Angry Golf

I’ve never really been a club throwing tantrum having child when I play golf. For one, golf clubs ain’t cheap. Secondly, I have a slightly unnatural affection for the set I currently game. Lastly, I would imagine I would look pretty funny, a grown man having a fit playing a game. If hidden cameras were rolling, it’s possible you might hear a descriptively colorful soliloquy surmising my distaste for a particular effort, though I will stress the brevity of any such outburst. Yes, I must admit, I have an additional talent. One passed down to me by my grandfathers. Proper swearing when a good cuss is needed to express oneself. I am especially adept at stringing together 4 letter words into meaningful sentences, often at that expense of my own psyche. It usually takes a succession of bad shots to stir that anger, that magic if you will. Guaranteed, a 3 hole bogey run will devolve into a profane assault levied on the back of the English language. Generally, the blowup is really a last ditch effort in the hopes of igniting inspired play going forward. Sometimes it works, the bleeding stops and we move on salvaging a decent score. Other times….not so much, and I “almost” rather be at work.

Playing with guys that have golf anger issues can be entertaining, often worth the price of the greens fee in some cases. I would never revel in another player’s misery, but man….it can be so damn funny when a grown man yells f%*! at the top of his lungs as another ball belly flops into the lake. I only wince when there are young ears within range or it happens to be a Sunday morning and I am skipping church to be out there. Never antagonize an angry bear when he erupts, just meander over to your ball and try to strike that swing image from your mind. You can chuckle, just make sure you aren’t facing the “angry”. Afterwards, you can poke fun at their expense and typically it will be received in the manner in which it is offered. But what happens when you play with someone new and they lose their minds? Awkward? About as comfortable as a knuckle check during your annual physical? It’s one thing when you know your playing partner well…he lost his head, but you have frame of reference, so it’s okay, it’s cool. Making matters worse, this unknown new guy is different. His anger it isn’t a pressure cooker effect…it’s habitual, like almost every hole. How do you handle it?

Context is helpful whenever consumed with solving the world’s problems. So here you go, say you are a guy who plays 1-2 times a month, often breaking 90. It’s a hobby for you, not a serious passion, but you relish the opportunities you have to play. To get out with your regular group, mixing it up for a couple of bucks and the ice cold nirvana of the 19th hole. You may sneak in a range session once or twice a month for good measure…the definition of a casual player. Your expectations are pretty much in check. You are going to hit some bad shots, but you will also hit several good ones, the kind you can brag about in the clubhouse over an ice cold barley pop. The what ifs…if only you had the time to work a bit on your short came, low 80’s isn’t beyond your talent level. If you pop off after dumping two in the lake, I wouldn’t fault you too much, you are a decent player. You are a consistent hobbyist and probably a great invitee to round out a foursome. Uber players who are beyond passionate about playing golf, I get you getting twisted about a particular wayward shot. Golf is religion to you. Your level of devotion can only be described as zealot. You have made significant investments into play and practice, I get it, you don’t deserve what’s happening to you, the “off” day. Though, I would be a little off put if your blow up including throwing clubs or other behavior inconsistent with the tenets of the gentlemen’s game. The one player who loses it that I can’t understand is the guy that plays 6 times a year, NEVER practices, comes out and expects to hit every shot to perfection like a tour player. The guy who drops language after every duff or skull job as he takes 7 to get up the fairway on a short par 4. Slamming of clubs, berating all that is golf. I’ve seen one guy almost attack a golf cart he was so angry after his 80 yard approach shot went about 10 feet in front of him. Why are you out there? Why in the world would you think golf is so easy that you would have any right to be upset about outcomes you justly deserve? Get’s really uncomfortable when you hit a good shot and he starts swearing about “how the hell”, making you feel a little guilty…a little.

Golf is not easy, it’s difficult! If it was easy, it wouldn’t be the greatest game ever invented (in my humble opinion). The challenge is forever evolving spurring a greater introspective relationship that can blossom given proper fuel. No one masters this game. You can’t, it’s an impossibility, absolute. I’ve played with guys who will shoot a 69 one day, and an 82 the next on the same course. How can that be? Golf is for the damned. We shuffle up week in and week out in the pursuit of the impossible….well at least we don’t honestly believe we will obtain the impossible…golf perfection. Our eternal hope centers on the possibility of our own potential obtained if only for 18 holes in a given round. The magical 89 a personal best or the disappointment of shooting 70 just missing life in the 60’s with a lip out on the 18th. That’s the fuel that drives the golf engine igniting a tireless passion to always get better. Ah, that soapbox can get awful lofty sometimes. My head is spinning a bit with all the platitudes. I hope you get my drift though. The marvel of the game consistently astonishes me. At times I rehash a round, scratching my head how I shot such a great score with what felt like an awful golf swing…often only having an inkling of how some of my tee shots would end up. Or the times you hit every fairway and every green in regulation, but you putter feels like a sledgehammer on the greens. Never take this game for granted, you are never as good as your last round. You could be better or worse in reality. Pure insanity.

Anger on the golf course has it’s place. A display of anger is sometimes healthy. If you are a player, you will invest a lot of time and effort to become skilled enough to shoot decent scores. On occasion, it seems the golf gods send demons in an effort to cripple any attempt at playing well. Aimed at scuttling that positive attitude that you need in order to get it around the yard. Controlled anger, channeled appropriately can pay some dividends in righting a wayward round. Just make sure you are respectful to those that are around you, the people who have chosen to share the walk with you. It’s important for you and it’s important for the game.

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