I’ve put off this post long enough; I’m slightly angry about my performance. I’m angry despite my round ratings(922,925,927) being equal to or better than my current rating of 922. I was obviously consistent – I was consistently passive, constantly afraid of the dangers, and persistently less than confident.
I have several reasons for not playing better. Mostly an injury I got the first night at my campsite. While unrolling my bed roll, I heard a loud pop from my right knee, the knee I had injured in high school and on which I had arthroscopic surgery. I was young, didn’t follow through with the physical therapy very well, and never recovered full flexibility.
There were a lot of other factors contributing to my score outside the knee: it was only my 2nd-4th rounds at the course, I played later in the afternoon than I am accustomed, I didn’t eat enough before my round, I didn’t bring enough food, I suck.
That was all B.S. I shot what I shot because that was how good I was that weekend. Sure, I have been better, but I have certainly been worse. I didn’t focus well enough. I don’t always need a reason why. I could have been better. I will be better again, hopefully, this next weekend at the Auburn AM.
The first round I was soaring at 1 over par after 11 holes having just missed a 50′ birdie on the well named I-5. I was the only one on my card who parred the hole. I’m pretty sure that is when I started thinking about how well I was playing. I started thinking about how I was definitely leading my card. My second tournament at MA1, at DeLaveaga, at the Master’s Cup and I start thinking about how I might be doing against the field.
Then I hit hole 12 where I take an unconventional forehand because I don’t yet trust my backhand for the over-the-trees-power-it-through-the-wind-at-a-marker-tacked-to-a-tree hole. I get too aggressive with an unfamiliar disc; I miss my out. I approach to the basket poorly leaving a 40′ putt with danger behind. I take a double bogey. I throw +12 the last 11 holes.
Day 2 was defined by my trying to finish the round without doing any extra damage to my knee. My first 4 holes I was Par, +2, +2, +2. I finally pulled it together and shot the same 13 over I shot on day one. My knee got worse as the round wore on yet I played far more consistently. It wasn’t the knee or the other B.S. that kept me from shooting my best – it was my mental focus.
Day 3 was more fun. I understood what to expect from my knee. I had prepared; I shot far more consistently. I had far fewer options as I only made shots I was confident in. I ended with my best rated round of the tournament. Our tools and ability levels vary through any given span of time. The only thing we can control in the moment is our own mental attitude. Well, sometimes we can control it.
Many things keep us from our best. We didn’t get enough sleep, we ate poorly, had too much coffee, didn’t have enough coffee, there was a rude guy in my group, that guy took forever to shoot. What I’ve found to be most dangerous to my game is complacency and self-pity. I can explain away my poor performance, justify my failure, talk myself into believing I’m not that good. Then worse, I convince myself that I’m okay with it.
Now, I’m not advocate of yelling and screaming on the course; that would be poor etiquette. Anything that negatively impacts the others on your card – not to mention other players on the course – is inappropriate. I’m also not saying to put yourself down in your mind. There is a big difference between “Man you suck, why do you even play this game?” and “You know how to make that shot, pay attention, take your time, focus.” I think it is better to be a little bit angry at yourself than a little bit sorry for yourself.
My next ball golf book review will be on Gallwey’s “The Inner Game of Golf,” thanks to a suggestion by jhfrost on reddit. Gallwey calls this voice Self 1 and he seems to think Self 1 is the greatest enemy of a good golf game. Self 1 has talked me into believing that I couldn’t play MA1, that I would never develop a backhand, that I couldn’t throw over 300′, that I couldn’t putt over 30′ feet. Self 1 is full of crap.
So, do your best to kick Self 1 out of your mind, look for the book review in about a week, and as my wife tries to tell me – Play Your Game.
Until next time, happy golfing and good scoring.
Categories: Disc Golf Etiquette