When I played golf in the past (actually back about 25 years), extreme bouts of frustration would follow me around the golf course. If I made a poor shot or at least one that I felt should have been better, I would allow my frustration to build until it erupted. I am not proud of this fact, but it is something I think most golfers experience during their journey. My frustration was very much an internal thing, but it would eat away at my ability to play to a point were I had to grind out every shot. Golf was beginning to lose its luster and I actually thought about hanging up my sticks. That is until I made a decision to change!
My decision point to find serenity on the golf course was not a result of monumental moment, but an accumulation on ongoing events. I had to make a decision to change my approach to playing golf or lose my desire to play. So, I decided to change.
It was all about baby steps at the beginning and actually finding a way to make my new approach to golf a reality. Thinking back 25 years, the internet was not as prolific as it is now, so going to the library was my primary source of how to curb my frustration while playing sports.
I read several psychology books (well skimmed to the articles I needed), sports articles, and self help books. It took a year to travel far enough down my journey to be confident that my changes took hold. There was some trial and error, but because I decided to make a change I was all in.
Fast forward 25 years and I am in a great place to play golf. I rarely get frustrated to a point where it affects my game. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel frustration when I make a poor shot, but it is not lasting or lingering. It goes away just as quickly as it boils up.
My approach to golf now hovers in the realm of intent, confidence, and mindfulness. I do not dwell on the negative thoughts and choose to focus on the positive what is next while on the course. I am so happy I made the decision to change because I have enjoyed 25 years of playing the sport I love. What a blessing and how grateful am I.
Making any decision was a challenge. It causes anxiety sometimes, but taking that first step towards a better golf game was like releasing the pressure from my game. It was instantaneous, but I did notice an immediate change. As I move forward, I will continue to enjoy my game and be grateful I made that tough decision so many years ago.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
5 thoughts on “Working Towards Serenity On The Golf Course”
It’s not serenity I want on the golf course. That’s not what I felt when I’ve played my best. I’m in the moment then. And it’s not quiet and peaceful. Not serene. It’s actually quite fast moving. There’s a ton of thinking going on. It’s just focused on what comes next rather than what got me there to begin with.
And when I’m struggling, that’s what I remember. One shot at a time. I can’t do better if I’m carrying past bad shots with me. The 3 I played with Sunday did that and not one of them broke 100. It was like watching a negative feedback loop. It’s not like them and I’m wondering if I need to find us some easier courses to give them a break.
I’ve taken them to some pretty nice but pretty tough courses of late. The last one was especially brutal with all that water and this one wasn’t any piece of cake either. Maybe something easier or something familiar is needed to help get them back on keel? Bad play can drag on you. I noticed it with me earlier and switched us to 3 rounds in a row before leaving to give us a better chance. But they aren’t as advanced as a golfer, don’t have the time to practice I do, and that’s going to make things harder on them. I don’t know. I wish I did. Trying to get them out to the range some evening. We can discuss a little, video our swings a bit to help us work out things. Maybe bring a little more focus to the right things.
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It is a good idea to play an easier course from time to time. It is difficult to always grind out a score (good or bad). Regardless, you seem to have the proper approach and finding your mental stasis is important.
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At one time, my obsession with my score in golf resulted in considerable frustration to the point that It impacted my enjoyment of the game. I was buying the latest gear and practicing as much as I could. I got better, but it didn’t seem to be enough.
It was only when I decided that enjoyment and appreciating the great outdoors and friendships were more important to me. I still try to play well, but it is not the most important thing. Golf is now a more peaceful place for me.
On Sunday, we had close to 50 golfers tee it up on World Hickory Golf Day. It was cool and we got a little wet. My score was respectable but not my best. It did not matter because we had a blast celebrating the history of the game.
The most important thing was playing with my brother and best friend. We started the game together fifty years ago and here we were after all these years. It has been a wonderful journey and that is what is important.
Realigning my golf priorities was the best attitude adjustment I could have made. I have learned to appreciate the camaraderie of friends and playing clubs from 1890 to the present has piqued my curiosity. It is now more of a healthy challenge.
Now I have to get ready to play Heron Point in a couple hours. I am playing with one of my best friends and his brother that is celebrating his 70th birthday. What better way to celebrate than to play with clubs that are even older than us. It will be three old relics playing with three sets of old relics. I love this game.
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After playing a couple of hickory rounds with you, I would say your priorities for playing golf are spot on! Have an awesome season.