Once again autumn is upon us and as your reading this New England is showing her beautiful fall colors. The air is crisp and layered clothing is essential to a comfortable round. As the days get shorter I find 9 holes rounds, walking with a good friend preferably, to be just what the doctor ordered. Many of us “avid golfers” that seem to have hit a wall or felt our game as well as desire getting stale, seem to experience a “rebirth” as we realize the good golf weather is soon gone until next spring.
My craving for that magic bullet of an additional ten yards can be put off and rationalized until next spring, the season when hope springs eternal. For now time is precious and my “looking for game in all the wrong places” only serves to create interference obscuring where I really should be focusing…. on having FUN! If you have been paying attention to this column since its inception, I continually promote the premise that performance equals potential minus interference, now it’s time for me to follow my own advice. The great and ageless baseball pitcher and philosopher, Leroy “Satchel” Paige had the right attitude, “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like nobody’s watching.” To those great words of wisdom I like to add, swing like you’ve never missed!
Fall is also a great time to remember to turn frustration into fascination. The courses are less crowded so you can change it up and play different formats like alternate shot or 2 man scrambles in the spirit of this Ryder Cup year! Worst Ball is another great game that keeps you focused as well as gives 18 holes worth of swings in 9 holes of golf. It can be played alone but it’s even more fun with 2 people. Each player hits 2 drives and chooses the worst one and picks up the better one. From the location of your “worst” one, hit two more shots. Again choose your “worst” one picking up the other and playing 2 shots from that location. Keep this up, including putting, until each of you holes out your “worst ball.” A great goal for the scratch golfer in this game is to break 40 for 9 holes. Whatever your 18 hole handicap is, cut it in half and add 5 for nine holes. See how well you do and remember not to get discouraged, keep it fun.
The benefits of Worst Ball are plentiful. You will learn to stay in the moment over each shot because if you happen to hit a good recovery shot you’ll be forced to repeat it or abandon it and play the less desirable one. Also you will really have to tap into your creative side to pull off some of these recovery shots. Mark Twain said it best when he said “you can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” After a few rounds of “Worst Ball” in the fall, you’ll kick off your spring golf with a new found sense of confidence and creativity.
Lighten up and have fun. Be your own best friend out there. Eliminate negative self talk. Catch yourself doing something good. And hey… swing like you’ve never missed!
Mr. Molden is a Performance Coach and Consultant who’s helped PGA and LPGA Tour stars, elite athletes, entertainers, business executives and entrepreneurs achieve phenomenal personal and professional results. For more information about his Performance Development Group programs and services, visit Wired4Winning.com and HireStrength.com.