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Controlling frustration


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I am a pretty patient guy with most things, there are only a few things that get me a little annoyed

1. People driving slow in the left lane

2. When the All Blacks lose

3. When I play bad golf

Yesterday I played a round, and although it wasn't bad in terms of score ( 86 ), I could not putt, at all. I had five 3 putts, yes, five. 3 of them from within 20 feet.

The greens were not tough by any means, I just couldn't putt, plain and simple

I get annoyed at one 3 putt, and will whisper a curse, but when I wrote up my third,  I was, for the first time, on the verge of imploding.

Now I didn't yell or break anything, but I was frustrated as hell for the last 6 or 7 holes and was not feeling smooth and in the groove.

This was probably the reason for the nest two 3 putts....which I sorta took with a grain of salt and just laughed off.

I found myself going after the ball harder ( hello slice off the tee ) and over shooting greens etc

It was the worst round of putting I have ever had ( 37 ) and I know there is literally 5 shots I should have back.

Does anyone else experience pure frustration?

How do you deal with it so it doesn't effect your game?

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After I hit a bad putt, or hit a terrible shot, I try to forget it.  If it's just not my day, and my score starts to skyrocket, I try to tell myself to just hit the next shot the best I can (which we should all do on every shot, anyway). Sometimes I'm surprised at how quickly my game then turns around and I end up shooting what I normally do anyway.  Golf---what a game!

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I had a recent experience where it all went wrong on the front nine.  Around the 7th hole I started drinking, it loosened me up and I cared less and less.  As I relaxed and swung easier.  We played 27 that day and the last 18 were the best 18 I ever shot to date.  It was a great experience.  Tension is bad, figure out how to get over it.  Each swing is important and the one before it has no bearing on the one at hand.

I agree, the fast lane is for high rollers.  If I am doing 30 over the limit in the left lane and you are coming up on me in the left lane, I am out and you are in.

All Blacks losing I am OK with.

If I got mad when I played bad golf I would have been mad for the last 2 years.  I am seeing a great improvement this year so I am OK with the occasional malfunction, trying to keep the tension out.  I played 18 on fathers day and with my whole family (there can be some tension there)  shot my personal best on a very hard course.  Go figure.

Take a deep breath before every stroke, putts included.

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Hmm, for me its mostly just trying to get one good shot down. If its chipping, and short games bad, just get it on the green with in 7 feet or so. For Irons, just hit on in the center of the green.

Basically its to get one good shot in to get the mojo going.

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I read an article by a psychologist who said that the best way to get past something that you fail at (ie. choking) is to revel in the failure. Think about your mistake. Think about it until it's so ingrained in your mind, until you don't feel the pain anymore, until it becomes numb. Your body tends to have less of an adverse chemical reaction the next time you are in a similar situation that way. It usually works better for me than trying to forget because I suck at forcing myself to forget things like that. Also, I lash into my next drive. :-P
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Similar thought process for long distance running, celebrate the pain and discomfort as a sign you're pushing your body beyond its comfort zone and improving.  It's not always the easiest thing to do, but it does work.  Since I've only been playing for a year (six months actual playing time) my expectations aren't so high that I get too frustrated.  I actually get less frustrated now since I'm at the point where I know what I messed up (head lifted up, hips shifted too far back, flipped wrists at contact) and make sure I don't do it again versus not knowing why I did.

Originally Posted by jamo

I read an article by a psychologist who said that the best way to get past something that you fail at (ie. choking) is to revel in the failure. Think about your mistake. Think about it until it's so ingrained in your mind, until you don't feel the pain anymore, until it becomes numb. Your body tends to have less of an adverse chemical reaction the next time you are in a similar situation that way. It usually works better for me than trying to forget because I suck at forcing myself to forget things like that.

Also, I lash into my next drive.



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Originally Posted by jamo

I read an article by a psychologist who said that the best way to get past something that you fail at (ie. choking) is to revel in the failure. Think about your mistake. Think about it until it's so ingrained in your mind, until you don't feel the pain anymore, until it becomes numb. Your body tends to have less of an adverse chemical reaction the next time you are in a similar situation that way. It usually works better for me than trying to forget because I suck at forcing myself to forget things like that.

I think "shrinks" are like my golf game; every so often, they get it right.  In the above example, I think they got it right and I couldn't agree more.  IME, we, as humans, have a need to be viewed as competent and as accepted individuals by our peers.  From there, we garnish the praise (stroking) from others and it gives us a feeling of self-worth.  In contrast, when we fail, we open ourselves up for ridicule and avoidance by others which tends to lead to self-loathing.  It's the latter, when left unchecked, can lead people to have a fear of failure.  From there, they avoid situations where they could fail.  Unfortunately, in order to achieve success, you have to risk failure.  Once you learn that failure is a plausible outcome for certain things and/or events, then the "risk" aspect of it becomes lessened because you're prepared for any pain that may arise should you indeed, fail.

I used to play golf with a bud that was a classic example of the above.  He wanted the success of beating me, but didn't want the risk of losing to me.  So, he shaved strokes, he improved his lie and he gave himself gimmes on the green.  As he started beating me--and gloating about it, I graciously accepted my losses and congratulated him on playing well.  After a while, I noticed (actually, it was my other buds that tipped me off) that he was cheating and I called him on it.  He tried to turn the table by insinuating that I was cheating.  Fortunately, all my buds came to my defense and told him that my stroke counts were always correct, but his seldom were.  He stopped playing with us shortly thereafter.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamo

Also, I lash into my next drive.


