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Senior Golfer - On The Green

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.


There's magic in thinking positively

The Putting Green

I love the advice sales consultants offer because they are so confident and precise in advocating a clear path to success. One sales consultant, author and speaker who sends me his thoughts on a regular basis is John Boe. His most recent column, "The Magic of Positive Thinking," caught my attention.

In his e-mail column, Boe compared a person who does not take charge of his or her beliefs and attitudes to an airplane pilot who does not take responsibility for the altitude of his aircraft. They are both in serious trouble!

For Boe, the key to cultivating and maintaining a positive mental attitude is "to take control of your thinking and avoid negative-minded people." He added that while this is a challenging task, it is well worth the effort.

Like all sales consultants, Boe believes that when "one door closes, a window of possibility opens. The key is not to dwell on your failures, but rather to find that window of opportunity." He added that one's attitude is determined not by circumstances, but rather how one responds to those circumstances. "You determine your attitude; you always have the choice to respond either positively or negatively."

I highlight Boe's comments because I believe the same things happen in golf. We are the ones who determine how we will react to a golf shot, but most of the time we don't take responsibility. Let's say we have just hit a 230-yard drive on a 400-yard par four. We have 170 yards to hit the green, which is guarded by water on the right side and a bunker to the left.

We hit our next shot with a five iron and see that it is right on line with the green until a gust of wind suddenly hits it and the ball lands in the water. We can't believe what just happened, so we trudge up to the water, measure two club lengths from where the ball entered the hazard, drop a ball, hit our next shot onto the green, and two-putt for a double bogey six.

Instead of berating yourself for hitting that second shot into the water, the more positive attitude would have been to determine what the best place would be for you to drop the ball and which club should be used to get the next shot within three feet of the hole so that you could make a bogey five, minimizing the damage to your score. You should then look at the next hole as a birdie opportunity to make up for the bogey.

The difficulty in maintaining a positive attitude in golf is that nearly every golfer I know is upset when they hit a bad shot, no matter if it is a drive, shot to the green, chip, putt, or whatever. This frustration comes about because golfers know they can hit good shots, they just didn't execute them at this time and they don't know why. This frustration boils over and leads to a negative attitude.

The problem with golf, as with life, is that if you keep thinking negative thoughts, you will start believing that only negative results will occur. For example, if a person hits a putt and it stops inches short of the hole or chips a shot and it hits the stick, but doesn't go into the hole, or hits a drive that lands in the fairway in the middle of a divot, this person will start second-guessing that positive attitude. Why? Because the positive results are not following.

We are all human, and one key to a good golf game is a positive mental attitude. We should not deny our mistakes, but we should learn from them. It takes an extraordinary person not to get upset with a putt that does a 360 around the hole and doesn't go in, but keeping an even keel with good and bad shots should be the golfer's mantra. A positive attitude will produce positive results.

ON THE GREEN is courtesy of the Senior Connection Newspaper, visit their web site. The author is Jerry Koncel, a free-lance writer who lives in Schaumburg, IL.


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