I have always thought along the lines that if I can play a difficult course as my home club then when I go elsewhere it won’t be too difficult by comparison. I like the challenge of a reasonably tough course.
That said I do appreciate that it can be a greater challenge psychologically. As a friend said the other day, “There are too many bad memories” for one to overcome. A tough course is not just more technically challenging; it is more mentally challenging as well.
It is vitally important to have a robust and watertight post-shot and post-game routine when you play a tough course. You have to be able to let go of bad memories and only retain the emotional impact of your best results. If you do not pay heed to this mental challenge you will find yourself over-whelmed by bad memories as you stand upon the tee box or putting green and your subsequent shot or stroke will reflect your emotional dilemma.
I can understand why many people moan and groan about difficult courses. I do sympathize…to a degree. But then there comes a point where I would have to say, “Stop whining – Put up or shut up!” Golf poses many challenges and it reveals ones true character.
If you just want to play easy golf, then choose easy courses. If you are not willing to put the time in to improve your golf both technically and mentally then you will find a tough course very dispiriting. All that will happen is that bad memories of poor shots will build up and your handicap will reflect this too.
Golf is a game. It is meant to be fun. Not everyone wants to beat balls on the range or take endless lessons. If you just want to have a nice day out with your friends and hit a ball along the way then why punish yourself by playing a difficult course?
Alternatively, if your home course is difficult, you could just take the attitude that the results don’t matter. Nobody else cares what your handicap is, so who should you? The fact is however, that most golfers do care about their handicap and don’t like to see it climbing.
An “in between” route that you might like to adopt is to just get a little more mentally savvy. If your driver isn’t working for you on tight fairways, you could just leave it in your bag and hit a shorter club that you can rely upon. Three shots to the green instead of two leaves you with a makeable two putt for a bogie on a par four without the stress of hunting for your ball in the trees or fishing it out of the water hazard and having to write up a 7 or 8x.
A conservative game strategy whereby you think to leave yourself a distance that you like to approach the green from and a chance at a one putt par or a two putt bogie will allow you to play to a far better standard. You will feel mentally more satisfied and your handicap will reflect your confidence. Golf is a mental game, whether you play it for pure fun or in a more serious manner.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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