Dogs are usually a man's best friend. But DOGS are a golfer's worst nightmare.
Delusions Of Grandeur Syndrome
I could go on forever. It happens to every golfer, so you can feel secure in your embarrassment. Thousands of other people are feeling the same.
Stop comparing yourself to the pros on TV
This is non-negotiable. You are not going to play on the PGA Tour in the next 5 years if you're reading this.
Watching golf on television is to be enjoyed for the total debauchery that it is. What happens to guys who watch Lewis Hamilton racing Formula 1, then try to drive like him in their Honda?
The professional game you see on the PGA Tour is the source of the DOGS virus. It’s the Wuhan of golf problems. Contagiousness accelerates from Thursday to the peak on Sunday and Monday every single week.
On Sunday, the coverage shows you the leaders, who are playing the best golf of anyone else ON THE PLANET at that very moment in time.
The only time they cut away is when someone else does something REALLY exciting or REALLY stupid. More dopamine for you! Higher expectations for you! Bigger crash when you don't do it for you!
On Monday, the real poison hits us. The highlights reel is 2-5 minutes packed with every single long putt, close approach, long drive, crazy hole-out-eagle, and whatever else you can imagine. It’s rammed and jammed with this stuff to generate clicks and views.
What you don’t see is the dude struggling on Thursday and Friday who missed the cut. He shot 10 over par. He was once ranked in the top 10 in the world.
The Reality - the only known cure for DOGS
Here’s the reality of the pro game. This is not intended for you to compare your game to but you may, if you so choose.
I will take the 100th ranked player on the PGA Tour for each of the below statistics. That means the player is in the top 0.000001% of golfers on the planet. Middle of the pack on the US PGA Tour.
What I want you to do is look at the text in bold, and cover the text in blue with your hand or a piece of paper. Guess the value before looking at the blue to understand how far apart our FEEL vs REAL is when it comes to the pros.
Proximity to the Hole statisticThis is the distance the ball finishes after an approach shot from each distance:
Putts made by distance
This is the percentage of putts made on the green from each distance from the hole
Scrambling by distance
This is the proximity to the hole after chipping from each distance. It’s also the percentage of times they get into the hole in 2 shots from that distance.
They’ll never show you the guy in the middle of the field earning a cheque who is just scrambling his ass off by chopping the ball around into chip and putt range. They’ll never show you the guy teeing off in the 5th group on Sunday who shoots a 73, hitting 6 greens, 4 fairways and chipping for his life.
They show you the leaders, the big movers, the extreme shots...everything that will increase viewership to show you more ads to sell you more shit.
If that doesn’t make you suddenly realize how silly you look complaining and moaning about shots that end in the good enough positions...nothing will!
How do we recover from DOGS?
Step 1: Accept that this is your hobby and you are an amateur.
When you understand how much “less good” the pros are compared to your expectations of them, you should be able to understand that you’re much better than you think you are now. You’re an amateur. This is a hobby. Why treat it like a Monday qualifier for the Masters?
But Monday qualifiers for the Masters don’t exist!
Now you’re getting it!
Step 2: Ask yourself “how much work have I done on my golf game to deserve to feel so frustrated?”
If you have not practiced or learned to improve aspects of your game, do you deserve to behave like a frustrated Tour pro?
Step 3: Lower your expectations and enjoy the journey - there is no destination.
If you go to the course expecting to shoot a 72 and you’re a 14 handicapper who plays once per week, there’s a disconnect. You need to check yourself. Understanding the handicap system will help.
Golf is a never ending journey. There is no destination. Whatever outcome based goal you have, will not be the end. You will experience a momentary glimpse of joy. Then it will disappear until you create a new one.
See it as a process. Enjoy the struggle because when you achieve whatever you want to achieve (and you will), then you will look back and reflect on the hard times, the times you felt like giving up. And that is where the sweetest nectar is.
Step 4: Stay away from people with DOGS
You must stay away from people who talk about the game as if they’re Golf Channel commentators/broadcasters. The 23 handicap Nick Faldo and the 17 handicap Brandel Chamblee will completely wreck your game.
