I think I have lost count of how many times I've heard people saying what a bad day they had on the golf course. Unless you are playing to put food on the table, that should not ever happen. Here are a few suggestions to make the next visit to the links fun.
Tee it forward: Why do so many people insist on playing from the back tees? It is no fun hitting fairway woods and hybrids into the greens on par four holes. It is much easier to hit low irons into the green, so don’t be afraid to go to a front tee and give yourself a shorter approach shot.
Count the pars or bogeys: How many pars and bogeys are you making? Make it a mission to get more the next time. Once you are hitting 6 or 7 on a hole, consider picking up and maybe taking a putt or two on the green. Mark yourself down for an 8 and move on. In the same frame you can play the game of “keep Frosty away” and try to avoid scoring an 8 on any hole. At the end of the round don’t add up the scorecard, check how many pars or bogeys you made or how many "Frostys” showed up.
Make par 90: If you have an 18 handicap, par for you is bogey golf. Play each hole with a revised par. If you make a par, that is like making a birdie and it will feel better than if you are intent on scoring a par to feel good. As a kid in Scotland I used to keep my score against a running total of fives, e.g. at the turn I may be four under fives for a 41. That sure sounds better than five over par!
Celebrate little victories: I hit 10 drives in the fairway, I made four up and downs from the edge of the green today, and so on. Look for the positives in every round. Then remember the negatives later and focus your practice in these areas.
Last of all, remember to laugh at yourself a few times every round and just be glad you don’t need to play for a living.
Ian Grant is a PGA teaching professional and a member of the teaching faculty of the PGA of America. He can be contacted at Oak Brook Golf Club 630-990-3032 in the summer and White Pines Golf Dome in Bensenville 630-422-1060 in the winter. You can contact Ian directly at 708-917-8951, or at Iansgolf@aol.com.