By Jeff Ritter
One of the more predictable behaviors you'll find woven into the fabric of the game is the general moaning and malaise associated with the completion of one's round. This action usually begins when the player walks off the 18th green into the golf shop or 19th hole and someone asks the question, "How'd it go?" Normally, the kind of answers you hear are things like, "If I could only putt," "Pour me a drink," or "At least I'm not dead!" Think about it. How often have you heard a positive response to this question?
Interestingly enough, kids and adults respond to this question quite differently. That is, until the adults poison the kids' developing minds and condition them to believe "When you don't get what you want, everything is miserable!"
A good friend of mine who's a performance psychologist actually conducted an experiment on this phenomenon. He simply divided a legal pad into two columns. One side said "kids" and the other said "adults." He waited on the 18th green of his home course one Saturday afternoon and asked each group a simple question: "How'd it go?" Based upon the response, he would insert a (+) or (-) into the column associated with each group. As discussed above, the responses from the adults were overwhelmingly negative, whereas the responses from the kids were nearly entirely positive.
Kids are wired to play, have fun and seek out things that are amazing, so much so, they seldom notice or even remember when things aren't going their way. Comments from the kids were things like, "I hit my ball so far on No. 10 it went in the water!" or "I finally saw that massive turtle everyone's been talking about ... it was HUGE!" The comments were more rooted in the joy associated with believing their game was developing or things not even associated with the act of playing golf at all.
The next time you tee it up, remember that golf is really challenging and you're not ALWAYS going to get what you want. Remember to "PLAY" and celebrate when you pull off amazing stuff. A great drive, perfect chip, hammering home a long, snaking putt. Anything, as long as you give yourself credit for doing at least one thing well. At the completion of your round, shock your buddies and tell them about something that was fun or cool about being out there. Trust me, it's OK to do this.
After acknowledging the good stuff, ask yourself the question, "What's today's lesson?" This is where you determine what area of your game needs some work before you head out and go after it again.
If you're not having much fun these days, this challenge is really important and a great reminder of why you're out there to begin with. Prove you have what it takes to find a little joy within the struggle and you can count this week's challenge as complete.
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