The Secret to Stop Negative Thinking On The Golf Course

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?

Angry GolferA 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?

  10 comments for “The Secret to Stop Negative Thinking On The Golf Course

  1. Feona King
    December 7, 2012 at 11:26 am

    I read this article and immediately related to it. I play with my husband who is the king of the ‘Back-stride Golfers’. For those of you who don’t know the Back-stride Golfer is the equivalent of the backseat driver. The person who always knows what club you COULD have used, how you SHOULD have hit the ball and where your ball WOULD have landed – at EVERY hole! It is awful, however we are both walkers so after our tee shots we rarely meet up again until the green looms, then the sobbing, sighing and head hanging commences, and no that is not me.
    I really have to work hard on keeping the stinking thinking at bay. It is pernicious it slowly slips its way into your consciousness so you end up believing you are rubbish have no business on a golf course.
    Sorry I have prattled on.
    Enjoyed the article, which enabled me to get this off my chest.

    • Pat Mullaly
      December 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

      I’m sure there are a lot of readers, including me, who can relate!!! It’s so important to play your own game and stay in your own space. Especially if you have a “Back-stride Golfer” determined to “help” you after every shot. One suggestion that might help: find a group of women, a local league of women golfers and play with them. Don’t give up on your rounds with the “boss” but add another round to your schedule, playing with women who are equal to your skill level — even a little better, and you’ll be surprised at how your confidence grows. Other options: take some individual lessons with a teacher you can trust. This will not only build your confidence but give you some added skills. In any event, don’t let your partner discourage you from playing. It’s a great sport and you deserve to enjoy it! Just me thinking.

  2. September 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    1. Yes, you absolutely did the right thing.
    2. If we visualize success (however you define success), you are way ahead of those who speak/visualize their limitations.
    3. The only people you should bring into your life are the people who raise you up. (Even if it’s just with their positive chi.)
    (I’m trying to bring all these words of wisdom to life!)

  3. Ilene Wilson
    September 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I totally agree with Kathy. It’s not really your job to “jolly” someone along because they are having a bad day! And think of all that excercise you got. Go girl

  4. September 11, 2011 at 10:12 am

    You go girl! You did the right thing.
    Sometimes it’s OK to take a more passive route. Engaging him would’ve created more negative thoughts and emotions for you personally. Ultimately, golf is about fun, and when it is not fun because of a playing partner, time to swtich partners!

  5. September 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    This does happen a lot on the golf course. I see golfers that are upset right from the start. It’s like they are expecting to play poorly and sure enough they usually do.

    I like to just do my own thing and keep to myself when golfers are like this and this usually benefits my own game.

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  9. Dayne Gingrich
    September 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    This is such a common experience, & is so frustrating. I teach how to make your mental game priority… ultimately improving your physical.

    I’m not a woman, but I teach many… I would love to contribute to your site with an occasional article on the “golfing mind.”

    Hope to hear from you.

    Dayne Gingrich

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