Have you ever let a bad shot ruin an entire round? Have you ever left the course frustrated and upset rather than relaxed? Have you criticised yourself for a rough performance rather than being proud of your improvements?
This is common for many golfers, but it does not have to be this way. I challenge you to read this blog and head out to the course with a fresh attitude focused on worrying less about your score and having more fun. Here’s how and why to do it!
Don’t Keep Score, Have More Fun!
Think about the first time you picked up a golf club and what you felt when that ball left the ground. All that frustration of the first few attempts flew out the window and you thought ‘I’ve got this!’ What were your aspirations after that first practice session, golf lesson, or bash at the driving range?
Did you want to become a social golfer, join a golf club, or become a more competitive type of golfer? The biggest drawcard for most people getting into golf is to get out and have fun.
However, as we get more and more invested in the game and chasing handicaps and birdies, our egos tend to get in the way. This opens the door to frustration, stress, and pressure rather than fun, socialising, and relaxation. Sure, we all want to continue improving, but the process does not have to be draining and stressful.
Growing Your Game
As a professional golf coach, I am a huge advocate for enjoying the game of golf. I want people to get out on the golf course and have as much fun as possible.
During a golf lesson, if a student can’t get the ball off the ground, then why not put it on a tee to build their confidence in getting the ball airborne? The rules of golf state that you cannot tee the ball on the fairway. However, rules are only implemented during competition golf. So if you need to tee up to give your game and confidence a boost, go right ahead!
We as golf coaches want students to get hooked on golf and everything about the game. If we push the rules too aggressively, it completely takes the fun out of the game.
Scoring puts a lot of pressure on most of us, and I believe this is normally the single biggest reason golfers — from beginners to advanced — fall apart during a round. If you are a new golfer and hit a few sub-standard shots, don’t hesitate to pick the ball up and advance it nearer or on the green. Scoring is not the be-all and end-all!
Golf During A Pandemic
Who would have thought that it would take a pandemic for golf to start booming again? I don’t think anyone saw that coming! And whilst it has been great that here in Sydney, we are still able to golf, it brings on different types of stresses and frustrations.
My advice is to count ourselves lucky, appreciate that we are still able to get out on the golf course, don’t worry about the score, and clear our minds the best we can. After all, it’s just a game! Don’t get caught up in the technical stuff, just go out there and enjoy it!
Social Golf And Golfing Holidays
Next time you book a social round or a golf trip (when we are allowed to again!!), go in with the mindset of just enjoying the round and take in the golf course you are playing on.
If you happen to play The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, don’t go and try to break Rory McIlroy’s winning score of -13 or try to emulate Phil Mickelson’s heroics.
Instead, just challenge yourself to hit shots that you can visualize. If you happen to hit it into one of the million hazards, don’t worry too much about the penalty that you should be taking.
On your home course, if you hit it out of bounds, drop a ball near where the ball went out or retrieve it and just go from there. If you are playing socially, perhaps include some friendly match play so you can still feel you improved or won a hole.
Remember the Good Shots and Forget the Bad Ones
I would say most rounds unravel when someone hits one bad shot and then continues to dwell on it for the ENTIRE round! Entering into a round with the mindset of beating a score will not benefit anyone.
Instead, focus on the positives from a well-struck drive, a clipped chip shot, or a 20 foot holed putt. Remembering your good shots per round will help you gain more confidence when it comes to golf games that need to count.
Ready To Have More Fun on the Course?
I truly believe that golf is meant to be a fun and social sport. Next time you are out, try placing less focus on your score and more emphasis on enjoying yourself, the scenery, and the unique challenges of each hole.
Let’s leave the serious stuff to the professionals who are competing for their livings.