There’s a mental aspect to the game of golf. It’s just you, the ball and the hole.
Brady Wilson, general manager at Southern Dunes, said it’s best to try to keep the mission simple.
“I think a lot of people focus on technique and then start worrying about how they swing the club. The point of the game is to get the ball in the hole in the fewest strokes possible.”
That said, there is a mental side of the game that can’t be ignored, according to Wilson.
“Your golf game will mirror your life,” he said. “So, if you’re going through some kind of a personal struggle off the course, it will probably show up on the course. So, it’s good to be in a solid state of mind before your round.”
Bryon Gribbons, general manager at The Duke, said managing expectations is critical.
“If you’re the type who doesn’t practice, you can’t expect to go out and shoot under 80,” Gribbons said. “But if you’re grinding, getting lessons and putting the work in, then your expectations should change. But if you’re going to be the guy who doesn’t practice and shoots a 120, your expectation should be to go out there and have a good time.
“I don’t know if there’s a psychology to it as much as it’s just a hard sport. If you don’t practice, you’re not going to get better.”
Everyone has been on the course when someone in their foursome or one nearby has a meltdown. They miss an easy shot, or they hit a slice reminiscent of Ted Knight’s in the movie “Caddyshack.” (“Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir, and I never slice.” And then he does.) The yelling and screaming can sometimes be a distraction to others.
“I think we’ve all had tough rounds,” Wilson said. “But golf is a gentleman’s game. So, if you’re having a bad day and you start screaming and throwing clubs, you’re probably taking away from someone else’s experience. And now they’re uncomfortable. So, the thing to remember is that golf is a game of etiquette and even in your most frustrating times, you need to be cognizant that you’re not taking away from someone else’s experience.”
Wilson referenced “Ted Lasso,” the Apple television show about an American football coach leading a British soccer team.
“You’ve got to think like a goldfish,” Wilson said. “It only has a 10-second memory.”
“The thing about golf is that you have to count all of the shots. There are no do-overs. So, once you hit a stroke, whether it was good or bad, it’s over and it counts. So, it’s best to put your energy into the next one because that one’s going to count, too.”