How to Have More Patience In Golf…Part 1
Dr. Tom Kubistant, CSP Golf Psychologist
Patience is power — Chinese Proverb
One of the few things I can still clearly remember from the turbulent 1960’s was a popular poster depicting two vultures sitting in a tree.
As you know, vultures wait to feed on already dead carrion. In that poster, one vulture said to the other, “Patience, hell, I want to kill something!”
Most of us want to “kill” something during a round of golf. We become tired of waiting. We feel we don’t have any other options but to kill it.
And besides, it seems like more fun just to mindlessly bust a shot. So we force things…usually with disappointing and disastrous results.
Both high level and consistent golf are grounded in patience. Those who play “all-or-nothing” golf usually end up with nothing. Beyond that, impatient people rarely improve–certainly not at the rate they expect. Patience is not only a critical key for maximizing your rounds, but also in guiding your long term progress.
Most of us sabotage our rounds by impatience. To fully understand this, please answer these questions: how many shots per round do you fritter away by impatience? How many shots are you not clear and committed in its decision making?
How often do you not include in your planning where to miss the shot? Do you rush your preshot routine when discouraged? How often do you try to force a shot into a target?
How often do you become mentally dulled during the last six holes? How often do you let your emotions (both greed and frustration) control you? How many shots, holes, and even rounds do you give up on? All of your answers to these questions can be summarized by a lack of patience.
In competitive golf, most tournaments at all levels–even the pros at majors–are lost, not outright won. The player who endures makes the least number of mistakes at the critical times. Said more positively, the winners tend to be the most patient.
Most players do not have the courage, self-discipline, and belief to be patient. In evaluating Jack Nicklaus’ game, Tom Weiskoph said, “To play the way Jack did required and enormous amount of patience.
Most players just couldn’t do it–they’d get too antsy and feel as if they must force the issue. Nicklaus had more patience than anyone I ever saw. Sure, it is much easier to be impatient under the guises of being natural or fluid.
However, one of the great challenges of golf–both recreational and competitive–is that it challenges golfers to be patient.
The Game rewards patience. As the great Byron Nelson advised, “If you don’t have patience playing golf, the game will teach it to you.”
Here is the encouraging thing: patience can be improved. Sure, patience is expanded with overall maturity as well as experience from various playing situations.
However, it can also be improved upon by consciously working on it. Patience is an ability and, as such, it can be refined and deepened. Here is how….continued
Dr. Tom Kubistant, Master of the Intrinsic, is one of the leading speakers, researches, and coaches of the mental and scoring games. He is one of the pioneers in sports psychology working with Olympic, Professional and Amateur athletes since 1973. Since 1984, he has worked exclusively with golfers ranging from tour pros to average weekend golfers. Over the last fifteen years, Tom has been THE most prolific writer on the psychology of golf with three books and over 275 articles and he maintains (and has read) the entire “Bibliography On The Psychology Of Golf;” everything ever written and recorded on the mental game. He trains other sports psychologists and mental coaches and is widely known as the leading authority on all forms of THE YIPS.
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