Out of the Bunker: Don’t focus on perfection, just relax and play the game


Golf is not a game of perfect. Many of you have probably heard those words before, and they most certainly ring true.

In fact, noted sports psychologist Bob Rotella wrote a book with that exact title.

But what does it mean?

Golf cannot be perfected. It’s a fact that many of you need to keep in mind. Unfortunately, the pursuit and expectation of being perfect can cause major struggles for golfers.

I see it all of the time while watching golfers play and practice. A poor shot leads to the shaking of a head, and before you know it your confidence is gone.

It’s time to change that attitude.

Golf is about learning to play your mistakes. Rather than shake your head in disgust after a poor tee shot, it’s time that you begin figuring out how to recover from your poor shot and salvage a good score.

This attitude takes plenty of discipline, and it’s this discipline that separates lower handicap golfers from higher handicap golfers.

For those of you who expect to improve your golf game, you need to learn to accept poor golf shots. Don’t be so concerned with whether or not you hit the fairway with your tee shot. Don’t be so concerned with whether or not you strike your iron shot directly towards the pin. And don’t be so concerned with whether or not your chipping and putting is ‘up to par.’

These concerns lead to mental tension, and this, ultimately, makes this wonderful game become less fun to play.

It’s not that important.

I suffered through this attitude of expecting perfection for many years, and the game definitely became less fun for me.

These days, my priorities have changed. I have learned to accept poor shots better than I used to, and my game has actually improved as a result.

A poor shot simply creates an opportunity to showcase my ability to play a different way. I have to be creative with my recovery shots, and I enjoy that aspect of the game.

The next time you go to the course, put less pressure on yourself to hit perfect golf shots.

Instead, try to relax and realize that a poor shot doesn’t necessarily lead to a poor score.

Accept the challenge and learn to be creative. Do this and the game of golf will always remain fun.

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