Manage Your Emotions To Lower Your Golf Scores – Part One

“Championship golf is not about who hits the best shots, it’s about who does the best job of controlling his emotions”
Tom Weiskopf

The majority of us golfers have watched the golf comedy movies like Caddyshack, Tin Cup, and Happy Gilmore. If you’re one of the few who haven’t, then I strongly urge you to do so. Actually, I really encourage you to see every golf movie you are able to obtain. Recently I watched two golf movies. One of those movies was “Bobby Jones, a stroke of genius”, and the other movie was “The Greatest Game Ever Played”. Both of these movies actually brought tears to my eyes. Seriously! And I’m not embarrassed to say that. Each of these golf movies were about conquering tremendous obstacles and success in both golf AND IN LIFE. Both movies tugged at my emotional chords.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the comedies are great as well, for what they are! But, a number of the characters’ actions aren’t what you should do in your own golf game. Watch those comedy kinds of golf movies with discernment. Enjoy them and come away from them with a big smile and just think “what a great sport I love that has so much fun, joy and laughter to go along with it.”

We all seem to enjoy those comedy golf movies because us golfers so desperately desire for a pro golfer to be expressive, to display their emotions and to be a “performer” like Happy Gilmore. Lee Trevino, Fuzzy Zoeller and Chi Chi used to give us some of that entertainment and we loved them for it!. We crave entertainment! That’s probably, ultimately why John Daly is a favorite pro golfer. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and we can all identify with him. He shows his anger, he swears, he lets us know about his troubles in his marriages etc.

But take a look at who the top golfers on the tours are: Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickleson, Annika Sorenstam. They’re all rather dull to watch. Out of those golfers, the only one we ever see displaying his emotions is Tiger Woods. Tiger is an exception, as you’ll sometimes see him show his disgust and anger at a bad shot. But Tiger Woods has had many many years of mental training in managing his emotions and he has clearly learned very well how to compartmentalize. Nevertheless, 99% of the time Tiger is as robotic and cold-looking as those others. Sadly, it’s only the rare golfer who plays great golf at a top level and yet is also entertaining for us to watch at the same time.

So, I’m really sorry to point this out, but Happy Gilmore is merely just a fantasy. If you really want to score well then you need to become more like Retief Goosen with regard to your emotions. Why? Because of the mind-body connection and communication system. You’ve possibly heard this phrase casually bandied around in relation to a number of issues related to health and healing. And indeed, it does apply there for sure. But what is it?

I’ve been asking this question for awhile now and I believe I finally found the answer in a book called: Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert. She was a government research scientist trying to find ways to help drug addicts recover. Her studies led her to fighting aids and other diseases. And it all boils down to this:

We create our own body chemistry with our habitual thoughts.

That’s the mind-body connection and the more I learned about it, the more my golf game improved.

Are you aware that research has shown that a huge percent of cancer patients had experienced major life changes just before they were diagnosed with the disease? A large number of you will know firsthand about the effects stress can have on your body. Anyway, I digress, so let’s get back to the subject of golf.

The bottom line to all of this for your golf game for you to know is that your body chemistry, which affects the actions of all of your cells, is very delicate and it doesn’t take much to get it out of balance. And it is all controlled by your subconscious mind that has as its primary directive, to PRESERVE THE BODY. So when you feel negative emotions, your subconscious mind acts in such a way as to do what it thinks is necessary to first and foremost keep you alive. This comes in direct opposition to playing a game like golf!

When you set if off balance with an emotion like ANGER, it prepares for a confrontation. This involves sending adrenaline out, sending peptides to cells everywhere to communicate the need to either prepare for battle or to shut down so that the cells that need the resources for battle get them. Many of those cells are NEEDED for playing golf! Many of those cells are located in your brain that are used to make good strategic decisions about your next golf shots. Those resources are needed in the nerve cells that you use for touch and feel on the putting green, for example, and they won’t be getting them!

You see, before I started learning some of what scientists have been discovering over the last couple of decades in this area, I just wasn’t convinced about all this emotion and feeling stuff. I simply didn’t give it any attention or thought. I figured that the key to my golf improvement was just another golf lesson and a few buckets of golf balls away. Of course, I noticed that the top golf pros were all very calm, steady, and emotionless. But I believed that it was because they were naturally like that, that they were merely born that way. WRONG! Those men and women have worked very hard to DEVELOP those attributes and skills with regard to controlling their emotions in their golf game. I think most of them probably didn’t actually need to learn all about the science of neuropeptides, ligands, fluid transport systems etc. to be convinced that they needed to do this to play golf well. They probably just observed that they played better when they developed their emotional I.Q. and so they worked on it just like they do their putting stroke.

That’s exactly what we need to do also, if we want some easy scoring benefits… Without Practicing. And here’s the good news: any golfer can develop and improve on this for the rest of their golfing life. Even more good news is that you don’t have to be a complete robot. Remember when I talked about your 3 different personalities on the golf course. Go ahead and have fun and laugh and smile during your personable phase. But, if you want to score lower then it’s vitally important to gain control of your negative thoughts and emotions.

Recently I read an article about “Terrible” Tommy Bolt in which he said that he admitted he has left a lot of money on the course because of all his temper tantrums over the years. He also said “It thrills crowds to see a guy suffer. That’s why I threw clubs so often. They love to see golf get the better of someone, and I was only too happy to oblige them. At first I threw clubs because I was angry. After a while it became showmanship, plain and simple. I learned that if you helicopter those dudes by throwing them sideways instead of overhand, the shaft wouldn’t break as easy. It’s an art, it really is…And never break your driver and putter in the same round.”

In part 2 of this, I’ll share with you some more solid ways to help control your emotions…now that you’re convinced you need to!

About the author: Craig Sigl is golf’s anti-practice expert. For years, he struggled to break 80 like so many amateur golfers. After throwing his clubs in the corner of his garage and giving up, he discovered golf’s secrets that changed his life and renewed his game. A year later he scored 77 on a championship course. He then went on to drive his handicap down to a 5, make a hole in one, and record his first under par round…all without practicing. He is now a mental toughness trainer and teaches his methods to golfers worldwide. To learn more about breaking 80 without practice go here now.

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  1. golf on February 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    You’ve got great insights about better golfing skills, keep up the good work!

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