While in his prime, the late Seve Ballesteros was asked during an interview how he keeps from getting angry when he misses a putt or shot. He replied, “Instant amnesia.” Instead of getting and remaining angry, Seve merely forgets it and goes right back to the business of playing golf.
Unfortunately, most golfers get upset or angry when things don’t go as they wish while playing a round of golf. To compound matters, golfers tend to carry their anger for several holes or even the entire round after they have made a mistake or missed a putt or shot. Does this happen to you?
It is important to understand that your anger adversely affects your brain’s chemistry and performance. If you allow anger to be a part of your emotional make-up, your stroke mechanics and mental clarity will suffer as a result. Your anger will cost you extra strokes.
Here is a game plan for reducing and hopefully eliminating anger. First, as soon as you become aware that you are angry, stop and acknowledge that you are upset. Do not suppress your anger or rationalize that you have a right to be upset because your anger will build and fester. Your performance will continue to suffer as a result.
After acknowledging you are angry, realize that you are merely reacting to a fact and have a choice how to respond emotionally. You can continue to be upset or you can decide to release your anger. The obvious choice is to release your anger and regain control of your composure so you can play better.
Here is an excellent method for releasing anger. While taking ten deep breaths and exhaling slowly after each breath, talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you refuse to let a fact upset you no matter how unfair or unjust the fact may be. Realize that facts are merely facts!
You may not be able to control the facts, but you can control your emotional response to them. Once you are calm and have a smile on your face, get back into the present and focus on your next shot.
If you train yourself to have instant amnesia, you will become a better golfer and shoot lower scores.