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Lately I have been up and down, going from smooth to anger, then back again, and then more anger, frustration, and everything between. What are some things, if any, that I can do on the course to stay more even tempered.

It goes from denial, to frustration, to anger, to laughter, and that's just the front nine, then I get it back, until about 14, then the wheels come off, and it's worse than the first time.

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What's the cause do you suppose? Sometimes a little time off helps, a different set of tees, a new club or an old faithful one returned to the bag.

 

Is there a life issue that causing it?

 

So many variables but in the end I think it's a matter of trying something different.

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It must be catching. I played pretty well on Sunday on a course that only play a couple of times a year(except for 2 bad holes), but the last two rounds this week were miserable. Can't focus for more than a hole or two.

 

Rev, hopefully your suggestion will work for me. My new SCOR 46 and 50 wedges arrive tomorrow, just in time for the weekend. woo hoo!

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Assuming it's just golf frustration you're experiencing and not something more, take Rev's advice and mix it up a little bit. I have an older set of clubs- the spare set- that I'll take to the course every now and then just to play with. It's fun to mix it up and just get out of my groove for a round or two. I find myself not fixating over the minutae too much during those rounds. Anyway, hopefully your troubles are short-lived.

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No life issue Rev. I have about a 6 inch issue right between the ears, I'm hoping that talking about it will help. I understand that there will be bad days on the course, but I don't manage those days well, anger takes over quickly and it snowballs from there.

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It seems to me that I've never really had this issue when I lived up North - it's only happened to me in Florida where I can play year round.  For me there is a "right" amount of golf to play.

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You and I are in that dangerous zone for handicaps.  I consider it good enough to be better than a very large percent of amatures, but not good enough to be really considered "good" at golf.

 

We are good enough to hit a majority of "good" shots on the course with a few "great" ones thrown in.  Good enough to know that when a bad shot comes you have the ability to hit it so much better so it hurts more when it happens.

 

Here's the thing though, and this is some of the best advice I've ever gotten on the golf course.  We aren't good enough to get upset over a bad shot.  It's hard to admit, but if I duff a chip I just have to tell myself to forget about it and hit it better next time.  I'm not good enough at golf to get pissed off at a bad shot and let it ruin my entire round.

 

Whatever it takes to get over that bad shot is going to be up to you.  I have a short memory for the bad ones and I'm pretty laid back so I don't let it get to me for long.  If you hit a bad shot come up with some sort of routine that helps you forget about it.  Maybe stop and count to ten, take 2 deep breaths and then move on.  Or consider it as a challenge to make par instead of the birdie you wanted.  Or bogey instead of the par you wanted.  You can re-hash it all you want after the round, but your focus needs to be on what are you going to do next instead of what just happened.

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It usually takes about 3 bad hole in a row to get the blood boiling, but you're right being okay with the par or bogey instead of par is the key, if I can just get out of my own way, and stop thinking so much I will be okay, not playing this weekend so hopefully this will help.

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You and I are in that dangerous zone for handicaps.  I consider it good enough to be better than a very large percent of amatures, but not good enough to be really considered "good" at golf.

 

We are good enough to hit a majority of "good" shots on the course with a few "great" ones thrown in.  Good enough to know that when a bad shot comes you have the ability to hit it so much better so it hurts more when it happens.

One of the truest statements I've ever read. I am a super competitive person so I know its hard to accept when things aren't going your way but at the end of the day you are still getting to play a game instead of whatever else you could be doing. Just accept the bad ones and try and move on to the next shot when you hit one poorly. 

 

 

Wish I could remember this while I'm on the course lol 

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I usually go with the putter throw...but have on occasion used the shaft test over my knee method. 

 

In all honesty, I just think of the fact I get to play golf.... and you know what that does it for me. Just know that you could be working, could be sick, or legitimately couldn't afford to play.

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I agree with everyone, especially sp0rtsfan86's putter throw... You have to time the release so you don't hook it into the lake- seen it happen. Tragic, very tragic, and funny.

 

Being able to accept bad shots is part of improving your game to the next level but it's easier said than done. One process I've heard that works pretty well is chunking 18 holes into six, three hole groups. That way you're not focused on the 18 hole outcome but rather just three. And you get to start fresh every three holes.

 

Another process is to turn your round into a fun game- play with a half set of clubs, or play draw vs fade, or any other variety of game. It'll break you out of the ordinary routine of going out and playing 18 holes and makes it fun.... Or, depending on the personality, it could escalate the anger- tread lightly;)

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Lately I have been up and down, going from smooth to anger, then back again, and then more anger, frustration, and everything between. What are some things, if any, that I can do on the course to stay more even tempered.

It goes from denial, to frustration, to anger, to laughter, and that's just the front nine, then I get it back, until about 14, then the wheels come off, and it's worse than the first time.

