ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Nancy Lopez's Two Tricks for Forgetting Bad Breaks

Nancy LopezI found this bit of "mental trickery" in Nancy's book The Education of a Woman Golfer. (It's an older book, from 1979.) Perhaps it will help some of you put those bad breaks out of your mind quicker!
I try to put bad things that have happened to me out of my mind right away. I've two pieces of knowledge that let me do just that, hard as it was at the beginning before my philosophical education took hold [that is, before she purposely developed a mental game]. The first is that over so long a stretch as fifty-four or seventy-two holes of golf, similar misfortunes are sure to overtake virtually everyone else. The second is that in so lengthy a competitive stretch, there's plenty of time and opportunity for your skill -- or luck for that matter -- to have a good chance to take effect and even things out. If you're the best or one of the best, time is on your side, so don't panic. In any case, you can't do anything about spilled milk. All the gnashing of teeth in the world isn't going to change that double-bogey-6 back into the par-4 you should have made, but a couple of birdies will make up for it. About all I do after a bad hole is draw a little fence around the figure on my scorecard, so it won't spill over onto the next hole! When I make a birdie I draw a star. Does that mean I'm superstitious? Sure. Who isn't one way or the other? [p127-8]
Now I know that you're going to fixate on the "pro" parts of her advice and say that it won't apply to you. But it does.

After all, everything is a matter of perspective -- or, as Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke, "What I told you is true... from a certain point of view."

First piece of knowledge you should learn: One day of golf isn't how your whole game will go from now on, just as one day of your life isn't the way your whole life will go from now on. You have good days and bad days, and so does everybody else. So don't develop tunnel vision and think your golf world is in shambles just because today was a bad day.

Second piece of knowledge you should learn: One day of golf isn't all you'll have in your life. (Well, probably not. I suppose you could just give up after one day...) Over time, you're going to get better -- and worse -- over and over, and you're going to get some lucky breaks and some unlucky breaks. As Nancy says, "time is on your side." Things will even out over time.

Maybe you won't make a couple of birdies to make up for that double- or triple-bogey you made, but you might make some bogeys and pars if you don't beat yourself up over the bad holes.

And I have to admit that I like the idea of drawing fences around bad scores on your card. And you can draw stars for pars or even bogeys if those are good scores for you. BTW, there's nothing wrong with 90 or 100 being a good score for you. If you aren't a pro golfer and your life isn't built around playing golf, you shouldn't judge your game by a pro's standards. Presumably you play golf because you enjoy the game, not for your ego. Enjoy yourself and ignore other people's opinions!

Nancy's point is that you can't get your self-worth from a stupid game, so don't even try. Golf should help you handle life better, not make your life more stressful. If it's not relieving stress for you, then you need to work on your mental game... or take up a new hobby.

No comments:

Post a Comment