What do you love about golf? Perhaps it’s the incredible challenge it offers? Or, perhaps it’s the enjoyment of being outdoors? Or, it may just be the joy of hanging out with your buddies. Whatever it is that you enjoy about this great game, make sure that you keep that in mind during the many frustrating moments you are sure to encounter while you are at the golf course.
One of the rarest sounds I ever hear around the golf course is laughter. Sure, I’ll hear it in the bar after the round, but rarely do I hear it anywhere else at the course. Instead, I’ll hear players cursing themselves out, juniors golfers crying in frustration, and the course marshall pleading for you to speed up. There is pressure all around us on the golf course! This pressure, however, is generally self-inflicted. We, as golfers, tend to place too much pressure on ourselves that we forget how to enjoy this beautiful game.
Growing up, I learned to enjoy the idea of simply being at the golf course. It was a privilege, and I treated it as such. Half of my day would be spent hanging out in the snack bar, hoping to get to drive a golf cart, and just enjoying being around other golfers. As I grew older, it became more difficult to maintain the pure enjoyment of being around a golf course. The game started to become much more serious, and it began to feel more like work, rather than play.
One of my greatest challenges as a golf professional is to spark that love for the game in each of my students. Keep the game fresh, and make the journey an enjoyable one. This is particularly important with my junior golfers. Rather than having them feel as though they are simply practicing to get better, I like to challenge them to contests. It’s fun to see who can hit the ball the highest, or strike a certain post on the practice range fence. Quietly, I may even challenge them to hit the moving range cart picking up balls! These challenges continue onto the chipping and putting greens. There are many different chipping and putting games that you can play, and I would suggest doing more of that.
As for adults, I always enjoy watching players wagering with one another on the putting green. It’s fun, and can often times get a little bit heated. However, it is a terrific way to keep the game fun, while also improving your skills.
As you continue to establish goals for yourself to improve in the upcoming golf season, I would suggest figuring out ways to keep the game fun. Find a friend, or a group of friends that you enjoy being around, and challenge each other in various contests around the golf course. Golf is a game, after all. If you can learn to not take it quite so seriously, you will learn to enjoy it so much more. And who knows? You may even get better along the way.