Grow My Game

Seven Steps to Melting Away the Meltdown

By Billy Bondaruk
Published on

As we return 'back2golf', we're bound to be a little rusty from the hiatus. Whether you're hitting the links for the first time this season or trying to find your rhythm on the range, it's important to keep a level head to play your best golf.
Anger is a lethal force that undermines our lives in all kinds of ways. Sometimes it erupts openly and other times it is camouflaged and covertly undermines our lives. 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 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 we have to handle. Anger narrows our focus and creates confusion. When anger arises, stop, breathe deeply and look at the larger perspective. 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. We need to be aware of and understand these behaviors in order to change them. Recognize forms of anger, including depression, passive aggressive behavior, compulsiveness, perfectionism, gossiping and unhealthy competitiveness. Once you realize these behaviors are being fueled by anger, you can change 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 become depressed, apathetic, sick and resentful. When we feel accepted and acknowledged for the way we play, there is no end to our ability to tap our full potential. Write down what this means to you and use it as a map and new focus to give you 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 accept the outcome 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. Separate yourself from the outcome and start communicating your feelings in a responsible manner, asking 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 the 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. When you cast blame you disempower yourself. By taking responsibility you take back control. Let go of blame and you let go of resentment. Look for the positive in each hole, look for the good in the people you play with. And remember, the best defense is to feel good about yourself.
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 diminish on the spot.
Step 7: Develop a Grateful Mind
See what this round of golf truly is giving to you. We often take things for granted and are unaware of all that we receive day by day. The more we thank others, the happier we become. Also, take time to write down all that you have been given that day and be grateful for it. We often think we are giving so much and receiving so little, a feeling that causes anger, deprivation and emptiness within. When we write it down, we can become more thankful.