Tips How to Overcome Golf Frustration-Golf is a Love-Hate Relationship!
Did You See Where My Club Went?
So who is the worst guy you have played golf with, temper wise that is? The worst guy I play with, temper wise, is me. This is a beautiful game that will drive you completely nuts, at least temporarily My first year learning this wonderful game I broke two sets of cheap clubs. My second year I managed to keep it down to just one set, pretty pathetic huh. I have gradually gained some control over my emotions, but it took a lot of ups and downs to show me that it is always like that.
I am chastising myself because, one I deserve it, and two he without sin cast the first stone. I have played with guys who had tempers, or lost tempers worse than mine, but all I could do was remember those massive mid coarse meltdowns I had. A guy at our club flung his wedge about fifty yards and it landed in the top of a tree. After he calmed down everyone waited for him to retrieve his club, he disappeared in shame for several months. I totally sympathize with him on both counts, first I understand the frustration, second I understand the embarrassment.
What is the answer to this grip that golf can have on our minds and bodies to cause us to act like we are five years old all over again. A tantrum is an ugly thing, but a much uglier thing when you are an adult and other adults are watching you lose it. Can it be controlled once and for all and how can someone avoid this problem from the start. It is not only reserved for control nuts and overachievers either, the most mild mannered person you know may implode on the golf course.
I think what really woke me up the most was first, almost hurting someone else during a tantrum, and then almost severely hurting myself, a sad case indeed. It was the five woods fault not my bad swing so it must pay. A good hard over the head toss into the ground in front of me shattered the shaft into three separate pieces with the club head and jagged shaft end just missing my jugular vein on the way back. The golfer I almost hurt wasn't anything this dramatic, but it didn't have to be for me take a good hard look at what I was doing.
Anyone will tell you that golf is a frustrating game, but I have not meet anyone who is or was prepared for how frustrating, golf takes frustration to a new level. I racked my brain to figure out how I might have avoided the bad behavior from the start, of course it's a little late now. I have come a long way since then with very few anger outburst and very rarely break something, still a work in progress but much better. I help friends and amateurs with their golf swings and the fundamentals so I wanted a way to help with the inevitable frustration.
I also realized that not everyone reacts the same or like I did, different personalities handle it differently. It seems to me that high expectation was really where I went wrong and really believed I would be a good golfer in no time at all, it didn't work out that way. It takes a long time to learn this game to a point where you are performing the various shots to a satisfactory degree. The golf swing is ridiculously complicated and simple at the same time creating a conundrum. So many things in golf are counter intuitive and leave you wondering why it doesn't work. You want the the ball to go up in the air but you are told you must hit down on the ball. You are told not to swing with your arms but to use your core when there is no doubt that your arms do swing through. It seems like a medieval torture goon has it in for you and has cast golf down on you.
I tell my story as example to people taking up this game as a clear warning of what to expect. I make an effort to paint a clear picture of the road ahead in the hopes that they may avoid the pitfall I fell into. My thinking that I would be at a certain level by a certain time was my first mistake. Not getting any professional lessons was the second and expecting big results just hacking on the weekends was the third. I know now how the real truth is revealed, very slowly. I could have avoided half of my frustration by going to a professional and getting my fundamentals squared away in the beginning. This is the first thing I recommend to everyone starting out in this game. A professional will enlighten you to what you are really trying to attain instead of you repeating a bad swing expecting better results, knowledge is power.
My intense frustration did do one thing for me though, I studied and studied. It was obvious, after I calmed down, that I was downing something very wrong, but what? I dove in headfirst to learn as much about every part of the game to fix my problems. This worked but, take about the cart before the horse, I could have gotten on the right track with lessons a lot faster. I am told that I know a lot about the golf swing and also am pretty good at fixing swing problems. This didn't surprise me as I had done all that studying, but it doesn't look too good when you still swing poorly. So now I had a ton of knowledge, but had a bad swing which added fuel to my tantrum fire. It seemed like I was in a "no win" situation and I contemplated several times about giving up on this game.
What I didn't understand was that amidst all the bad shots and tantrums small parts of my game were getting better. You cannot see these little improvements when you are expecting so much more and frustration has a firm grip. Very gradually these small improvements started to pile up to the point where I had to admit I didn't totally stink at this game any more. Then the third wave of learning and frustration set in where I was doing many things correctly but my scores weren't coming down. In fact my scores were bouncing all over the place and I felt I had no control at all. You feel it in your gut when you think you are finally in the 80's only to post a score in the high nineties the very next day, maddening.
