Handling Frustration

Golf can be a very frustrating pursuit if you allow it to be. Here is a typical comment.

"I know that I get nervous when I'm having a good round then start screwing up as a result. I know I get frustrated when I'm having a bad round and it just gets worse". Does this sound like someone you know?

Losing a tournament in a play off frustrates even accomplished professional golfers. Plus, the best golf courses are designed to be difficult to play to emotionally frustrate a golfer. Yes, Old Man Golf just loves to frustrate you and leave you talking or cursing to yourself. Yet, golfers can't wait to play another round of golf. Don't you love this game of golf?

Frustration is easier to handle if you understand why it exists. Frustration is caused by not accomplishing or getting what you want. You can reduce your frustrations by focusing on what you can achieve and then build on your successes, instead of dwelling on your failures or frustrations. You cannot control the outcome, but you can control the process.

Here is a simple game plan that will reduce your frustrations. First, start by selecting only one or two mechanical or mental processes to work on at a time. Once you master the process, your golf will improve and you will lower your score.

Pick small process goals initially. After you master small goals, move on to larger ones.

Change takes time because your mind is very good at keeping you where you are. It is almost impossible to change over night, so there is no need to get frustrated. Just acknowledge that it will take time to change and take it one step at a time.

This will relieve a lot of frustration if you are honest with yourself and acknowledge your present limitations. As you gain more control over yourself and improve the process, you will become less frustrated and more confident in your ability to eventually succeed.

Here are some comments from one golfer who is learning to handle her frustrations. "I tried to be a hero in the high grass and it cost me a bundle. I stayed calm, kept breathing, took the thoughts out and merely said, 'See it then do it'. After I simplified things, my game was more productive and MUCH more enjoyable. Things will always get better, the steps in golf are just smaller".

If you learn to walk before you run, you will be less frustrated and more successful in the long run.

Let's take a look at the comments from two golfers with the yips. "I'm looking to see if I could find a cure for my intermittent problem which surfaced when I was playing my 5th match in our Club's match play championship and I was favored to win." In this situation, the golfer's yips occurred when he was faced with winning a tournament. With proper insights, his yips can be eliminated very quickly.

However, it may take longer for this golfer to cure her yips because she feels her problem doesn't originate from her concern or fear about missing a putt. "I have been suffering from a serious case of the putting yips for over 20 years. I read everything I can on the subject. And don't tell me not to worry about missing a putt. I can miss any putt on any green with miraculous ease. The problem is in not allowing myself to make the putt."

Both of these golfers' yips result from fear. Once you acknowledge that you fear missing a putt, the next step is to realize that fear only can exist when you are concerned about the outcome or making the putt. Whenever you about to putt, your mind will replay the same emotional experience of fear and recreate the yips.

The only way to eliminate the yips is to train your mind to stop focusing on making the putt and focus solely on the process. This is easier said than done. However, if you can stay in the present and not worry about the outcome, you will not have fear and you will be more relaxed. This will allow your mind to instinctively read the green, determine how the ball will break and give you the proper direction and force to apply to sink the putt.

You can train your mind to stay in the present and remove your fear of missing the putt. If you miss the putt, don't worry because you would have missed it with the yips anyway.

After you putt allow your mind to learn from the feedback, so you can make the appropriate adjustments needed to sink future putts. In time you will make more putts and your fears and yips will disappear.

P.S.: Do you feel nervous on the first tee? Do you feel under pressure sometimes when putting to win? Are shots over water a problem for you? Then this problem can be a mental one. Here is a program that I can recommend to help you overcome it: The mental side of golf

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