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Stress Management

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Change your goal.

"I will aim at the center of every green."
"I will do my pre-shot routine every time."
"I will hold my finish every swing."

etc... Things that you have direct control over.
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Change your goal.

good points, tell yourself that you believe that you will make the putt or you believe you will split the fairway and do not expect that you will hit a good shot. failed expectations are a main place anger comes from.

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After a bad shot, take five seconds to get over it, visualize the shot you wanted, maybe even take a practice swing after the shot to feel what you wanted to do. After that, move on.

I can definitely understand the frustration. Everyone wants to do better. Beating yourself up after a bad shot is only going to set yourself up for another bad shot down the road. Plus, if you play with others, think about how they feel playing with you. Nobody likes playing with a hot tempered person on the course. I've stopped playing with some people because they lose it all the time on the course.

OK, this is starting to bring back some memories now. My friend that introduced me to golf always lost his temper. Unfortunately, his equipment suffered because of it. one day he broke three clubs in one mad run of anger! He basically took the club he was swinging and swung right into his bag after a bad shot. Fortunately his set was mixed with old and used clubs so he really didn't break anything he didn't already have a replacement of already.

Fast forward a couple of years. His granddad bought a nice set of clubs for both of them to use. My friend could take them out whenever he wanted, and the granddad would come get them if he ever needed them. My friend was a "changed" person, saying he wasn't going to throw these clubs or treat them like his others. Well, the very first time he played with them, we were on the second hole and he was hitting his second shot from the fairway. He totally biffed it, and out of sheer habit he got mad and hurled the club in a random direction. What was funny was watching the look on his face about .000005 seconds after his hands let go of the club and he had realized what he had done. His eyes got big and his jaw dropped as the club went twirling through the air directly for a pine tree. Luckily the club bounced off the tree and landed on the ground without damage. He was so scared after that he didn't throw any more clubs for that round.
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You're playing golf. Where's the stress?


I'm not saying this to be flippant, but simply to point out that you're playing a game. Sure, you want to perform your best. Sure, you want to win some money from your friends or whatever. But if you don't - if you give it your best and simply don't win - what's really changed? You got some exercise, learned something, and your spouse and/or kids or parents will love you all the same.

Know what I mean? It's a game. Save the stress for work.
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After a bad shot, take five seconds to get over it, visualize the shot you wanted, maybe even take a practice swing after the shot to feel what you wanted to do. After that, move on.

I just started playing golf a 2-3 months ago by going in the range and used to get frustrated after missing the ball. This is one of the best advice out there....I also take a couple secs or mins before hitting another shot. I mean after all isnt golf a sport (a stress reliever? ).

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Anyone here know any tips to keep you less angry during a round? I feel myself getting more and more stressed with every bad shot I hit!

Almost decided not to post any comment after reading through the posts, since it isn't clear whether anyone is wanting to dig deeply or just go for the bandaid route. I will assume your concern is a real one.

"Less angry" does not have a measurement. Anger is on a continuum always and there are as many at the "less," "more" or "most" points on that continuum as there are people. So I am thinking that your real concern lies in how to manage anger while playing the game. First, anger is a natural, normal emotion that instantly appears whenever anyone experiences pain, so we cannot expect not to have any. Nature does not opt out on that one. It is there for a purpose and cannot be erased, no matter that some may think they can make that happen with will power or brain control or just thinking happy thoughts. (To begin with, our internal non conscious systems do not know and don't care whether any demand presented is viewed by you as positive or negative. Your non conscious, non discriminatory system will treat both the same way. Consciously you may be happy with winning the lottery and sad with a tragic accident, but your system will be stressed by both, and that could be more for the lottery than for the accident, BTW. So how can we manage anger, if it is going to occur with any or every missed shot, and it is (though some will say that they have beat that rap with "positive thinking." Positive thinking only attaches conscious thought. That, of course, is better than negative thinking, but is only 3% of the deal with thinking that is conscious. Anger occupies the 97% that is non conscious, which positive thinking cannot offset, no matter what you conscious thought is telling you). So a couple of the posters mentioned something like "shake it off after 3 seconds, or so." That's close. The objective here is to "manage" the anger, not avoid it. What happens is that if we wait till the anger is there, it is too late to manage it. It will manage us instead. So at some time when you are in your easy chair, at rest and not angry, make a COVENANT with yourself in the following way: agree to recognize your anger when it comes along, set a time limit on how long you will allow it to be there and then determine to blow it off and go the the next shot. (I use a 30 second limit, myself, but others use whatever they choose). COVENANT is in caps for one reason. It is stronger than a promise and we make that with ourselves, so that it is much harder to break. We break promises all the time, especially around New Year. Now you have placed yourself in command of your anger and it is no longer in command of you. BTW, I recognize that we do not usually speak in such ways on forums since they are supposed to be for opinion (I have heard). But the matter that you raise is much too important to skirt and treat lightly. If that is offensive to anyone, I will apologize to that person.
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I must admit, a few weeks ago i used to suffer big time from anger. We play for fun, we practice to get better and when it goes wrong, in Golf i find nothing gets me more frustrated!

