well in the clutch. Unfortunately, some teammates, who think they all that and a bag of chips, allow their ego to run their emotions. Watching opponents walk off the green as they mutter under their breath at the play of their teammates. It is at that point when the cohesion of the team falls apart.

My Men’s Night Team – pretty fine looking crew!

I play many team events. Blair, Rick and Fernando generally make up all the groups I play in tournaments. Fernando (right) is a new addition and is fitting into the team very well. During all our competitions I can honestly say that we get mad when playing. Yup, it is true but we do get mad……at ourselves for missing a shot that we think we should make more often than not.

That is the extent of our disapprovement with each other. We get mad at ourselves. I can honestly say that over the recent years I cannot remember being mad at any of partners. Not even once. I do not see the value of getting mad or disappointed because there is no doubt in my mind that they are always trying to make their best shot possible. Sometimes it works and other times it does not. Besides, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”, right?

My Hakunamatata (pronounced [hɑˈkunɑ mɑˈtɑtɑ]) is a Swahili language phrase from East Africa, meaning “no trouble” or “no worries” and “take it easy” approach to playing in team events was not always how my way. In my early years, my ego would increase my frustration when my playing partner would miss a shot that I thought they should make. I can say that as I became a more experienced player, I realized that my playing partners were trying and I would be less and less frustrated. And then I played in an event with my Mom in 2002 where all things changed.

My Mom taught me many things over the years, but when we played in the Strawberry Classic Tournament I realized that getting mad or frustrated with my playing partners has absolutely no place on the links. She was trying so hard to play well that if her shot was perfect she expressed exasperation and immediately apologized. Around the third hole of the first day, we talked about why she was feeling she was so much pressure to succeed. She said that she did not want to let me down and felt that if she did not play well it would not be fun for me. Well, I was gobsmacked that my Mom would feel that way.

We I asked where why would think that playing together (in any capacity) would not be fun. She thought that would success would rely on her playing well because she was the higher handicapper. This extra self-imposed pressure only made things worse for her and she started to struggle. I kiboshed that idea immediately and asked if I was doing anything to make her feel that way. She said no, but it really made me think about my approach to playing in team events.

From that point forward, I stopped feeling frustrated and in anyone’s play…..including my own. Stuff happens on the course and I can honestly feel that everyone is trying their best to perform. So why get mad or frustrated. Now, I take everything is stride. I do feel frustrated at my own play from time to time, but it does not affect my approach to team events. I am fortunate to have great teammates. We do not stress about too much. We have fun, joke around, talk about strategy, and win every now again.

My turning point of how I approach team events in the past 20 years was shaped by one tournament with my Mom. She is in heaven now and checks in on my golf game from time to time. I am sure she is smiling right now knowing that she had such a tremendous impact on my golf game. I am blessed and grateful for her loving guidance.

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


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