7 Steps to Melting Away the Meltdown

Billy Bondaruk, PGA


Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | 2:19 p.m.

Anger is a lethal force that undermines our lives in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it erupts openly and other times anger camouflages it and covertly undermines your life. Some experience anger as strength and power. They feel it is necessary in order to maintain control. Others assume they have the right to express anger towards those bad shots that they hit. These are some of the lies anger tells us. In fact, when we are angry we are out of control and our ability to make decisions wisely is diminished.

Here are 7 steps for handling anger on the spot.

Step 1: Realize that anger is a choice you make

Anger is not a form of power, strength, or control. It is a toxin. Sometimes it provides a temporary high. After this high subsides, we are left weaker and more uncertain than before. Not only that, there are often negative consequences that have to be handled.

Basically anger narrows your focus, creates confusion and limits your ability to find constructive solutions. When anger arises, stop, breathe deeply, and immediately look at the larger perspective. Put the incident in context. For a moment, allow the bad shot to be all right. Tell yourself right after this bad shot it is possible that I will hit some good ones. Your main goal is to have the anger subside so you can see the whole picture clearly.

Step 2: Become aware of the forms of anger

Anger camouflages itself and finds many covert ways of manifesting. Unrecognized anger turns into all kinds of unwanted behavior. When these behaviors are not understood it is very difficult to correct them. Awareness is important in making necessary changes.

Some of the forms of anger are: depression, passive aggressive behavior, compulsions, perfectionism, gossiping and certain kinds of competition at the workplace. When you realize that these are being fuelled by anger, you can take appropriate steps to handle them.

Step 3: Start Balancing

Balancing is the natural flow of energy, support and inspiration inside of us. When this flow is balanced we operate at our maximum level. When the flow is blocked or out of balance, we will become depressed, apathetic, sick and resentful. When one feels accepted and acknowledged for the way they play, there is no end to their ability to tap their full potential. Write down what this means to you and notice how it compares to the reality of your particular golf game as it exists today. This initial step provides a map and new focus. It provides a direction to move in.

Step 4: Discover Your Balancing Quotient

List each shot that you hit during one round of golf. Score each shot on the following questions from 1-10. See for yourself what is going on.

a) I feel at ease with this shot.

b) I trust in my swing with this shot.

c) I swing naturally when I am faced with this shot.

d) I understand what this shot means to me.

e) I am able to except the out come of this shot.

f) I am able to give my full commitment to hitting this shot.

Assess exactly what is going on in your mind and body during the round. Take a look at what you want from a round of golf. Separate your self from the out come and what you need and want. Start communicating your feelings in a responsible manner and ask yourself what you really need and want. Start truly listening to the voices inside your head and change the self talk to quiet. You will start to see who you really are on the course and not your images that you make up.

We can often be playing a round and not even begin to know who we truly are as a golfer and a person. As you begin taking the steps above, you will make natural adjustments in getting yourself and your golf game back on track.

Step 5: Stop Casting Blame

Blaming the golf course for a bad bounce or someone else for talking too much is one of the largest factors in causing imbalance in your game and keeping the anger going. Stop casting blame. By blaming, you are disempowering yourself. By taking responsibility you are taking back control. Stop a moment and see the situation through your playing partners eyes. When you do this blame dissolves on the spot. Also, remember, the best defense is to feel good about yourself.

As you stop casting blame you will be letting go of all kinds of resentments. Resentment inevitably affects our well-being and always bounces back on us. Look for and find what is positive in each hole that you play, find the good in the people that you play with. Golf is a social game. Tap into it and you will start to have more fun. Focus on that.

Step 6 - Create Realistic Expectations

There is nothing that makes us more angry and hurt than expectations we've been holding onto that have not been met. It is important that you become aware of what your expectations are for your round of golf before you start. Are they realistic? Let go of unrealistic fantasies. Once this is done, anger will start to diminishes on the spot when it shows up.

Step 7 - Develop a Grateful Mind

See what this round of golf truly is giving to you. We often take many things for granted and are even unaware of all that we are receiving day by day. Take time to write down each day what you are receiving. Be grateful for that. Make a point of giving thanks. Thanks to the new friends that you had the opportunity to make on the course and thank the course. Thank it like you just got to play in the Garden of Eden. The more we thank others, the happier we become. Also, take time to write down all that you have given that day. It may be a surprise. We often think we are giving so much and receiving so little. This is a great cause of anger, deprivation and emptiness within. However, when we take time daily to write it down and look at it carefully, we are often surprised and how much we have received and how little given in return. As we look at it carefully, and balance these two activities, we learn to take pleasure both in what we have given and what has been received.