Over the years in the golf business, I can’t tell you the number of times I have felt like a “golf bartender”. “How’re you doing?,” only to get the reply that starts with, “Well, on #1 I tried to hit my drive down the left side, but instead it went ….” Not only am I blessed with hearing about all the shots he wanted to play but the ones he actually hit. That’s like what, 36 holes of a bad golf story?
Now don’t get the idea I don’t want to hear about your game, but I think most golf professionals would prefer hearing about our student’s good rounds. Or, just tell me it was a bad day and you really need some help. This sends the conversation over to me to ask why it was such a bad day.
Take the time that our ladies’ club champion came in and I asked how she was doing. She says, “Terrible”. Well, now I’m curious so I ask why and hear, “I don’t understand it. I’ve been practicing real hard, my short game has been really great, but now I’ve started shanking everything unless it’s a full shot. To make things worse, I’m so worried about missing the green and having to hit a little wedge I can’t hit the green if my life depends on it. My whole game just sucks!!”
Now here’s a good player, about a 3 or 4 handicapper, who has suddenly had the bottom fall out of her game and is shooting mid to high 80’s. I know she hasn’t made any mechanical changes, so what happened? I say, “Listen BP, you got a bad attitude!!”
When your game goes south on you, it is generally not because of bad physical mechanics but bad mental mechanics. You have one bad shot and you don’t let it go. BP hadn’t hit a shank in years and then did – once. She hits thousands of shots a week but she let this one shot dominate her thoughts every time she set up to hit a ball. No longer did she see herself pitching the ball close to the hole. Her thought process was focused on where her shanked ball was going to finish rather than where a good shot would go. This type of thinking put more pressure on her long shots, because it didn’t really matter how close to the hole she hit the ball. In her mind, shanking the putt was not out of the question.
We went to the range and talked about her bad attitude, compared that to her thought process when she played well, and then spent about 15 minutes seeing who could hit shots closest to various targets less than 100 yards away. Because I made her focus on our competition, her thought process shifted from hitting bad shots to hitting good ones and trying to beat me. She didn’t hit a bad shot the entire time.
The next time you get a bad attitude and your golf game goes with it, hitch your pants up and start using a positive attitude – like the one you have working when you’re having fun and playing well.
Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at Kanders@estrelladelmar.com or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting