Good Golfers Have Good Days – Everyday

I once had a friend tell me that leaders have great days every day.  My initial reaction to his comment was pure skepticism.  How can someone have a great day every single day?  There is just no way.  People get upset about little things in their day all the time.  They get pissed off about traffic, politics, expenses, fights with family or loved ones and a plethora of other things.  This is true in life and even more out on the golf course.

How many times have you played a round with someone who gets overly frustrated by bad shots in their round?  They might throw clubs, swear or declare the game idiotic and renounce playing it ever again.  I have seen people break clubs, walk off the course and simply give up on their round before.  Since this is most common among amateur golfers and weekend warriors, I started to think more about what characteristics I see among average golfers and good golfers.

Average golfers let the little things get to them.  They are unable to move onto the next shot and fight back to salvage their round after a bad shot or a bad score on a hole.  There seems to be a point where the average golfer lets outside factors get to him more than the pros do.  Don’t get me wrong, we have all seen Tiger throw his clubs, curse and WD from tournaments.  For the most part professional golfers don’t show their negative emotions even if they are feeling them.  They are able to give off the appearance of a calm demeanor even when they hit balls in the water or double bogey holes.  They simply move on.

It is unrealistic to think that the pros don’t get pissed off and angry when they are playing poorly and a lot of their post round interviews reflect that.  They are never satisfied with their swing, putting stroke or score.  They are constantly thinking they could have done better, but they don’t show their negative emotions on the course like most amateurs do.  Why is this?  Because being able to control their emotions is a large reason they are in fact professional golfers.  It is the mark of a good golfer.  All of us could take a page out of KJ Choi’s book on golf course behavior and demeanor.  The guy doesn’t get rattled.

Think back on your past few rounds.  How many times did you blurt out a negative comment about the course or your game?  Did it help you play better?  Probably not and I include myself in this category.  The next time I go out and play I am going to set the goal to not say one single negative comment.  This doesn’t mean I won’t think it, but I simply won’t say them out loud to my playing partners.  Give it a shot and see how it helps your focus and ability to move on to the next shot.  I think you will be surprised.

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4 Comments to “Good Golfers Have Good Days – Everyday”

  1. Good advice thanks. Have you tried giving yourself a pep talk after a blown shot? Weird feeling not to self-criticize and actually go in the opposite direction but it definitely helps you forget the mistake more quickly and to refocus.

  2. I have never given myself a pep talk after a bad shot. Can you share an example of a pep talk you would suggest? That is an interesting concept.

  3. Learned this technique in Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect by Rotella, chapter 11. I’ll paraphrase: After a bad shot you have two choices, to get frustrated, criticize yourself, and seethe with anger, which in turn will increase your tension, OR stay positive, loose, and keep rippin’ it towards your target. The easiest way to stay positive is to forget all expectations on the first tee, specifically with regard to score and results and get immersed in the process. Know that you’ll make mistakes and treat each one as an unfortunate expectation. Walter Hagen expected to make seven mistakes per round, and as they happened just ticked them off as expected. This is the best way to stay calm and patient. Sounds like a bunch of psycho babble but it really works.

    My mantra is really quite simple when I hit a bad shot, I just say, “Brian, you’re not perfect and your gonna make mistakes, now let’s go.” I’ve also found it helpful not to add my score up after nine holes and just keep playing. If someone asks me what I shot, I tell them we’ll add it up at the end and find out. This helps keep you in the present when you’re playing bad and really works well when you’re playing good (out of your comfort zone). Be honest, when you get on a hot streak, you start thinking score, right? Wrong approach, just take it shot by shot and accept the results. Hope this helps.

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