 

Lefty, the solution to controlling your emotions is the same as it is to lowering your handicap.  You need to change your focus.  Instead of thinking about how the round is going, and stewing about that, or worrying about screwing up a good round, you need to develop a pre-shot routine that is designed to focus you on making a good swing.  Not one that gives a specific out come.

 

By that I mean, I arrive at the ball, assess the lie, determine the club, and shot I want to hit, based on distance, weather, and hole layout.  All this in the few seconds before I even pull the club out of the bag.  While others in my group are hitting or whatever, I may make some partial swings or something to stay loose.

 

When it is my turn to hit, I once again, visualize the ball flight and what I have to do to make it do that.  Then I line up near the ball and make a full practice swing and assess if that was what I wanted.  Then another, and then a third practice swing.  If I made the third one like I wanted, I step into the ball and make a forth swing as close to the same as I did on the third one, and watch the ball.

 

I do not worry about where the ball went, because my goal was to make a good swing.  I have changed my focus to the process of making a good swing not the outcome of that swing.  Most of the time, if I make a good swing I get good results.  If I make a bad swing, then I know what I did wrong immediately, and once I have seen the ball land, I will make another practice swing again trying to fix the problem.

 

Once the ball is struck, there is nothing you can do change the outcome of that shot.  So just watch it so that you know where to find it.  Then, immediately make another swing again to fix this problem.  Then when you put the club in the bag forget about it.  Do not dwell on what just happened.

 

For me, unless I have a club in my hand or am about to take one out for the next shot, I do not think about what I have to do or what I have done in the round.  (Well, at least this is my goal.) 

 

But once again, change your focus from the results of a bad (or good) shot, to the process of making a good shot.  You will make more good shots and be less likely to have anger issues.

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Thanks guys, I did not play last week, I think that will help mentally, now to put into practice some of the helpful "hints" that have been given to me by all of you. I don't want to blame the anger on "that's how I grew up, and that's all I know", because I am an adult and can take responsibility for my own actions on the course, but the more I think about it, all I have known growing up from Grandparents, to uncles, to brothers, on both sides of the family, explosive anger, I want that to change, if all you have seen your whole life of how to deal with bad things in your life of sports is anger, then that is what you're going to get, it's just taken a long time to get to the point of realization that I am just like all of them, if it's not going well, anger, not at anyone or anything, anger toward myself, this is not going to be an easy fix, but since I have put this out there if you will, it will be a step in the correct direction.

I have also sent an email to all of the guys that I play with, apologizing for my actions on the course, letting them know that I know I have issues with this and I want to be better, not that I need their acceptance of the apology, but more of an accountability for myself.

 

I hope that if anyone else has the same problems, that they can look at this as an opportunity to make a change as well.

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Lately I have been up and down, going from smooth to anger, then back again, and then more anger, frustration, and everything between. What are some things, if any, that I can do on the course to stay more even tempered.

It goes from denial, to frustration, to anger, to laughter, and that's just the front nine, then I get it back, until about 14, then the wheels come off, and it's worse than the first time.

 

Golf in my opinion mentally is very simple when it comes to the course in theory:

1) Pre-shot routine

~ I have two sections to this "Think Box" & "Play Box" see Vision54 for more information on that concept.

 

2) Post-shot routine

~ Once the ball leaves the face it is out of your control where it comes to rest. The how & why it got there is a waste of mental energy to contemplate in my opinion.

--> That would include making practice swings to correct a mechanical mistake now you waste mental and physical energy both doing this. I'm not sure why Jim Furyk does it but I think that is more a recent development I don't recall him doing that back when he won his US Open back in 2003.

 

3) Downtime

~ This is where majority of players will really screw themselves in terms of mental energy management. A ton of players start thinking about the HOW & WHY or how unlucky that bounce was that they just got. It is all negative self-talk in some form and getting the mind more focused on the past then just being present at the current moment.

--> Just turn your brain off once you know where the ball came to rest in regards to golf. Light conversations or enjoying being outdoors helps keep you positive and reduces mental energy towards golf in general.

 

 

 

If the three general steps sound really simple, that is because it is a simple concept.

~ Pre-shot routine is something you need to give your 100% attention for the current shot / situation.

~ Post-shot, well if you came into the shot prepared it is easier to accept whatever happened. Look at where the ball is now when processing the shot as a new challenge.

~ Downtime, is about mental energy management. No golf related thoughts at all. The less you think about things probably the better.

 

 

For me my process is this in a nutshell

Pre-shot Routine

~ "Think Box" (behind the ball)

>> The Data (lie, wind, ground conditions, etc). Club selection, trajectory, shape based on "the data". Trust in my decision on what I think will best suit the situation. One practice swing at 40% speed feeling tempo and release. Visualize the ball flight and pick an initial target line.

