How to get along with your golfing partners
I believe that you can relate to one of the situations mentioned above and that it’s easier to play well when you get along with your fellow players, have fun together, and support each other.
So, how can we influence our own and the group’s well-being and thus performance so that we get along and have a great round together, whether we know each other or not?
So let’s go through how we learn to get along on the golf course. I will rely on research on mental training and what it has found to make us feel and function well. And here it is tailored for golfers.
Determine your desired state for you and your fellow players.
Start by deciding well in advance, before you’re about to play, how you WANT it to be in the group for this round. Is the most important thing that you have fun, support each other, search for balls together, or follow golf rules? Write down 3-5 things that are important to you during your dream round.
Your brain can’t distinguish between what you imagine and what you’ve experienced in reality, which makes this exercise very effective to start with when you want to change a situation.
Ensure your desired states meet the necessary criterias.
Now review the images you have chosen and make sure they meet the following criteria:
- They should be self-impacting – YOU should be the one who can influence what you wrote down. For example, if you wrote down that you should motivate each other in the group, it becomes “I should motivate the others in the group,” etc.
- They should bring you joy and inspiration when you think about them.
- They should arouse curiosity within you.
- They should give you energy when you think about them.
Visualize and use all your senses to achieve what you desire.
Now close your eyes and try to visualize within your inner vision how it feels and looks when you and your fellow players have a dream round. Everyone gets along, and you have a lot of fun and a great time together. Focus on how you behave, how you feel, and how it spreads to the others in the group. Create an inspiring, joyful, and wonderful image within you.
Address any potential obstacles.
Now go through any potential obstacles that could arise during the round. Write them down. It could be that someone starts to become negative or that someone is slow.
Solve all obstacles using the SOAS-A model.
Start addressing your obstacles using the following tools:
- Use your breath to remain calm; for example, inhale for 4 counts, hold for 2, exhale for 6 (promotes calmness).
- Then use the following model to resolve the situation by influencing what you can and letting go of the rest.
Use this model when something happens in the group that triggers you. A fellow player might say something that bothers you, start commenting on your swing, or play unusually slowly. Then use the following model:
S – Stop
O – Observe how you feel and simply take note without wanting to change anything.
A – Accept everything you feel and think. It’s perfectly okay to feel angry, irritated, or similar. Accepting what is happening right now is the key to the next step, letting go.
S – Let go of everything you cannot influence. This is where you practice letting go of what you cannot control. Use your breath for assistance, for example, inhale for 4, hold for 2, exhale for 6, which calms your entire system. If you notice there is something you CAN influence, proceed with the model:
A – Act on what you can influence. For example, if you believe it’s better in the long run to encourage your fellow player to play faster, you can do that, or if there’s something else you can influence. Act on it. Otherwise, you can use this A in the model as:
A – Anchor. Having an anchor to come back to is essential to handle a difficult situation. The present moment is where you always feel and function best. The anchor can be your breathing, your routine before the shot, your goal, or something similar.
You can also redirect your focus to your desired state and the ideal situation you chose in step 1 at any time during the round. Feel how it can give you both energy and joy. The clearer your desired state and focus are, the better you will be at letting go of obstacles when they arise.
Try this, and remember that it becomes as you think, and we also leak what we think. When you start influencing your mindset, emotions, and thus your behavior, it will also affect everyone around you. This is the goal of mental training, and by incorporating mental training into your overall training, you will understand how to improve both your game and well-being over 18 holes.
To help you achieve your goals, you can use the following goal map from my book “Proud, Strong, and Confident – a book on holistic training for golfers.” Fill in your desired states, obstacles, solutions, and then activities to see how you can move from your current state to your desired states. Good luck!
And more articles on mental training for golfers will be coming soon, so I hope to see you again soon!
Good luck, take care of yourself and each other!
/ Jenny Hagman