I had to kerb my temper, but then my old man asked me "are you a professional golfer?" i said "no" he said "Why worry then? Even professionals hit bads shots during games, and your not a Pro"

Since then, my temper is a hundread times better, sure i still mutter under my breath a few bad words. Then i jsut take some deep breaths and think about why it went wrong.

Always think positive, i know its hard when for example you hook the ball OB. But try to get back into a positive mind frame for the next shot!
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It helps a bit to change your mindset when you're on the course. When I go out to play golf, I go out to have a good time with friends, get away from the stresses of home and work, and just enjoy a morning/afternoon outside in the sun playing a game I like to play. If you go out there trying to compete (even if it's just against yourself) and get it in your head that you just have to do well, or something is wrong, you're going to get stressed about it. Instead of going out there with that mindset of competition and stress, go out to enjoy your time on the course. It makes it alot easier to just let those bad shots go. You'll end up less stressed, and as a result, you may even play better.

Another thing I'll do that helps is to try to point out the good side of a shot. If I hit one off the tee that slices off into the rough, instead of thinking 'darn, I hit that one in the rough,' I'll think, 'nice, I don't have to go off into the woods to find that one'. That's helped me a good bit too.
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  • 5 years later...

I also have an anger problem on the course.

It usually doesn't appear at the first bad shot, but after a few.

In my case, I think it comes from the frustration of knowing that I normally (during practice) don't make such bad shots (talking about really big misses here, like shanking your 7-iron ob from the middle of the fairway!).

Combine that with personal expectations and goals that are being put too high, and you get uncontrollable anger after a few very bad shots.

The bad shots, in return, are often being caused by the stress, resulting from the high expectations and goals, thus you end up in a never-ending circle.

At least, this seems to be the case for me.

Lowering your goals and expectations should help a little.

i.e.: when you usually average 90/round, you could tell yourself: anything under 96 is ok!

Also, you can try lowering the stress during your swing/shot by thinking about your favorite music for example.

This should allow your unconscious swing-routine to take over (partially) from your conscious swing-routine, hopefully resulting in better shots, or at least making less bad shots.

I haven't tried it out yet, but surely will at my next round.

I'll let you know whether it helps!

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You're a much better golfer than I am, but I too deal with anger. One statement that I make often is "they ain't payin me to play". It helps me remember that I'm there to enjoy a round of golf. I tend to put myself under a magnifying glass and over analyze every aspect of my game. Do you have realistic goals for your golf game? Make sure that your expectations don't exceed you effort. I don't practice as often as I feel that I should, yet get frustrated at a slow improvement. How can I attempt to make a comparison to a professional if I don't dedicate the time that they do. Realistically, I never practice and when I do attempt a session at the range, it sucks because I don't practice the way my instructor said that I should. So I try to remember how much effort that I put into the game before I set goals. Give yourself a break so you can enjoy the game.
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Stress relieving thoughts on golf:

1. Golf is a game where you put in a quarter (practice time) and are lucky to get a dime back.  If you haven't practiced a couple hours this week putting and chipping you simply can't be stressed over not getting up and down around every green.

2. Look around you as the other groups on the course pass you.  It's likely you're better than 80% of them.  The fact that not hitting your shots negatively affects you means you're probably a decent player.

3.  Accept the fact that you aren't Justin Rose and do not possess his skill set or dedication to the game.  You simply can't be a scratch golfer (most of us, anyway) unless golf is your full-time gig AND you have the talent of a Justin Rose.

4.  You're outside, the weather is good, golf course beautiful, you're not working, you're with friends or others who also enjoy the game.  Stop stressing and ENJOY the experience.

My other money-sucking hobby is playing music.  I'm in a hippie-sixties show band that plays larger outdoors shows during the summer/fall months.  If I stressed over every 'clam' I hit during a show, playing and performing would cease to be fun.  And I wouldn't do it anymore.

Same with golf.  If it becomes a major source of stress and unhappiness it may be time to give it up and take up something less stressful in your life.


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Note: This thread is 2881 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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