Before golf, my sport was beer-league softball. Our team was brutal, but we sure had fun. After every game, we’d gather in a semi-circle around the tailgate of Terry’s truck, have a beer or two, and decide who’d be the latest recipient of the coveted “trophy” … a wooden leg adorned with baseball hose and a shoe, given to the player who made the worst play of the night.
I played with the aptly named “Blues” for six laugh-filled seasons until fate threw a curveball. Around my 50th birthday, I injured my throwing arm and had to hang up my glove. A few weeks later — perhaps because I was desperate for something active to do — I jumped at the chance to play golf in a charity tournament with a few of my teammates. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed myself. Then and there, I decided to become a regular golfer.
But right from the very beginning, I couldn’t help but notice an obvious paradox — despite their pre-round enthusiasm, my buddies derived little enjoyment from actually playing golf.
Where Did the Joy Go?
No doubt, my pals cracked a smile whenever they rolled in a birdie, and they clearly enjoyed sharing jokes and chirping at each other as we walked down the fairway. But mostly, when it came time to execute a shot, their happy-go-lucky mood vanished as soon as they stood over the ball.
To be honest, the contrast took me by surprise. On the diamond, we laughed at our gaffs. Of course, you’d hear the occasional cuss after an error, but the bad mood would dissipate almost as soon as it appeared. I guess you could say we all knew how good we weren’t.
But on the golf course, the same guys would act as if a miss-hit carried dire consequences. They’d make a bad swing, describe the reason aloud, then routinely step to the side and rehearse a “correct” motion. On the putting green, they’d get so sour after missing a short putt you’d think they’d lost a chance to get a tour card. And these emotional storm clouds seemed to linger, and often get darker, as the round went on. At one point, I remember asking myself, “Why are they paying good money to get pissed-off at themselves?”
My Delusional Pledge
And so, full of righteousness, I decided to be different. With hindsight, I can see it was self-delusion, but at the time, I actually believed I’d have no problem establishing and maintaining a carefree, fun-filled approach to golf. After all, I was a successful performance coach. I’d worked with All-Stars in the NHL, and I’d been an executive coach to corporate leaders all over the globe. Frankly, I assumed I’d rise above the needless fears and foolish frustrations that regularly plagued my buddies on the links.
But like I said, it was self-delusion.
Once my game improved to the point where I could break 90 regularly, my focus slowly but surely shifted from playing golf for recreation to performing in a way that would produce a “good” score. In other words, my reason for being on
Title: Falling Into, and Getting Out of, Golf’s Deepest Trap
Sourced From: practical-golf.com/golfs-deepest-trap/
Published Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2020 14:15:14 +0000