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GOLF DR.

Your negative behavior can be a real downer to others

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While playing a casual round of golf recently, I noticed a couple of other players becoming surly and extremely upset, throwing what amounted to temper tantrums (and clubs) when the slightest thing went wrong.

“Golfers just out having fun,” I joked to one of the calmer members of the group. But sometimes angry tantrums and bad behavior of weekend golfers can be a drag on the enjoyment that others could be getting from their day of golf.

The self-contempt I see with a lot of golfers can be a disappointing distraction, but can bring others down as well. Infantile adult golfers fail to comprehend that their misery does not enjoy company and is not welcomed. Gaining self-awareness is the only way we can actually change to improve our negative behavior and our attitudes. With the idea of raising our personal self-awareness as golfers, I have prepared a number of questions that are intended to be proactive and start you thinking. Be honest with yourself and jot down a few notes as you go along. (This is not a test.)

When things don’t go so well do you typically get down on yourself?

Are you prone to get really upset and lose your temper when you get bad breaks?

When setbacks occur and misfortune strikes does it usually result in failure?

Do you find it extremely difficult to bounce back from adversity?

Do you often mentally replay and dwell on previous misplays and mistakes?

Are you too self-critical and too hard on yourself?

When things turn sour do you sometimes belittle yourself and call yourself names?

Does your inflated ego cause you to resist, or even dismiss, expert advice?

Are you someone who gets stuck in old habits and resists changing?

Do you often feel that you are powerless to influence the outcome of things you attempt?

When you feel the pressure to perform at your best do you tense up and then falter?

Is it especially difficult to have other people watching you as you play golf?

When you feel pressure and nervous tension do you notice that your thinking is clouded?

At times are you unable to stop unwanted thoughts from dominating your consciousness?

Does competition increase your muscle tension, anxiety and up chances you will choke?

Do you think you have to constantly struggle with self-confidence?

Do you believe deep down that you absolutely always must win and look good?

Are you extremely fearful of being embarrassed, being seen as inept or looking bad?

Have you had episodes of uncontrolled outbursts of anger when golfing?

Do you have a great difficulty venturing outside of your comfort zone?

Would you say that you are mostly unaware of your own behavior on the golf course?

Perhaps many of the above self-questions were eye-openers for you. Conventional wisdom in sports performance science dictates that emotional volatility, plus negativity, plus lack of awareness, generally result in performance that is unsatisfactory or inferior (or at least below the players potential). That can’t be satisfying. It can be devastating to let a negative attitude interfere with your expected play on the golf course. I’m not saying you have to be Mr. Congeniality on the golf course, but I will tell you it can be mighty discourteous to let your temper and constant complaining ruin golf for those around you. You can’t easily transform your personality, but you can turn your self-defeating behavior and maladaptive attitude around. Would you like to be seen as a friendlier golfer who is better company on the golf course?

Dr. Charlie Blanchard is a licensed psychologist specializing in sports and leadership. Contact him at docblanchard71@gmail.com.