Golf is a game of inclusion. There is something for everyone. Golf course skill levels range from championship layouts to pitch and putt courses where golf holes are less than 100 yards long. Multiple tee boxes on each hole invite players of all skill levels. Golf clubs and accessories meet the needs of a variety of players; there is no one size fits all in golf. Even the formats for playing the game include all types of challenges for players: stroke play, match play and group scrambles just to name a few.
Often we forget that there is more to this game than what we see on TV or read in magazines. It is exciting to see the high caliber of play from tour professionals and the amazing quality of the courses they play. This winter you can immerse yourself in these images. You might even imagine yourself playing along-side them. After all, we have to do something to occupy our time before the snow melts and our new golf season begins.
When you watch golf, notice how each player has their own style. Arnold Palmer did not swing like Gary Player or Jack Nicklaus but they each enjoyed a long history with the game. The same is true for players on tour today and at every golf course across the world. Nor do golfers use the same type of golf ball, the same clubs nor dress alike.
Golfers are as unique as snowflakes. We do not have to swing alike, look alike, use the same equipment or play like a pro to enjoy playing the game of golf. Yes, I agree our level of enjoyment escalates when we play better. But playing with realistic goals in mind can be much more rewarding. Notice the difference in how you feel when you place an unrealistic demand on yourself compared to just wanting to appreciate being on the golf course. Self-induced stress occurs when our expectations exceed our true beliefs. Stress creates tension and tension is the worst thing for you and your game. You will find that once you stop struggling to have the perfect game or wanting a shot that exceeds you present skill set you can enjoy the flow of the moment. Once you stop resisting you will begin to see improvement.
Take time over the winter to just stop and enjoy the moments of the season. No expectations, just create an awareness of the greatest gift of all, “the present.” Notice how you feel when you are not bogged down by the past or anxious about the future. Bring this new awareness with you to the golf course next season so you can get in the flow of playing your best golf one shot at a time. Wishing all of you a season of JOY! Happy Holidays.