Playing “Never Quit” Golf

If you ever play competitive golf the emotional ups and downs wears on our golf psyche. It is mentally tough remain focused during a 4 or 5 hour round when you are trying not to make mistakes that add to your score. I have found that over the many years of competition, how I align my thoughts determined the results recorded on my scorecard. Finding my mental strength on the links led to winning tournaments. After understanding the power of a positive, focused mindset, I now face all aspects of my game with a never give up attitude and you can too!

I remember the year that my mental attitude was adjusted and created the paradigm for success in future golf tournaments. I had returned to full time golf after about 10 years of on and off playing. It all started in 1990 when I made the CFB Borden Military golf team. I was thrilled to be on the team as the 5th and last player because I was fortunate enough to beat out 8 other competitors.

While preparing for the 54 hole event, my mentor at that time (Bob Fortune) played several practice rounds with me in order to help fine tune my game before the competition. Through the many on course lessons, I felt that my game was starting to move towards a new direction.

It was not until we were sitting in the clubhouse having a beverage after one of our practice rounds that I realized I was at a fork in the road. During our conversation, Bob mentioned that my approach to my game held me back because my mental strength was lacking. He mentioned that I was focusing on not making a poor shot and gave up on the hole when I actually hit that poor shot. This approach added about 5 strokes around because I gave up; at that time, those 5 strokes was the difference between an 80 and an 85.

I was curious about what he meant and pressed the conversation a bit more. Bob told me that I had a pretty consistent game when I was in a positive competitive frame of mind. By focusing on what I wanted to happen, I was able to hit more achievable shots. By focusing on the results of each shot regardless of what had happened before would go a long way to improving my game. Lastly, he told me to stop giving up on a hole. Everyone makes a poor shot from time to time and it is what we do after that determines the score. To this day, I follow that advice with great success.

To drive my point home, the day of the 54 hole competition Bob took me aside and gave me the best advice on how to approach my first military golf competition. We both knew I was not going to win the low individual score (at that time), but he and the team needed me to play to my handicap. Sporting a 12 handicap at that time meant I should shoot 80 on my home course where the competition was being held. I took Bob’s advice to heart and focused on staying positive, never giving up on a hole, and hitting shots that were in my wheelhouse.

As it turned out, I shot my handicap over the three rounds. I started with an 81, then 79 and finished with an 80. I was through the roof with excitement for playing my best golf. Our team easily won the tournament (prize was a pennant for the Base), Bob won low score, and I finished a very respectable 7th place overall. Bob congratulated me for playing very well; which at that time meant more that the other accolades the team received. The advice Bob gave me during our time together changed my whole approach to golf.

There are times when I hit real stinkers on the golf course. I now take it with a grain of salt and focus on my next shot. My mental strength is much stronger now than ever and it is due to a decision I made 33 years ago. To be fair, the journey has not always been smooth. I have questioned my approach from time to time, but I always revert back to the basics of remaining positive and playing never quit golf!

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


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