1) Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff
The biggest mistake I see golfers make is that they get bent out of shape over every little thing. How far the ball goes, how straight it flies, whether or not you sink a putt… these things don’t matter! They don’t. Golf is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be relaxing. You’re supposed to enjoy your time outside and with friends or family on the course. If you are constantly angry and stressed about how poorly you think you are playing, then what’s the point? Chill out! Golf should feel good! Even if you aren’t a great golfer (and who isn’t?), if you can remember this one simple fact: don’t sweat the small stuff, then your game will improve by leaps and bounds! This sounds so simple but I have seen so many people get angry over little mistakes they might have made while playing golf that it makes me sick sometimes… literally just thinking about it gets me nauseous! So remember: don’t sweat the small stuff. If something happens like a bad shot or an errant putt, just shrug it off and move on without letting yourself get upset over it. That way when we read #2 below (if we ever do), everything will be much easier to deal with. I had a golfing accident over the summer where I hit my drive right into some trees. It was a terrible shot, into some horrible rough, and I had to take a penalty stroke. The first thing that ran through my mind wasn’t “Wow, what an awful shot.” Instead it was “Oh well… it happens.” When you have this attitude about golfing mistakes, then bad shots and missed putts are no longer such a big deal!
2) No Excuses – Learn from Your Mistakes
Now that we’ve talked about not letting yourself get upset over little mistakes… let’s talk about what to do when you make those same mistakes over and over again. Let’s say you keep slicing your drives or your putts keep curling left. What should you do? Well there are two things: 1) don’t make excuses for why you did poorly (it might be because of how hard the wind is blowing or it might be because of how tired you are after playing 36 holes yesterday), and 2) try to figure out why it happened so that next time it doesn’t happen again! If there is one thing I hate on sports television more than anything else in the world, it’s when an athlete makes excuses for something they did wrong. I’m not talking about a bad break where something happens that they couldn’t have predicted. I’m talking about when someone misses an easy lay-up or drops an easy reception in football, and then the commentators say to themselves “Well maybe if he had run a little faster or jumped a little higher” (or whatever). NO! It’s not your fault! Don’t make excuses for yourself. Once you do this, you will never improve because you will always expect to miss the next shot and your confidence will dwindle. Don’t be like those athletes on television; don’t be one of those golfers who doesn’t learn from their mistakes. If you are going to keep slicing your drives, then figure out why it happened and try really hard not to do it again. If you keep hitting the ball fat, then figure out why it happened and try to do it again. Or maybe you just need to accept that your slice is a part of your game and focus on other things (like how cute your caddie is… I bet he’s really cute).
3) Be Easy on Yourself
Another thing that I see people do all the time is get angry at themselves when they don’t play well. Every time a golfer misses a putt or three-putts, they get really upset with themselves, angry that they are playing so poorly. You should never be mad at yourself while playing golf because there are so many variables in the game that even if you play great it’s hard to always make good shots! For example: if you are playing fast greens (the green is covered with little ridges), then chip shots have an increased chance of not making it into the hole.
Golf is supposed to be fun! You should not be angry or upset when playing golf. If you are having a bad day, just play another round and don’t worry about it. Golf is supposed to relax you, not make you stressed out over every little mistake that happens on the course. So just take a deep breath, try your hardest and forget that there’s even such a thing as strokes or pars; just have fun out there!