I have a few words for all of the golfers out there and I can not express how much you need to take these to heart and place them in your memory bank. These words are for all of the rounds of golf that lay before you. These words are words to use every time you step onto the golf course no matter if it is a tournament, a couple’s night, or a leisurely round with the guys. I know, I know, tell me the words already! Please have patience as I am getting closer to making you enjoy your golf more than ever before.
EXPECTATIONS WILL DESTROY YOUR GOLF GAME. There they are. Those are the words for you to remember and I used capital lettering to express their importance. I have gained total knowledge over all of the years in the golf business of why these words are the best lesson you can ever teach yourself. I can help you on the driving range with fundamentals, swing thoughts, and encouragement. But there is nothing more important than realizing what you are truly capable of when you go to the golf course. Let us be perfectly honest with ourselves. When we watch Phil Michelson flop a shot into the air over three bunkers and land it a foot from the hole, we can not do that. When they show slow motion video of Adam Scott and his seemingly perfect golf swing, we can not do that. When Bubba Watson and Paula Creamer hit it a mile to leave themselves a sand wedge into the hole, we can not do that. When Brandt Snedeker makes every putt he looks at, we can not do that. Those players are blessed by God with a magical talent and have worked countless hours to be able to call it into action when they hit the links. We will never be these people. But what we can do is try harder to understand who we are.
EXPECTATIONS WILL DESTROY YOUR GOLF GAME. I have written this again to remind you of its importance. When we practice our golf game we typically only look at our swing, or our putting stroke, or how we are chipping. The one thing I have seen over and over and over again is that golfers are only concerned with the physical aspect of the game. While I do believe strongly that you should practice your game with a purpose. I believe more that you should be mentally preparing yourself for your round hours before you even play. So now I move on to the meat of this article.
Expectations and golf do not go together. I myself have never had a round where I have meet my expectations of how I should play. Now matter how well I play I am always finding myself wanting more. Words are used after a good round like “well I should have made that 5 footer on hole 12” or “my chipping could have been better” or “I missed too many greens today”. There are many reasons to point out why you did not shoot a career round, but there are even more points you can make for great things you accomplished. Positivity breeds positivity. Negativity breeds negativity. I know which one I want to chose. The hard part is convincing yourself of your ability and what you are capable of on the golf course. Instead of having to high of an expectation for your round, try having small, achievable goals. Tell yourself you want to try to make a putt from beyond ten feet, only three-putt twice, make one birdie, don’t hit a ball in a hazard or out of bounds. These are goals that you can build your round on and it will help you breed that positivity.
I have given so many lessons over the years with players who will remark on how they once played the game a certain way 20 years ago and just can not figure out why they do not still play the same. That is a sure fire way to never be mentally ready. We will never be the person we once were in life, but what we can do is try to excel with who we are now. I have also encountered many people who want to hit a big draw when they are currently hitting a big fade. The chances of us changing our swing, just to try to hit a different shot shape, are going to be low. But something that is more achievable is using our fade to try to hit every fairway with a swing that we know we can repeat. You are so much better off mentally if you accept the tools you have and try to use them to your advantage. The odds are we are never going to be as good as we think we are and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will enjoy the game of golf so much more.
I have merely scraped the tip of the iceberg on the importance of using your mental game instead of your physical game. When you are mentally aware of your abilities and lower your expectations you will see a wonderful door open for you. That door leads to more enjoyable rounds of golf with your friends, your family, and most importantly, yourself. You ultimately have to live with yourself at the end of the day so don’t give yourself a “black eye”. The game of golf is so much fun and we are so blessed to physically able to play. Enjoy the ride and keep it in the fairway!
Adam H. Bowles
Golf Operations Manager
Rumbling Bald Resort