Do you obsess over your scores after every round?
At some point after each round of golf I play, I replay the round in my head and mentally determine what mistakes I should have avoided in order to shave 5-10-15 strokes off my score. It’s usually simple things like 3-putts or drives OB. Things I think I should be good enough to avoid. As my scores get lower, I beat myself up more and more as I think that the 82 I just shot could have been a 76 if I could just tidy things up a bit. Then I realize I am not a pro golfer, I am a recreational golfer who plays once or twice a month if I am lucky.
This obsession tends to be pretty unhealthy for my golf game. I’ve also seen others afflicted with the same obsession. I often hear players make a triple bogey or worse, and afterward remark, “Well if I par out I can still break 90”. This is a telltale sign of score obsession. Worse yet, said player may become much less enjoyable to play with when they continue to ride the bogey train to a 96.
I would not say I am cured of this obsession. As I mentioned earlier I still mentally review rounds and determine where I could have saved a few strokes. The difference these days is that I take the errors I made as a positive rather than a negative. Sure I want to be a scratch golfer, but I may never get there. Even after decades of practice and playing most golfers do not experience a drastic sway in their handicap. This is why I now harness the obsession over score into a more healthy thought. Rather than letting my score determine my mood, I can use it for motivation. If I can pick 5 miscues and work on eliminating them, then I can build a game plan to actually shoot lower scores rather than panicking mid round because I have a superficial number in my head that I should shoot.
Odds are you are not going to break the course record every time you play, so why lose sleep over it. We should play the game of golf for the chance to grow, rather than achieving some finite point where we are satisfied. I have news for you, that finite feeling of true success most likely doesn’t exist.
I think this is part of what really separates good golfers from great golfers. Aside from talent, a mental approach that focuses on the process of growing your game, rather than reaching a target score or handicap is what really allows high-level players to have the emotional freedom to go low.
As far as improving further in this area, I sometimes play rounds from the forward tees to try to see how low I can go. There is no shame in playing the ladies tee. Be indifferent! Once you can post a low score it won’t be as scary from the back tees at 7,100 yards.
Trust the Process – sounds like a good follow-up post.
*The above article is a guest post from the great new golf-centric blog Indifferent Strokes. Be sure to visit the website for more articles along these lines and check back daily for new content.