I’m always surprised by how much my mood affects my golf game. I’ve been in one of my extended funks for the last few months as I dealt with a flurry of life’s normal irritations, and I’ve been playing mediocre (or worse) golf. Last Friday I shot 90 or 91 in our weekly skins game. I’m not sure which score it was because I quit paying attention.
Yesterday I gave myself one of those “Come on, Charlie, it’s not that bad,” talks as I drove to the course. When I got there I found the Cotton Baron in the parking lot, back from a trip to Vegas that lasted a lot longer than planned and involved a marriage. He entertained me with his tale of woe, so I was distracted from my own irrational thoughts. The Baron, The Cowboys, and Ronfucius and I arranged our usual wolf game, and we were off. I birdied the first hole, got through the front nine in a one-under 35, and ended up with a 76, my best round in quite a while.
It could have been better if not for two missed short putts and a bladed sand shot on 18 that nearly took the Baron’s head off as it flew over the back of the green, hit the edge of the cart path, and then rocketed back across and off the front of the green, but I’ll take a 76 any day.
I often wonder how one person can have a 15 stroke difference from day to day, but I guess I shouldn’t be. The pros can play like crap one week and run away from the field the next. Tiger can miss the cut one week and then win. Phil can limp around Torrey Pines and then lip out a putt for 59 in Phoenix. It’s the nature of the game.
I’m just glad how I react to life’s minor irritations only affects a meaningless skins or wolf game, and not my livelihood and reputation. If my life depended on my game, I bet my score might affect my mood at least as much as my mood affects my score. That could make for volatile life on and off the course.