Are you one of those golfers that, after hitting a really poor shot, gets so pissed off that you swear like an old sailor? Worse, do you throw your clubs? If so, STOP. It’s unbecoming of a golfer, regardless of skill level. There are ways of managing stress on the golf course, and doing so will help keep things from going from bad to worse.
That’s the thing about those temper tantrums: when you succumb to them, all you’re doing is making things worse. Not just for yourself, mind you, but for your playing partners and anyone within earshot of you. Managing stress on the golf course goes a LONG way towards maintaining the focus you need to ensure your round continues without letting bogeys and worse creep in. Better still, it’ll keep playing partners from mysteriously having other things to do when you call to meet up with them Sunday afternoon.
My favorite tip was from Tiger Woods’ dad; when Tiger was a kid, Earl let him get upset for a count of 10. No more than that… once the countdown was finished, he was over whatever was bothering him. It gave him a little window to vent, but didn’t allow him to focus on the bad shot or wallow in misery.
Jason Gore keeps a bag tag with a picture of his kids. When he hits a bad shot, he looks at that picture, which helps him put things in their proper perspective. Remember, golf’s just a game; if a Tour pro, with their livelihoods on the line, can do things to manage their stress on the course, we normal folks that don’t depend on golf as a source of income can definitely do it.
Another trick that I don’t feel gets enough attention is playing from the right tees. Specifically, moving up a tee box. Way too many of us think we should be playing from the whites, blues or blacks, when in reality, if we played from the yellows or even the reds (and no, they are NOT “women’s tees”- they’re “forward tees”; stop believing in that myth), we may find we score better, hit better shots and have less self-imposed stress. Even if you don’t think you should be playing from the reds yellows, give it a shot at least once. You may find that the round’s faster, your score’s lower and you walk off the course a little happier than you normally do.