Golf, Where You Are Mainly Competing Against Yourself

The great game of golf is definitely a competitive sport. And it is a challenging sport to learn to play and play well. One part of the challenge of the game of golf is the competition against yourself that every golfer fights with.

What is this “competition against yourself” that I am speaking of? Well let me see if I can explain it. Golf is one of those games that you never perfect. Even the professional golfers struggle on any given day. The golf swing is complicated and hitting that little white golf ball and having it end up where you want it to go can be difficult on a good day. But as many golfers know, it usually only takes one really good golf shot during a round to bring you back another day.

So as you play golf, understanding your own golf game and the current level of you game is really important to both enjoying the game and playing your best. Otherwise you try golf shots that you really shouldn’t attempt and you put yourself in situations that are tough to get out of.

So this competition against yourself is really about playing within yourself and approaching the game by playing your game. Not trying to shoot the same score as your playing partner. Not driving to out drive everyone in your foursome. Using your strengths and playing around your weaknesses to score the best that you are capable of.

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Besides the challenges of the game itself, there are several other factors that complicate this competition with yourself to play your game. First are your playing partners. There always seems to be something that causes golf playing partners to challenge each other to reach beyond their abilities.

Maybe it’s going for a par 5 in two shots instead of the standard three. Or it’s trying an almost impossible shot between trees instead of just chipping out into the fairway. But way too often, egged on by our partners, we let ego get in the way of good sense and take a shot that ends up costing us more strokes on the scorecard.

Another thing that creeps in is the golf course itself. Golf course architects typically develop golf holes with risk-reward in mind. So many holes will tempt you to try a more difficult shot with the reward of cutting strokes from your score. But there is also the penalty if you don’t execute the shot. So for example, you have a shorter than normal par 5 with a small swampy area right in front of the green. Reaching the green in two over this swampy area is not impossible, but it takes a really good shot at the outer range of your iron game. So a miss means you are in the swamp and giving up strokes. This type of setup pulls you into trying a shot that you might make three out of ten times. So you know that you can do it, but it’s not an automatic. So the course design complicates the competition against yourself…. Do you take the risk or play it safe?

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Golf is a great game. And golfers typically are totally addicted to the game. Enjoy the game and play within yourself and lower your scores!

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by David Stargel