It’s that time of year where the weather is warming up and it’s nearly impossible not to have the golf bug in Florida right now! I recently came across the collection of articles for a golf column I wrote in the summer of 1998 while doing an internship for The Valley Banner, a newspaper in Elkton, Virginia near where I grew up.
On my daily commute to work, I love listening to Jimmy Buffet music so I wanted to share one of my favorites from that column and I hope it makes your next round a little more rhythmical and fun.
Change Your Attitude – Buffett Style
Jimmy Buffett is a successful singer, author and businessman. He is also a golfer, and though I have no clue as to how well he plays, I would be willing to bet he’s pretty good. It’s all in the relaxed and care-free attitude that he has and believes in. It is in his songs. Sing along with me on Buffett’s words of wisdom on life and golf.
“Well it’s only up to you. No one else can teach you to go out and have some fun.” Golf is a game that you need to enjoy and care about, but you cannot let the pressure get to you. Relax and always have fun in both practice and playing. Success isn’t always in the destination but in the adventure of getting there. That is especially true in golf, because it is a sport you must be willing to work at to improve. And practice and hard work should be enjoyed, respected and admired.
Goals are an integral part of successful golf. Having goals to work towards helps give a golfer a sense of a journey. Whether a golfer’s goal is shaving a few strokes off his game, breaking 90 for the first time or playing the championship flight in his club tournament, he needs to have patience and be willing to work for it. Don’t get upset or frustrated if obtaining your goals takes long than you want or expect it to. Cherish the hard work. Strive for the dream and savor the memories. “Take it all in, it’s as big as it seems. Count all your blessings, remember your dreams.”
It is important to remember golf is a game, and while we all want to play well, we can only do the best we can on that given shot, hole or round. “I’ve had good days and bad days and going-half-mad days.” It is important to remain in the present – not the past or the future – and accept the golfing ability you have – or don’t have – on any given day. The slightest thing can alter a golf swing or putting stroke in a round, but the important thing is to allow for it and do not worry about it. Such is golf and bad shots and disappointing rounds do happen and that’s OK, too.
No one is perfect, and even tour pros play bad sometimes. But never give up hope, always believe in yourself and your game. It will get better because: “Better days are in the cards I feel.” It is when a golfer tries to find a magic cure that the game can become difficult, especially if he tries to solve his golfing problems on the course.
“In one ear and out the other, don’t you get crisscrossed. I recommend you try a little mental floss.” Trying to make a swing change in the middle of a round is going to cause frustration, and the resulting swing and the score likely will end up even more off course than it was before attempting the quick fix.
Concentration is the key to successful golf. It is vital to pick a target and firmly believe the ball will fly along the target line. Don’t analyze every move required to make a swing, just swing. Trust your body and the muscle memory you have built to swing the way you already know how. When you get to the next shot, do the same thing, pick a target, believer your ball will find it and then move on again, until the round is complete. This trust and mental exercise may not guarantee that all shots will go where you want them to but it will make it more likely that they will. Have confidence in yourself and your game. Take what the golf course gives you and don’t let your frustrations get the best of you.
“Roll with the punches…making the best of whatever comes your way.” A positive attitude will give you better results than a negative one and help you enjoy the round more whether it be a good or bad one.
In the end, it’s all about the love of the game. Isn’t that why we all play, after all. “With a little love and luck we will get by.”
Love golf for all that it is – the challenge, the competitions, the exercise, the good shots and bad.
“Some people never find it, some only pretend, but me, I just want to live happily ever after, every now and then.”