Golf may look physical, but it is 90% a mind game. I think it was the famous golfer, Bobby Jones that said most of golf is played between your ears. If you don’t think you can make a golf shot, you probably won’t. On the other hand if you play with confidence and optimism and believe you can hit the ball to your target, you’ve got a good chance of doing just that.
A few posts ago I wrote a review about a new CD that promises to help develop your own positive approach to the game of golf: Accessing Your Inner Champion. It’s getting great reviews from the people with whom I have shared its message. And I am working it into my golf practice schedule so that my mental game is slowly improving.
So I’m getting my own game together. I’m focused on positive thinking, playing smart golf and believing in my ability to make the next shot count.
But what do you do when, in spite of your best efforts, your day at the golf course is surrounded by negative thinking?
A couple of weeks ago I arrived at the golf course for a round and was paired with some people I had never met before. One guy was pleasant but the other two were far from friendly. The fellow who joined me in my cart must have just had a major fight with his boss, or eaten a bad piece of pizza. From his very first drive, he complained about his golf. He had played so well two days before on this very course, he said, and now, he just couldn’t get his game together. And it was true. He was slicing and dicing his ball, topping it, hooking it, just playing without any real control. I tried to encourage him but he was not open to any advice from me. He just continued moaning and groaning about what a lousy round of golf he was having.
For the first five holes I tried to ignore him as much as I could, but it’s hard when you are riding along in a cart listening to a constant drone of negative thinking and his attitude was really beginning to affect my game. I even began to feel guilty when I hit a good shot.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to be direct and told him to just stop talking. He didn’t like that. We were now at the eighth hole and at that point I just got out of the cart, grabbed the next club I needed and headed off down the fairway. He didn’t like that either. But it helped clear my head a bit.
I never got back in his cart. When we got to the turn, I told my companion I needed the exercise, rented a pull cart and continued on to the tenth tee box. It was deceptive, I know. But the direct method didn’t seem to work, so I decided for the sake of my game, to just go the passive route.
It’s bad enough to have “stinking thinking” inside your own head. Hard to turn it off sometimes. But one key secret to stopping negative thinking coming at you from your companions is to just walk away. Which is what I did.
Did I do the right thing?