You Had a Bad Day

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

So, your most recent experience on the golf course was a disaster. You played far beneath your potential. You “misplaced” four golf balls in nine holes. Your tee shots visited Sherwood Forest so frequently that you are considering joining Robin Hood’s merry band. The holes just seemed to slip by so quickly before you were able to generate any momentum. Where did it all go wrong? How can you rebound from, frankly, an embarrassing performance? Knowing that you are capable of that exhibition in futility, do you even want to go out again any time soon? Well, my friend, I do hope that you answer in the affirmative.

I am going to ask you to do a little analysis of your round. I know that this was an aberration and not at all the norm for you. However, with a closer look at your day, perhaps, you can avoid that strange sensation of watching yourself participate in too many reruns of the “Nightmare on the Fairways”. It is really simple, actually. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”-Theodore Roosevelt How would you rate your level of concentration? Did you warm up before playing? If things do not go according to plan off the first tee, sometimes it sets the stage for an epic struggle. Producing conditions that are more conducive for you to succeed is the goal. Without even a short practice session before you tee off, you are unlikely to be as mentally “into it” as you would desire. The risk of you subconsciously thinking about the water hazard to the left or the trees guarding the entire right side of the first hole is greatly increased if you have not struck a single, solid practice shot. You need to be able to visualize your ball heading down the middle of the fairway. With no prior prep work to give you some confidence when your name and starting time are announced, you are relegated to worrying about the worst case scenario. “What consumes your mind, controls your life”-Unknown So, you tell me there is not a driving range at the golf course or you cannot arrive until minutes before your designated tee off. Improvise! Thinking only of priority number one, besides paying for the greens fees, you must take some quality practice swings with that initial “real” swing in mind. Don’t be counting on a mulligan or breakfast ball to bail you out. When you are ready to play, you never want to reload, especially on the first hole with the largest gallery observing your every move. So, just relax, take some deep breaths, and repeat that same smooth swing you rehearsed 10, 20, or 30 times off to the side prior to the big moment. Choose the club you believe will give you the best chance to position your inaugural tee ball in play. Now, you have placed your tee in the ground and it’s time for action. So, I recommend two more practice swings, find your target, and move directly up to the ball. Look at the target one more time. Count to three in your head and swing.

Let me examine your previous play from another angle. Do you get a little anxious if you play with someone for the first time? If so, it is natural to want to do your best and even impress your new playing companion. But don’t stress out too much. Chances are that you will have more opportunities to showcase your skills which may have for one round appeared to be on hiatus. I hope that you don’t have friends who would disavow any knowledge of you upon witnessing you at your worst on the golf course. “As long as we are willing to rise up again and continue on the path, we can learn something from failure and become better and happier.”-Dieter F. Uchtdorf  This is a game in which EVERYONE has less than desirable results from time to time. If it is any consolation, Rory McIlroy, one of the top players in the world has recorded 14 rounds in 2014 in which he has carded a score between 4-8 strokes above his scoring average. But he will bounce back and so will you.

Golfers really do need to have very short memories. Over analyzing your round is not at all necessary. You did not all of a sudden forget how to swing a golf club or chip and putt. You definitely don’t need to go out and purchase more new golf equipment. You can gain confidence by changing up your pre-round routine even slightly. This will help you avoid the early hole debacles that you experience on occasion. Remember, please never let your less than stellar play affect your attitude so severely that you can’t enjoy a wonderful walk in the park. “You had a bad day. The camera don’t lie. You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind. You had a bad day. Sometimes the system goes on the blink and the whole thing turns out wrong. You might not make it back and you know that you could be, well, oh, that strong. And I’m not wrong.”-Daniel Powter My wish is that you determine to make tomorrow a better day.

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