Golf Perspective: How to end the slump
Golf is a game. It’s a complex, difficult, fickle game. As you devote more time and energy to golf, you will inevitably, at some point, find yourself in a slump. We all have to battle through difficult times. We have all questioned whether all the work was worth it. In my journey I have found that the slump is the least of my problems and that how I deal with it makes all the difference.
I have played golf since I was 6 years old. During that time I have had more slumps than I can remember. Sometimes a quick tip got me back on track. Other times it took months of frustrating work. What I have learned as a golfer and a coach is that it’s really all about one thing: perspective. By creating perspective, we have the ability to control our reactions and our attitudes. Creating perspective is the ability to mentally back away from a situation, to create distance so you can look at it more analytically. Staying close to your frustration and disappointments is too much to carry, especially when it’s just a game. Here are a few activities to help you gain perspective on your game and help you enjoy the journey more.
Ask yourself: Why?
There is a reason you started playing golf, and there is a reason you continue to play golf. It could be for the challenge, or it could be because you enjoy spending time with friends and family members who play golf. The reason you play golf is what is going to give you energy to get through the difficult patches. If you love playing and you are struggling, keep playing. If you go to the range and practice more and take time away from playing, golf will soon seem like a chore. Remember, your reason for playing golf is yours. It can be anything. If it’s because you like to wear incredibly loud clothing, then go ahead and own it. Whatever it is, it’s your source of power and the thing that will help you get through the slump.
Lean on your strengths
When your golf game is in the dumps, go back to what you are good at. Conventional wisdom would have you go fix what is causing the problems. Instead, I suggest you go back to what you are good at. In some cases this might be what is causing the slump. If you are a good putter, then practice putting. You will feel quick success, and if that is the problem, you will emerge from the slump in no time. If putting is not the problem, you can use it to carry you through the slump. The positive feedback from your practice will put you back in a good mindset. Many golfers focus on the bad parts of their game and work hard to make it good. I suggest working on the bad parts of your game only to get them good enough during a slump.
Review your reactions
Take a second and review yourself. Watch your actions like you are watching a movie. Is it a good movie? Is it a movie you would be proud of? You are the only person at fault if you cannot control your emotions. Again, you are 100% in charge and totally accountable. You control how you react to everything, so choose to be a star in a movie that you are proud of.
People who are totally free to act on every emotion are called children. As we mature, we realize that it only takes a couple minutes to clean up the spilled milk and it’s not a big deal. When you act on your emotion, you take perspective out of the equation. You change your brain chemistry, and, as a result, you will make mistakes. Controlling your emotions is as important as controlling your shots on the golf course. Stay positive or neutral and take a breath when you feel like acting out. At the end of each hole give yourself a score of 1 to 5 (5= stayed very positive, 1= totally lost my head). You will soon notice that good emotional control will directly correspond to good scores.
Golf is a game. It’s a complex, difficult and fickle game. If you play long enough, you will find yourself in a slump. If you take control and decide to stay positive, you will weather the slump with less frustration.