LOL.  If I could lash into my next drive after hitting a poor shot/putt and actually hit a good drive; I'd do it.  Unfortunately, when I lash at any shot on the golf course I may as well just write a "10" for my score on that hole.  While some golfers play better after experiencing a little adversity, I am not one of those people.  While I can and do accept it when I fail, there's no need for me to invite it over to spend even more time with me.


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Unfortunately I have the odd occasion where I end up swearing (to myself) or slamming my club on the ground after a bad shot. Suprisingly it really does help me! Due to my handicap I have expected bad holes so I can get away with it. If I was playing off of a low handicap and looking to go say 5 over for a round and got a triple bogey I would be in dire straits!

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I know the feeling of just total frustration when all you want to do is make one putt! It seems that my best rounds come when I accept the results and don't get too tied into score. If I hit a bad shot, I try to realize that its just a bad shot and that it is not life or death. I see some guys just lose their cool and think to myself that I will never be that good to justify ever losing it on the course. It is a bit sarcastic, but it allows me to approach the next shot in the best frame of mind. I remember a round where I started off by missing two consecutive 4 footers in the first three holes. I just gave in to the fact that it happens and finished the round with 13 one putts for a 76. That never would have happened if I threw my putter into the next fairway.

I can tell you one thing, my positive attitude works most of the time, but my negative attitude works all the time. I have to really concentrate on target and accept the bounces as they come so that I can put the best swing on the ball that I possibly can. Now tell me all that when I miss a 3 footer on 18 to shoot my first under par round!

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This will sound childish, but I throw a temper tantrum!  Not like I do it every round or anything like that, haven't done it in several years, but if I have a spell of bad/frustrating golf, I just let go with every cuss word I know, and stomp my feet.  It never helps at the time, but when I look back I think how childish that was and remember that not to long ago golf wasn't even an option, I find a happy place and will start playing well again.

One of buddies would throw clubs, again, not like it was every round, I would not have played with him if he would do that, but he would release his frustration by throwing a club.  And not just a toss to the side, I've seen him wing a driver 40-50 yards down the fairway.  I think it would hit him like it does me, because after he retrieved the club he would have this sheepish look on his face, but he usually settled down and would play good golf.

Now I don't really condone any of this antics, but if someone I am playing with does this, it actually makes me play better, I feed of the negative vibes.  I wish I had a better solution to playing frustrating golf but I don't, you will have to find your own way of venting.

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actually just last night...a guy in my leagues (i was in the fairway a hole away, roughly 50 yards from his green...) proceeded to 4 putt from about 15 feet...and tomahawk'd his putter a solid 50 yards...i didn't know whether to clap, laugh or shake my head...

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This is my nemesis as well.  I'm also generally a pretty chill guy, but a really disappointing round where I'm leaving lots of dumb strokes on the course gets me really worked up and frustrated.

Not that I've mastered this (at all!).  But here's what's been helping me a bit:

As a long time athlete (multiple high school sports, college baseball), I get so frustrated cause I'm competitive.  Not with my buddies.  We josh each other about getting or giving strokes on holes and stuff, but I don't feel super competitive with them.  I feel super competitive with myself, or against the course.

I've found that embracing the competitiveness actually helps me.  If I have a dumb 3 putt, or a blow up hole with a couple uncharacteristically poor shots, I try to think about it like I'm pitching.  Maybe I'm 3 over through 4 holes when I feel I should be 1 over, but just like if you're pitching and give up a couple runs early, you've gotta buckle down and keep your team in the game.  I try to do the same thing on the course.  Focus and try to concentrate on each shot and keep a couple strokes I've given away from turning into 10 and killing my score.

I've found this even works later in the round.  If I just give away a bunch of strokes on the front 9 and pretty much kill the opportunity to break 80, I turn it into a 9 hole match with myself to see if I can break 40 on the back and keep the overall score respectable for my current skill level.  If things keep going poorly, on the last 4 or 5 holes I'll challenge myself to just play one excellent hole that I can keep in my mind to build on for the next round.

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Originally Posted by Gioguy21

actually just last night...a guy in my leagues (i was in the fairway a hole away, roughly 50 yards from his green...) proceeded to 4 putt from about 15 feet...and tomahawk'd his putter a solid 50 yards...i didn't know whether to clap, laugh or shake my head...

One time I was playing with my brother and we had switched putters for the round. We come to a par three with water and he misses the short birdie putt. He got so pissed that he slung the putter into the middle of the lake. I reminded him that it was my putter (Ping B60) and that I would keep his Ping Zing 2 as payment. After that day he switched from lakes to trees until he left a 5 iron in the pine (we both worked at the course so we got a piece of pvc to get it out). He was 19 and a hotshot and soon realized that anger is not productive.  Just a short time later he was taking his PAT and on the first hole hit a branch that was encroaching on the tee. He ended up hitting it again and reteed laying 5 and made a quad but kept his cool and shot 80 for the round. It was a good lesson that if you keep it together you have a chance to recover.

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