Are you one of those people who cannot stop yourself from throwing a tantrum, or your club, when the golf ball goes off on a “frolic of it’s own”? In your defense, I’m sure that you only respond in this way because you care about your game. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard this particular line of defense used by a golfer attempting to justify his bad behavior!
I’m sorry if I appear sexist here in my assumption that this is a “male thing” but it does tend to be mainly men who suffer from such outbursts on the course. Perhaps this is because traditionally men are more competitive in nature, or because they are more concerned about another’s opinion of their performance. Maybe this is in the male gene pool, dating back to when we lived in caves, and it was massively important then for the male to perform well. Perform or do not survive.
Certainly, many golfers act as if their life depended on that last shot. A stray ball dents ones pride and ones confidence. It affects you at a very personal level. And the memory of that stray shot goes round and round in your mind, haunting you and taunting you on its way. The rest of the game is ruined as you stomp from hole to hole, head down, muttering obscenities under your breath. The anger induced tension ruins not just your equilibrium and enjoyment of this fantastic game, but it ruins your focus and rhythm too.
A negative cycle of effect ensues. The tense rhythm of your swing snakes its way down your club from hands to shaft to club face…and the ball shoots off in strange and unexpected directions. Yet this shouldn’t really be unexpected. It is the natural effect of anger. When angry, not only are you restricted by tension, you cannot think clearly, you cannot focus, your mental capacity is restricted and imprisoned by your pent up emotions.
And in golf, you have to think clearly and focus upon what you want to happen. You have to relax and swing freely and mentally direct your ball towards the hole. Golf balls do as they are told. If you direct then in an angry manner, they will respond in a fierce and angry way!
So what can you do to stop getting angry on the golf course? There are many mental skills involved in playing great golf, and if you do not learn them your golf will never be that great. You can learn to take a step back, dissociate from the emotion and calm both mind and body. This is an art, and one which everyone can learn. You can learn to turn a blind eye to those shots which didn’t turn out exactly as you had hoped; you can learn to erase these negative memories from your golfing mind. You can learn to replace these thoughts and images with ones which are far more productive. You can learn to focus clearly and block out unnecessary distractions.
There are as many mental skills to be learned in golf as shots to play. And the key to them all is hypnosis. Hypnosis is a state of relaxation and focus. It is a state which allows easy learning and greater creativity. In learning to use hypnosis you also learn to change state in a moment, to switch from anger to calmness