Many of us can recall a day on the golf course when we hit great shots, chipped or pitched the ball close to the hole or made long putts. We probably scored well – maybe a personal best round – and thought I finally have this game figured out, only to go out the next time and feel like you are starting all over.
Sometimes there are barriers to playing good golf – they could be physical barriers, emotional or even mental barriers that keep us from performing our best. They could also be things we can’t control like the weather, slow play or playing with unfamiliar playing partners.
· Physical barriers: Lack of sleep, proper nutrition and poor fitness all play factors in to helping you play your best golf. Help your golf game by getting enough sleep each night, eating a good diet with plenty of liquids to avoid dehydration and exercise every day.
· Emotional barriers: If you are a person who feels stress, or is impatient, not flexible or easily frustrated, be aware that these can prohibit you from playing good golf. Work on the positives of playing golf for fun and social reasons, don’t keep score and don’t focus on bad shots.
· Mental barriers: We have all heard that golf is a mental game. Maybe you don’t concentrate or take time to practice. Get into your golf zone by concentrating more when you are playing. Schedule time to practice – even if it’s only 30-minutes once a week. Practice your short game so you are more confident. You will soon look forward to your practice time away from your other duties.
· Weather: We all picture a perfect day on the course with blue sky, perfect temperatures, sunny weather and perhaps a slight breeze. However, what we encounter on the course can include all types of weather – cloudy, blustery temps, gusting wind, rain and sometimes even sleet or snow. Since the weather can change during your four hours on the course, be prepared for all elements. Keep rain gloves, a rain suit, rain hat, extra towels and an umbrella in your bag (or bring it along with you) if the weather looks threatening or if you are playing in an event where you have to play in the rain. If you are playing in extreme heat, drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and stay in the shade as much as possible. The opposite is true if you are playing in the cold – walk as much as possible to help keep warm, dress in layers and be sure to wear a stocking cap or hat to keep the body heat from being lost.
· Slow Play: This is the number one reason most people site as a barrier from playing their best golf. While no one enjoy waiting for a slow group in front of them, you can be mindful of your own actions to not be a slow player in your own group. Get to you ball as quickly as possible, select your club, have your glove on and be ready to hit when it’s your turn. If you ride in a cart, select your club and walk to your ball (if safe) while others are playing. Try to create a pace of play that helps you settle in to your round and not one where you hurry and wait, hurry and wait, etc.
· Unfamiliar playing partners: Many times when playing in an event, you don’t have control over who you are paired with in your group. Some people will enjoy conversation and some people will barely talk with you. Recognize these differences and don’t allow it to bother your golf game.
Remember golf is a game and your ultimate goal should be to have fun on the course.