9 Life Lessons from the Golf Course – Part 1

Posted: July 20, 2011 in Growth, Hobbies
Tags: , ,

George (my father-in-law) and I had a terrific day on the links yesterday. This was the second consecutive day we played on the same course, which accounted for how much better we both played. I’m not at liberty to discuss his scores, but I had a season high 95 (46/49) on Sunday, and a blistering 92 (42/51) on Monday.  If I were to continue playing every single day and improve my score at this rate, I could be a scratch golfer in a week.

I began to reflect on why our golf experience was so much fun. Here are the first few of the nine life lessons that I pulled out of yesterday’s game:

Plan for comfort

The temps were in the nineties, and our tee time was 1 pm. Georgia in the summer teaches you that reasonable people stay indoors during the hours from lunch to dinner. When it can’t be avoided, dress comfortably.  A lightweight, light colored shirt (I’ve recently become an advocate of the shirts made of that “wicking” material) and a comfortable pair of pleated shorts (with big pockets for my tees) keep me relatively cool, and I could concentrate on the game.

Play for endurance

It was 2:30 by the time we’d finished nine, and even with comfortable clothing the cumulative effects of the humidity and sunshine were about to make themselves known. Perhaps there’s a way to train for that kind of endurance. I haven’t discovered it yet, but making ourselves as comfortable as possible from the start surely helped us last as long as we did. Our scores and our comfort levels plummeted around the 14th hole.

It’s more fun when you’re playing well

Isn’t this true about almost anything we do? And we’re happier when we think we’re good at something, too. Playing well feeds back on itself, in turn causing you to play better. It happens so often in everyday life that we don’t often notice it. Musicians call it “being in the groove”. The happiness we experience at making a good shot creates a more relaxed, less anxious mood, which is essential for making the next shot.

However, the same is true when you begin to do poorly. It’s not unusual to see a golfer duff a shot only to go on to botch the next three, more exasperated each time. This kind of death spiral implosion is never fun to watch and less fun when it happens to you. When you find yourself dipping into the vortex of bad play, the only way out is to create serenity in your mind – lie to yourself, if necessary. Remind yourself of why you love the game and how good it felt when you were on the upward spiral of good play.

Stay tuned

and we’ll tee off on the fourth for next time.

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