During golf season here in the northeast, I play a round of golf at least twice a week, often with people I have just met. Most of the time the experience is enjoyable and the spirit, light hearted. Even when the weather is dreary and the balls just fly off in any direction but the right one, the group can laugh at itself.
Golf is a serious game, but you don’t have to take it too seriously. When you do, that attitude can “infect” the entire foursome.
Within the last month I had the opportunity to experience both extremes of attitude on the golf course: playing with a group so serious about the game that the silence could be cut with a knife, and playing with a foursome who, in spite of their low handicaps, just could not put a good shot together.
The first group were good golfers, each one had a lower handicap than I do. As we gathered on the first tee and made our introductions, I quietly hoped to learn a few things from each of them. The weather was fine and the course was in great shape, but somehow the “golf gods” were not favorable. One after the other of my three companions found themselves in the rough, the sand or out of bounds. Even though we all tried to contain the frustration, there was a lot of cursing going on. As we progressed around the course the silence and negative thinking grew, until by the end of the round, no one was talking at all. We all played badly. It was not a fun time.
Two weeks later I was playing the same course with a group of very good golfers. The weather was bleak and rain threatened the entire morning. Still, my three companions shook off the possibility of bad weather and began to play with enthusiasm. Within just the first hole, all four of us found ourselves in the rough, the sand and out of bounds and our putting was impossible. But unlike the first group, we started to laugh. We began to make jokes, bet on who would get in the most sand bunkers, and just generally tease each other about the horrible play. It was a total hoot. By the eighteenth hole we were just glad the round was over. But in spite of the embarrassing scores, we had a great time together.
It’s all in having the right attitude, and I would rather play poorly with a group of fun people, than play poorly with golfers who just take themselves too seriously. Not a one of us will ever be a pro, or rely on our golf for a living. Life is too short. Golf is a game, after all. A game!
Here’s hoping to always play the game with the right attitude.
Here’s a question for you: When the frustration with bad play grows, what do you do?