If golf is a gentleman’s game, then why can’t the best act like gentlemen?

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Today I was reading Rex Hoggard’s article, Now and Then on Golf Channel’s website.  In it he talks about Tiger Woods and his US Open win at Torrey Pines almost 1,000 days ago, and how things have “never felt so strangely different“.

Are they really that different?

Sir Nick, Kelly and the rest of the analysts/commentators are still falling all over themselves talking about Tiger.  Actually, I found it a bit nauseating listening to them gushing about Tiger’s wonderful new swing and outlook on life.  Even Jim Gray, who had the gonads to call Corey Pavin a liar last year, was shaking so badly during his post-round interview with Tiger he couldn’t even remember Faldo’s name.  That was too funny!

But what wasn’t funny was watching Tiger attempt a long bunker shot from the fairway and completely chili dip it

…and then throw the “oh so familiar” temper tantrum exiting the bunker (complete with expletives).

I guess what they say is true…“The more things change, the more they stay the same”.

Now, I know Tiger is considered the most mentally strong player in the game today AND he can turn off the anger as quickly as he turns it on.  But I don’t understand why, if he is so “in control” of his mind and body, he can’t behave a little more like a gentleman in this gentleman’s game.  Bobby Jones learned how; why can’t Tiger?

But to be fair to the world’s number 3, he’s not the only hothead on the course.  Watching #22 in the world, South African Charl Schwartzel smash his club into the ground after a bad shot last weekend at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship shocked me at bit.

My impression of South African golfers (Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Louis Oosthuizen and Tim Clark) has been that they are a quiet, even-tempered, self-controlled and talented bunch of players.  Charl’s bad behavior just didn’t seem to quite fit.  But then I remember Rory Sabbitini is also from SA. Haha…Oh well, there goes that theory.

Now, I’m not the most even tempered golfer out there either. But I tend to internalize my anger rather than express it. I don’t slam my clubs or swear out loud, but oh…if you could hear what I call myself in my head as I’m walking to my next shot! 😉

I started working on my anger management last year because I knew I was only hurting myself and my game.  I started taking Pia Nilsson & Lynn Marriott’s words to heart when they said, “Anger makes us stupid“.

Yup, can’t argue with that.  Those smart Vision54 golfgals dedicated a whole chapter in their book, EVERY SHOT MUST HAVE A PURPOSE to this “hot” topic.  Although I think you should read it for yourself, I will share two things that have helped me.  Pia and Lynn tell us that we need to:

Learn to associate with the good things and disassociate with the bad.

Now, disassociating isn’t easy.  It’s like saying to yourself, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.”  Dah…guess what fills up your mind?  But Pia and Lynn don’t just leave you hanging with this dilemma.  Instead they tell you to create and practice a positive “post-shot routine” that is as consistent as your pre-shot routine. What a cool idea!  I never thought about having a post-shot routine before. If you do it and practice it, you won’t have room for anger. 

Today I practice my post-shot routine on every shot I make — on the range, on the tee box, on the fairway, in a bunker and after a putt. Mine is simple — I hold my shoulders back, keep my head high, walk briskly to my next shot and…

I smile.

It’s amazing what a smile can do.  The poorer my shot – the bigger my smile.  Occasionally if my shot is really bad, I’ll laugh out loud.  Sound crazy?  I expect some people think so, especially when I’m on the range.  Haha…but it really helped me play better golf last year.

So if you get angry on the golf course, create a post-shot routine that works for you.  And then, practice, practice practice!

I think you’ll find that you will walk off 18 with more of a spring in your step and maybe a few strokes off your game. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Golfgal

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6 comments

  1. Good advice. I always laugh at myself – especially my most horrific shots! As far as the pros? There’s crybabies in every sport…

  2. Hey Greg! Thanks for the comment. Alas, it is true that crying towels should hang off of a lot of golf carts (and hockey sticks and basketball nets…) 🙂

    But given your sense of humour, I think you and I would a good laugh around the golf course – I even let others laugh at my shots. Maybe golf wouldn’t stink so badly then (or at least, we wouldn’t notice it between our tears of laughter ;)).

    Cheers
    Gayle

  3. My wife loves to see Tiger struggle…his bad Karma she says!

    Golf is supposed to be fun, if you can’t laugh and have fun golfing…you probably should change your meds!

    Love your blog…great stuff!
    Frank
    The Better Golf Swing

  4. Hey Frank (and your lovely astute wife :))!

    Fun – that’s all it is about really. It just takes us golfers so much time to find the fun in this game. I am working on this big time and you have made me think about a whole post on that subject – thank you!

    I’m thinking new meds just might be the trick! 😉

    Thank you gain so much for your comment!

    Now…go play golf with your lovely wife and have a wonderful time!!! 🙂

    Cheers
    Gayls

  5. I also loved the golf game.playing this game really mood or everyone feel very fresh.M Read your post i liked very much and appreciate with your details. Thanks a lot for This fantastic opinion about Golf. Gud Luck Dear!!!

  6. This is something I will certainly be trying the next time I play. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ruined my round and probably my playing partners too by acting like a spoilt brat when I haven’t played well. I should just be counting my blessings each time I get to play this great game.

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