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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Wrong With My Game? Or Is It My Attitude?

I've found myself over the last couple of weeks more often than not leaving the golf course feeling frustrated, vaguely dissatisfied, irritable -- not the kinds of feelings I want to be having at the end of a round of golf.

I've been blaming it on my game.  It's not been good enough -- I'm in a slump.   I've had too many 3-putts.  I need more distance off the tee.  My chips are coming up short and off-target.  The litany of my inadequacies had gotten way too long.  I was overwhelmed.

Then I ran across an article in Golf Digest about mental tips.  We all know golf is played in a small space -- Ben Crenshaw says about five inches, the distance between his ears.

I was desperate.  I wanted to feel good about my game and enjoy the time I spend on the golf course again.  I read the article, still convinced that the problem was my game.  I was wrong, very wrong.

Even though I'm neither a beginner nor a pro, Arnold Palmer explained my problem to me.
Arnold Palmet. Photo credit: www.golfdigest.com
The whole secret to mastering the game of golf -- and this applies to the beginner as well as the pro -- is to cultivate a mental approach to the game that will enable you to shrug off the bad days, keep patient and know in your heart that sooner or later you will be back on top.
I'd forgotten to be patient, do my best to stay in the short grass and wait for the breaks, to play my game as best I can today and to have faith in that game.

I gave it a test run today.  I hit some terrific drives, and some that weren't.  Some of my chips were right on target, and some were poorly aimed.  I made a couple of ups and downs that drew cheers from my foursome.  I got across the pond on the 8th hole -- always a joyous moment in my round -- and then ten holes later, with the makings of a very nice back-9 on my card, hit my 2nd shot on the 18th fairway off the toe of my 3-wood and sent my ball into the lateral water hazard, something I've never done before.  Good heavens!

Judged by my card, I didn't have an exceptional game.  But judged by my insides when I tossed my clubs into the back of my car, I had a perfectly wonderful round of golf.