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Minding Your Game: Realistic Expectations and Gratitude

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

It’s very common this time of year to start evaluating all that has happened in our lives over the previous 12 months. How we performed at work, how we managed the relationships we keep, and for those of us that love golf: what the current state of our game is.
Assessing and evaluating our progress at any point in time is a very natural thing to do and if done correctly is a very useful and healthy exercise.
With this in mind, and as it relates to the idea of evaluating your golf game, I would say that you, being your own worst critic, agree to take it a little easy on yourself as you dole out your final report card on your 2021 season.
Many, many golfers that I have met and definitely those that I coach, have very high expectations of themselves. That is not at all a bad thing. However, it's critical to learn how to manage the expectations you keep for yourself as it relates to your golf game.
The ability to manage personal expectations might be the most critical factor to your future success as a golfer or your future success with anything you do in life.
It is important for golfers to ask themselves some of the following questions before taking stock of their successes and failures from over the past year or for whatever time frame is being evaluated.
  • How much time do I realistically spend practicing?
  • Do I have a practice plan in place and if so, do I stick to it?
  • Do I get help with my game, or do I try to figure it out myself?
  • How often do I play, and is it enough to be as critical as I am of myself?
Here are some other things to keep in mind as you evaluate...
Learning from the Bad
It is important to learn all you can from your lowest points. Those bad rounds can often be springboards into a next stage of development. We sometimes hear different, conflicting messaging about how we should handle defeat or bad days on the course.
Some subscribe to just forgetting about it and moving on, while others say use it as a learning experience. Some even suggest using that awful feeling after a bad round as fuel to motivate yourself to be better. Well, I believe there is a little bit of truth in all those thoughts.
Forgetting about it and moving on in the sense of, what's done is done, and there is no need to dwell on it too much in the negative. Using it as a learning experience from the standpoint of picking out the situations where you lost shots and learn how to make those shots up the next time you experience them on the course. These situations are usually bad decisions that were made from trouble, or poorly executed short game shots.
Using that awful feeling after a bad round as fuel is without question one of the best ways
to deal with defeat or bad play.
Always be Grateful for the Opportunity to Play
Earlier this year I wrote about a former colleague of mine that used to say… “Today I don’t have to play golf, I get to play golf.”
This thought may be the biggest secret in golf. BE GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE ABLE TO PLAY!
Far too many golfers put unnecessary pressure on themselves to perform at certain levels. Remember… golf is a game, and it’s meant to be enjoyed no matter if you are a plus 2 handicap or a 32 handicap. Learning to always enjoy the experience that golf offers, on both good days and bad alike, will definitely help shave a stroke or two off your score!