Throwing tantrums?  Read this!


bad golferWatching players lose their temper on the golf course is mostly really funny, unless I am playing in the same group as that person.  Clubs thrown through the air or being bent and broken are suffering as if they were the culprit, causing the poor shot.  As well as being on other players’ blacklists – who wants their enjoyment ruined by someone else’s tantrums – it is creating the ideal conditions for the same pattern of behaviour to continue repeatedly.

Think about the ideal mental and emotional state you feel allows you to play your best golf.  For most people that state will have components like feeling calm, happy and clear headed.  The best players aim to recreate their ideal state every time they play a shot.  It makes perfect sense to approach playing each shot this way, just as it makes perfect sense to ensure you have chosen the correct club.

When the temper tantrum kicks in it moves you as far from your ideal state as you can possibly get.  Any attempt to recover your ideal state is futile.

Your job as a golfer is to do everything you can to retain your ideal state from one shot to the next.  That means your response to a shot will have some impact on whether you can maintain or easily get back that ideal state.

If you hit a poor shot, that doesn’t mean you won’t get upset, because being upset is a normal response.  However there is a big difference between being upset and making the choice to move on, than allowing that annoyance to escalate.  The choice to move on is part of an ideal preparation for the next shot.  Allowing your annoyance to escalate guarantees you won’t be able to recover mentally and emotionally for the next shot, and possibly for the rest of the round!  Far better to make the choice to begin preparing yourself as best you can for the next shot.

There are many different ways to recover emotionally.  They include things like focussing on your breathing, counting to 10 before making any response, putting your attention somewhere else (while watching where your ball goes) or smiling.  These strategies are all to allow you to dissociate yourself from the destructive emotional responses that can occur as the result of a poor shot.

If you are better able to reduce those emotional and behavioural outburst you might lessen my amusement, but you will enjoy your round more and score better.  Oh, and I’ll enjoy your company more on the course.

What is your strategy for recovering from poor shots?

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