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I am standing on a beautiful golf course in the middle of winter, it is 80 degrees out, and I am completely miserable. What a fun day should be during a family vacation in South Florida with my father, has become a complete disaster. I do not know yet but I am about to reach the absolute low point of my golf life on the 13th hole.
The round was on a similar trajectory as most at that time of my life – early mistakes led to anger and frustration, and my mood generally worsened as the day progressed. Golf was not fun for me. It felt like something I should do, but I got very little pleasure in playing. Although I did not play or practice much, I felt entitled to low scores, and at the first sign of problems I lost my composure.
After I made a perfect ride on the 13th, I had a shot of 140 yards with water that guarded the right side of the green. I felt that this was a chance to turn around the day with a nice approach photo.
Something exploded in my head as I watched the ball fly into the lake 40 meters to the right of the green. Years of frustration all came forward and I launched my 9-iron on the golf cart (I can not stand golf carts). Everything seemed to go in slow motion, while the club just cut my drive shaft neatly under the head. The steering head landed in the air and ended up over the head and spewed itself into the ground. It was like a bad version of a trickshot video when anger and stupidity skills were shown.
My father and I both stared at the beheaded driver and then at each other. Without saying a word, he walked off the track in disgust
That was the low point. Golf had driven me to the worst outburst of anger I had ever had in my life, and I soon realized something had to change. Looking back on this unfortunate episode more than ten years later, it is shameful. I'm ashamed to admit to everyone that it happened, but it was probably the most critical moment for me as a golfer.
My expectations and skills were not at odds with each other, and the inequality between the two made the game miserable for me. I know this is something that every golfer is struggling with on this planet, so I want to explore this concept further in the hope of helping everyone find your version of golf luck.
Golfers are not taught for this
When we take up the game, the emphasis is mainly on the swing, and "the foundations" such as posture, grip, posture and many of the other technical things that I do not like to discuss on this site. Nobody makes us apart and tells us what we can reasonably expect from golf.
If golfers were given a master class about expectations management before, I think the game will be much more fun for most. Moreover, I think most players score lower (but that is a completely different problem). Instead, I constantly encounter players who have the same funk as where I used to be.
I try to do my best to meet your expectations through different articles in which the PGA Tour statistics are discussed and why great golf is not as good as you think. Do not get me wrong; I am not a golf monk – I still have enough flaws that can be seen. However, my enjoyment in the game is much better than it has ever been
After 25 years of playing, probably with too much heartache, I have been satisfied with the following formula for golf luck:
When you adjust your expectations to your current skill level, you can do well in this game. The beauty of it is that there is no exact formula for all of us.
You have to adjust each side of the equation
When I realized that I was not playing the wave I wanted, and my driving incident made it clear that I could not continue my current route, I knew something had to change.
I could work harder to raise my skill level or adjust my expectations downwards. At that time I lived in New York City, which is not conducive to much playing and practicing – so I just decided that if I had the chance to play, I would not take it too seriously. Removing that burden made the game more fun, and eliminating my obsession with score helped make golf a constructive part of my life.
Years later, when my wife and I left the city, I was able to play and practice more. As my skill level increased, it was not unreasonable to adjust my expectations accordingly, because I was ready to take the time to become a better player
What is your comparison of the equation?
From time to time I think it is constructive to do a bit of self-examination. I know what golf means to you, because it means so much to me. I want to make sure that golf is a positive part of your life, because why would you spend a large part of your day on something that does not bring you much happiness?
There is a golfer on my course in the early nineties. He plays almost every day and even runs every hole. I have had the opportunity to play a few holes with him several times, and he is probably one of the happiest golfers in the world. He does not care about his score; he is just excited to be there. It is difficult to put his perspective in the bottle, because we all hope to live so long and be able to play at that age. But it does not mean you have to wait so long to adjust your expectations in this game.
If you are not satisfied with your current level of play, what are you going to do to meet your expectations? Do you follow lessons to improve your technique? Are you adjusting your practice, strategy or mental game?
One of my favorite writers, James Clear, constantly reinforces the message that your current performance is a lagging yardstick for your habits. While the cliché is, you get the same old when you do the same.
If you are not willing to go the way to improve your skills through better golf habits, and there is nothing wrong with that, then it might be time to redefine your expectations of the game? Not everyone has to play to move his handicap lower. Golf can be a way to go out, practice, spend time with friends and travel.
That is the beauty of the game; there is no right way to do it.
No matter how you do it, should not it be fun? My hope for all of you is that you find a comparison that works.