John Renslow: Golf is not a game of perfection
We all do it.
It sounds like, “I would have been fine, if it wasn’t for this!” Or, “Why do these stupid things keep happening to me?”
It’s human nature. For some reason, very rarely is our first thought a self-indictment. Our typical first reaction is to blame the person or the object closest to us at the time.
No one is completely innocent of this and no one is always guilty. Similar to selfishness, we’re all flawed to some extent. Some folks are really selfish and some folks are not. If there was a scale, most of us would be somewhere in the middle.
Mother Theresa is on the low end of the scale and name your favorite dictator for the high mark.
When we’re on the golf course and that day, that round, means more to you than usual, our threshold becomes much more sensitive. A shot is hit very poorly and we hear, amongst the cursing, “I just got this new putter and I haven’t made anything since!”
Or, my personal favorite that I have heard many, many times, “I’ve never played this bad before!” Everyone knows that the person has played that bad before. We just understand this position, we’ve all been in it. We provide some encouraging remarks.
For most of us, this moment doesn’t last very long. The score is gone, the round is gone, and tomorrow is another day.
But, what if you’re an elite player, ranked among the world’s best? During each round, most of the shots you hit and virtually everything you say is recorded, moreover broadcast.
Bryson Dechambeau had a rough day on Thursday. It was his first round of The Open Championship and he was having a tough time finding fairways. “My driver sucks!”
Yep, you heard it right. It wasn’t his fault, it’s that blasted driver. The British newspapers jumped all over him, with one describing his behavior as that of an “8 year old.”
In the moment, our brains don’t function correctly and we say things we wish we could take back. He was likely not thinking about his golf club (driver) manufacturer, who is paying him to play and represent their product. They must be very pleased with this ringing endorsement.
Getting back to center. Golf is not a game of perfection. Essentially, it is a game of the good, missed shots. Our bodies have weaknesses, our brains are inconsistent, and no golfer has ever had the equivalent of a 300 game in bowling.
We play (remember that…play) to enjoy time with friends, get some exercise, breathe in nature’s scenery, and, yes, improve our performance. Knowing that there is no perfect, take the bad shots with the good.
Just keep those thoughts of blame or embarrassment and turn them into a learning experience. You don’t have to be happy, we all want to play well. An applicable, well chosen, one-word exclamation might be appropriate. But leave it at that.
For us, the moment, the round, the day will be behind us soon. Likely as early as the next hole or perhaps the 19th hole. And, we don’t have our mistakes made into tomorrow’s headlines.
The game will be fun again soon. I promise.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses
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