--> My shot selection is based on the following: Keep it in play (no penalty strokes), A miss should give me a easier shot, A well execute shot places me in prime position.

 

~ "Play Box" (over the ball) :: Once i start my walk toward the ball for the set-up I'm committed, unless something drastically changes.

>> I aim the face to my initial line, I take my grip, I aim my body to the face, look up at the target with a slight waggle to reduce grip pressure, re-set the club and vision, think a tempo / feel thought and just swing.

--> The worst thing anyone can do at this point is think mechanically or have doubt. If either of these things get in your mind back off the shot, retreat to the "think box".

 

 

Post-shot routine

~ Once the ball leave my face i already know roughly where it is going based on my body position and release timing. I simply watch the ball to get a more specific idea where it came to rest.

>> There is nothing I can do about the result of the shot, I came into the swing fully prepared and now I see a new challenge in front of me.

--> Again the worst thing you can probably do is get hung up on the result, wasting valuable mental energy on how & why the ball got to the point it did and how to fix that on the next shot.

 

 

Downtime

~ This is the in-between shots, where you have time to sit and wait on a group in front of you or as you are walking / riding up to your next shot.

>> This is the most important thing to not think about golf and save that energy / focus for the pre-shot routine needed for the upcoming shot.

 

 

 

 

For me I used to do the same things as you getting my mind stuck in the past hung up on why the shot went where it did rather then just rolling with the punches.

~ It helped me a lot to spend more energy in the pre-shot process and a lot less in the downtime thinking about a golf swing / shot. The post-shot routine is about transition to the downtime and acceptance of a result you can not control that is in the past.

 

Hope that helps.

 

A note where this all links together:

~ The most important shot is the current shot setting yourself up for the next shot.

--> You can control the current shot before it is struck not after. Once it is struck then you have a new challenge awaiting ahead of you.

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Maybe give this book a read.  "The Inner Game Of Golf"  by gallaway.  Pretty broad view on not only performing but the roots of losing it.  I would suggest to speed read it. For anyone that gets in their own way, or just loses it , they will find some pertinent and useful help in the book.

 

cheers.........

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Maybe give this book a read.  "The Inner Game Of Golf"  by gallaway.  Pretty broad view on not only performing but the roots of losing it.  I would suggest to speed read it. For anyone that gets in their own way, or just loses it , they will find some pertinent and useful help in the book.

 

cheers.........

 

 

Thanks but may I also ask the obvious question of, "Have you actually ever met someone who hasn't gotten in his or her own way at some point or another on the golf course?"

 

That would include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus or Bobby Jones, BTW.  It's harder for me to find the times with Jack and the six inch part of his game although his struggles with the short game (chipping/pitching/bunker play not putting) come to mind.  I'm thinking he just refused to put the work in there until later in his career because he thought he didn't need to.  Imagine if he had earlier.

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Thanks but may I also ask the obvious question of, "Have you actually ever met someone who hasn't gotten in his or her own way at some point or another on the golf course?"

 

 

Good question...  I've only met one person that never got in his own way.   And he took my beer money all the time.

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Lefty - The fact that you're even worried about this is a good thing.  I know a few people who could benefit from this kind of self-awareness.

 

As someone said earlier, we're (my handicap is close to yours) just not good enough to warrant getting mad on the golf course.  But... we are good enough to make up for mistakes.  I'm sure you'll go out and make a couple birdies in a row every now and again, right?  Remind yourself of that.  You've been that good before; you can be that good again.  The fact that you have the opportunity to be that good again is what's great about golf.  The first time I broke par for nine holes, I shot a 42 on the front and had completely mentally checked out of the round.  Then I birdied 10 and 11 and all of a sudden, I had something to play for again.  I've never forgotten that.

 

And if you hack up the 18th and don't have time for an emergency nine, just have the beverage of your choice in the clubhouse and look forward to your next round.

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Great answer tour impact! I'm sorry I missed it earlier.

 

Of course there's getting upset and then there's getting upset. It's easy enough to say to someon else that they shouldn't be so upset about a missed shot/putt. It's quite a different matter when you're the one doing the missing.

 

I think there are two important helps in regards to being upset with self.

 

1. Have realistic expectations about your own game. There is plenty of data out there about greens hit, driving distance, 50/50 putts for a given handicap. So often I hear/see guys upset about a so called bad shot or missed putt when it wasn't that bad or the realistic expectation was to make it 20 percent of the time. Being a realist helps!

 

 

2. Develope a mechanism/process to quickly move past those times when you have legitimate reason to be upset. This must be done before the next shot and/or before you become miserable to play with.

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I think most times it is not necessary one bad shot, it usually seems to happen over time throughout the round, and then after a bad shot or problem, the explosion of anger, again, this is anger at self, not towards anyone, I don't ever get angry at playing partners, I only get mad at myself.

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