Here are a few favorites I have picked up in 25 years.
- ‘Your swing will never hold up under pressure’ - WHAT PRESSURE? The most pressure we will ever face as amateur golfers may be a regional amateur competition. And for most, it will be the medal competition for Club Champs. This is the kind of nonsense you don’t need to hear. Stop playing with this type of person.
- ‘Strokes Gained has proven/debunked…’ - Strokes Gained hasn’t done anything for the amateur game except confuse people. The headline society means everyone thinks they know what Strokes Gained is, but no one has read the entire book. 95% of anyone talking about Strokes Gained knows nothing about Strokes Gained. Best to avoid this topic.
- ‘If he really wants to get to scratch, he will have to (insert wrong assertion)’ - The goal of the vast majority of golfers is to just not embarrass themselves so they can make new friends. The next priority for the majority of people is to merely break 100 or break 90. This nonsense of comparing everything to scratch is cloud cuckooland. The number of people who actively WANT to be a scratch golfer is very low. We must take everything in context.
- ‘I’d like to see you score that on a real course, 7,000+ yards’ - Avoid these people like you’d avoid a mother in law. They are the epitome of DOGS sufferers. They legit think that a course needs to be over 7,000 yards to be seen as a real course. 90% of amateurs should be playing at 6,400 yards or less. Anyone who belittles your scores or achievements - ditch ‘em. Yesterday.
- ANYONE who criticises a Tour pro for ANY aspect of their golf game/mental game/exercise game. ANYONE who criticizes your golf game/mental game/exercise game and improvements you make. The victim mentality of people who do not want others to do well drives their terrible attitudes. See through this sort of behavior, and when you hear anyone talking BS about things they do not know, especially when they spout nonsense with authority...it’s time to ditch them.
There are plenty more but please stand guard at the entrance of your mind. Do not allow this nonsense into your thinking because it will screw you up beyond repair. Listening to dunderheads is the surest way to create crazy swing thoughts, doubts in your strategy and removal of fun.
Step 5: Audit yourself. Accept yourself. Play to your strengths. Avoid your weaknesses. Practice your weaknesses.
Have an honest conversation with yourself.
Look at your golf game and decide:
Why do I play this game?
What is the purpose of playing golf?
What am I good at on the golf course?
Do I focus enough on what I can do and what I do well?
Do I get overcome with DOGS and try to ‘prove myself wrong’ by doing things I can’t?
What are the things I can practice away from the course so I can introduce them later on the course?
Once you know your purpose, you can align your train of thought.
If you say you like to have a chit chat on the golf course with your buddies, then you can take that with you onto the course. You can consciously remember that every round to keep you in that jovial mood. You probably don’t need to practice much and enjoy your once a week round.
If you say you play golf for competition, and you want to get as good as you can, then you need to accept that and take steps toward your end goal. You cannot do nothing for your game while claiming to want to be the best you can be.
The major disconnect comes when you claim one thing, but your actions and thoughts are diametrically opposed to what you claim with words.
This is the surefire one-way ticket to mental instability and craziness. This is not the Way of the Playa.
The Way of the Playa dictates that your words, thoughts and actions align. If they do not, you must audit and re-audit your game and thinking until they do.
Golf is Like Doodling - Why are you getting so angry at a doodle?
You selected golf as your hobby. There are millions of hobbies out there but you chose golf. Yes golf is difficult but that’s part of the implicit contract you sign with the God of Golf. You accept that.
Imagine golf is like doodling, which is another hobby. Then imagine that you draw a skew line or your pen slips. You then proceed to throw your pens around, swearing, shouting and making everyone around you crazy.
Woah podner! Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?
Golf is exactly the same. It’s supposed to be a relaxing adventure and time to enjoy yourself away from the everyday stress of life. If you simply cannot see that, there’s always cycling.
All cyclists are angry. You’d fit in well. It’s basically a prerequisite.
By now you should realize how RIDICULOUS it is to
- expect to play like a pro
- lose your temper over a hobby
- comment on others golf games comparing them to pros
- think the pros only hit extreme shots