I found out here that you plateau in this game and also regress sometimes and this part of the game. I had expected to make gains and keep those gains with only some maintenance to hold a level, wrong. All you have to do is not hit a ball for a few weeks and you feel like you are almost starting all over. This game takes a lot of dedication and discipline to play well and constant attention. I know really good athletes that do not have the same issues as I do, well they do but overcome much faster. This article is really addressed mostly to average Joe (this isn't gender biased either I just choose to address in the masculine) as that is who I see mostly at the coarse and strong athletes probably do not need this article.
My best formula for avoiding a hard road and massive frustration is to open that dusty wallet and swallow that pride and get lessons right off. Understand that this game can't be mastered only managed and everyone misses including pros. Understand that it is not a smooth ride to scratch golf and plateaus are part of it as well as regression. Understand that if you are not dedicated and constantly swinging and improving that swing that it will disappear.
I played a amtuer qualifier with guys from my home club in a distant town. This was the first time I had played in a tournament like this in my life. I was playing at a twelve handicap then and my pals were scratch golfers or close to it. I would be playing in the "net" category and they would be playing "gross", I would be playing with strangers in a new situation. At this point I had moderate control of my golf temper, but still had mld flip outs here and there. I wound up in a threesome with a thirty something and myself in one cart and an older gentleman as a single.
I was nervous all over and had really low expectation on how well I would play under the circumstances at a tournament speed course. The guy I was riding with was playing good golf and holding his own all the way around. I on the other hand was floundering a bit and my nerves were showing through plainly. He was super nice and patient giving me reassuring words of encouragement all through the front nine hole, this helped considerably. I was shooting a high round, but I wasn't bothered by it as I hadn't expected to do well at all. I also knew that this was a big tournament and I did not want to lose my cool and look like an ass.
We rolled up to the ninth green to putt out when an official popped out from the bushes to tell us something. The official said that we were behind on our time, but we were in time with the group in front of us. This didn't bother me at all and I really just blew that dude off, but I heard what he said clearly. My playing partner also heard what was said, but I could see clearly that it was rolling around in his head. We finished up nine ok and headed to ten with what I thought was no extra baggage.
The tenth hole didn't go so well for my playing partner and he look a little upset, but he recovered quickly and looked to be back in control. I said to myself that, "wow I admire that and I am taking a lesson from how he handles himself" and felt kinda good. We played eleven and he was struggling but incontrol of his wits and manner. Twelve was a total disaster for him and his whole round looked to be unraveling at this point, but he was remaining very calm.
On the thirteenth tee he had to go last for the first time all day having lost the honors on the train wreck on the last hole. It was his turn on the box and his mannerisms looked ine and his routine was smooth and regular like he was on the front. I told himself that he was back in it and had control of his emotion when I watched him setup to his shot. He swung through the ball and proceeded to shank it way off to the right in no mans land behind some fresh maintenance dirt piles. He wound up like he was going to smash his club into the ground but held off and stayed in control once more, impressive. He re-teed to hit a provisional ball in case we couldn't find his first. Setup calmly took his usual waggles and shanked it to the same horrible spot! He lost it right there and gave a primal yell that must have been heard in the next county. One person for sure heard it and that was the course official up on the green, who was now looking right at us.
The poor guy apologise to both the older gentleman and myself for his temper outburst, we didn't say much. We drove around to search for his shots back behind mounds of soft dirt, he found his first and elected to play it from there. Again he appeared to have regained his composure and was calmly focused on the shot before him. He took some time finding a stance to get a hit on this ball and we waited in silence. He took a hard swipe at the ball and a huge explosion of dirt shot into the air with a ball following which traveled about 4 feet into more dirt. He flipped out right here a wung his club a country mile with a big yell (curse word beginning with F) right behind it. Standing at the edge of the green looking right down on him was the rules official, this isn't going to be good.
We get finished on the green and head to our carts when the official call to him that he needs to talk to him, I am cringing here. The player was a pretty stocky guy and he was mad as hell, the official was skinny college kid, I thought there was going to e a fight right there. To my amazement the player said, after being DQed, that it was all his fault and apologised to all of us. He left the course and I finished in the old gentlemans cart.
As we played out the rest of the course officials kept asking if we were the team that had a guy DQed and was it so and so, my name. I said "NO! I'm right here." This happened three times before I finished and I didn't get it and didn't like it. When I arrived back at the clubhouse the tournament director asked me one more time and I said "Why is everyone asking me if I got DQed!?". He said that when word had gotten back to the clubhouse that someone had been disqualified those three guys at the bar all turned around at the same time and asked if it was you. I glared at my so called friends who were laughing hysterically at this point, jerks. The moral of the story is if you don't want your friends to assume you were DQed don't act like an ass on the course.