I was out playing golf last week when one of my playing companions totally lost it. He pulling a tantrum a six year old would have been proud of: cursing, hitting his head with his putter, and then throwing that putter. Laughing at him only made matters worse, but when someone is acting like that how is it not supposed to be funny to everyone else around?
I’ve seen incidents like this many times before and while I hate to admit it, I have done something similar myself. All it can take it is a few bad shots, or in the worst cases a single bad shot before our emotions get the best of us. If you start getting filled with emotion it is going to change way you think and perform on the golf course in a negative manner.
There are two cures with getting angry: stop hitting bad shots or stop reacting with anger. The problem we face with the first solution is that nobody is immune from hitting bad shots. Even the top pros are going to have mishits and stupid mistakes. The one area you can control is how you react to those bad shots. If you leave your anger unchecked you can completely ruin your time on the golf course and the experience of your playing partners.
If you want to stop getting angry on the golf course it all starts with the mindset you have entering the round. This is a game and is meant to be fun. There are a lot of things that are frustrating in life, but games are not supposed to be one of them. Make an effort to take in the scenery, converse with your playing partners, enjoy the outdoors, anything that enables you to not take your score so seriously.
Stay relaxed. When you are out on the golf course remember to take a few deep breaths every now and then. Loosen up and make sure you are tension free as you walk around.
If you hit a bad shot and you feel the anger swell up, close your eyes and visualize a calming, relaxing place like the beach. Establish a calming word or phrase like “take it easy,” that you can repeat to yourself.
Try to find the humor in your situation. If you can laugh the shot off you will immediately release the tension and start to feel better.
If you hit such a bad shot that you don’t lose your turn then it’s important to take a short timeout to gather yourself. Nobody likes slow play, but your playing partners will understand that if you duff a chip shot 2 feet, you might need to compose yourself.
After hitting a bad shot off the tee or with an approach shot it can help to walk off some of that tension. If you are driving a cart, ask your partner to take it up so you can walk up to your next shot. The little bit of exercise will help you burn off that burst of negative energy.
You aren’t going to cure your anger management problems overnight, but by making a conscious effort you can change your overall attitude and enjoy the game of golf even more. Plus, it won’t help but make you score better as well.