by: Zachary Frazer - GritClub member
Last week Brian talked about the emotions that drive and motivate us towards our goals as well as the spoils of an anger driven goal. This is especially true in my life and in golf. I have found that in many other sports anger can often be an equalizing if not helpful driving force but in golf it is different. In golf there is no one to take your anger out on except yourself and doing so can prove disastrous to your round and tournament. In life as in golf, a strong mind is the key to success.
As Bobby Jones once said “Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.” In golf as in life you have to roll with the punches and continue to move forward regardless of what emotions you may be feeling. Golf is the most mentally demanding sport because you aren’t playing against other people, you are playing against yourself, you are the only one in control, and ultimately you determine the outcome. We play against ourselves everyday, whether it is staying true to a diet or trying to exercise more, we are all fighting for control over our emotions and actions. Creating a strong mind means being able to control and resist urges and emotions that taunt us everyday.
In order to be my best self on the golf course I have to prepare my mind just as much as I prepare the physical aspects. I prepare myself by meditating, reading, sleeping, and creating a consistent and realistic routine for me to follow. By controlling the tangible things in my life, i.e, sleep schedule, what I eat and drink, and my workouts, it helps me better control my mind whether it is on the golf course or off and puts me in control of my life. I believe that controlling what you eat and drink is the first step in self-discipline. By doing a similar routine everyday you are building a healthy lifestyle that allows you to control your thoughts and emotions. Even though I started to do these things specifically to become a better athlete, they have helped me just as much as a person and in my life.
If there is one thing that I have taken from meditating and cultivating my mental game, it is that having a strong mind does not mean blocking out or ignoring the emotions that you have, it is about realizing those emotions and simply letting them pass. You have to detach your mind from your emotions and allow the emotions to pass without reacting to their contents. For me, controlling what I eat, how much I workout, and how much I read and meditate has not only improved my golf game but it has also improved my life in general, keeping me more calm and composed than I ever used to be.
Extra info on Zachary: He just finished his best round ever in a tournament with -1 after 3 days. He said one thing he did well was, "I might haven gotten a little upset for 10 seconds but then I moved on and forgot about it." That's a huge breakthrough mentally considering in the past when he got upset it could last for a few more shots or even holes. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all treat negative emotions that way and only let them affect us for 10 seconds and then we move on?
Here is a putt Zachary sunk during a putting contest at Wake Forest golf camp last summer where he put his mental toughness to the test: https://youtu.be/iKS2A-AnZHg