One would be hard pressed to find an individual who isn't feeling an increase in stress and anxiety in these troubled world times. Both domestically and abroad, news reports continually speak to societies across the globe exhibiting signs of higher degrees of uncertainty and instability. In large-scale protests and in individual conversations, there are many who would like to "turn back the clock" to the way things were just a few short years ago. Interestingly, it is especially during these times of tension that we in America have historically turned to sport and recreation as a diversion. Whether as a spectator or as a participant, for many there is something therapeutic about the environment that these activities can create to "help us get away from it all". For some, the connection with golf at this time allows for a single-minded, "in the moment" experience that frees up that part of the mind that has been under strain. For others, simply the physical release of pent-up energy can have attendant calming benefits.
Like so many things in life, it regularly takes a significant event or events to shake us out of our comfortable world that we take for granted and help us put things in a more accurate light. Ask a person who can no longer walk how much they appreciated being ambulatory. Ask a person who can no longer see how much they appreciated their sight.
Where I'm going with all of this is to suggest to the Senior golfers to make a point of deeply appreciating the opportunities that you have, and to put into perspective some of those things in golf that you typically allow to upset you. Missing a short putt, hitting a drive OB and hitting an "easy" shot into a hazard are much easier to cope with when put in the context of how fortunate we are to be able to play at all. The level of frustration, anger, and anxiety that I regularly witness in golf stems in part from the person's difficulty with putting his/her experience into context. While acknowledging that many golfers have trained or practiced hard, there is, at times, an "over reaction" relative to life's big picture. I am not suggesting that anger or frustration or worry is an inappropriate emotion in golf, I'm merely proposing that these emotions be managed such that the encounter with the game not be contaminated. How sad to be unfulfilled and/or dissatisfied doing something that ostensibly has the potential to bring such joy. For many of you senior golfers, this is what you've worked hard for your whole life- to finally be able to enjoy this great game.
Next time you find yourself upset when on the golf course, catch yourself and reflect upon how important really in the scheme of life is that with which you are stewing. My suspicion is that you will enjoy yourself more if you incorporate a "big picture" outlook in your reactions.
Jeff Troesch, MA, LMHC is an internationally recognized expert in the mental side of golf. As the former Director of Sport Psychology for the David Leadbetter Golf Academies, Jeff has worked with thousands of golfers nationwide and brings a wealth of experience to seasoned golf professionals as well as the recreational golf lover. You may contact Jeff directly through his website, http://www.fitnessforgolf.com.