What kind of golfer do you want to be in 2019?

Why not commit to being a super person to play golf with this year? (That would include never giving a tip to anyone, especially not to Wonder Woman.)

With apologies to Dale Carnegie, do you want to win friends and influence people on the golf course this year?

Of course, you do.

No one wants to be a jerk—self-absorbed, petulant and pouting (‘Oops, did you say something?’), dis-interested and disconnected (‘I didn’t see it’), fulminating at the golf gods (‘Wow! Another three-putt!’), or a blamer (‘I can’t putt on greens this slow!’).

No. You want people to want to play golf with you.

A friend’s email signature reads: Play great or be great to play with!

I believe it’s far more important to be someone great to play with, but I am convinced you can do both. In fact, I believe that you play better when you are a good pard. More on that in a moment.

In my last ezine, I asked you to consider your golf mission for 2019. To that end, I invited you to answer two questions: ‘Why do I play golf?’ And ‘What do I want from my golf in 2019?’

I think it’s also valuable to ask this important question: ‘What kind of golfer do you want to be in 2019?

Answers to that question could include, ‘I want to be someone who plays well in tournaments,’ or sports a certain handicap, or is confident on the first tee, and so on.

But that question also includes how other golfers experience you, the influence you have, and what you contribute. It also provides an opportunity to find something greater within yourself, and play golf at a higher level.

To help you get an idea of what I’m asking you to explore in this question, here are my answers to, ‘What kind of golfer do I want to be in 2019?

I will listen well to my partners. I will stay interested in them. I will take everything in, pay attention to what other people are doing/saying/feeling/ and respond with empathy and humour.

I will ask questions to draw them out. I won’t judge them, and when I catch myself doing it, I’ll stop. I won’t gossip, evaluate or compare anyone. I will take my sunglasses off when I talk with my partners, and always look them in the eye.

I won’t offer advice or instruction unless I’m asked. I won’t complain about my score, the course or the weather.

I will watch my partners’ shots as closely as my own so that I can help them find their balls. I know that sometimes the best thing is to say is nothing at all.

And, I will know that most of the time, I will not live up to this standard. I am human and I screw up.

Yet, it is the kind of golfer that I aspire to be in 2019.

To me, this is more important than my scores.

From experience, however, when I focus on being this kind of golfer, I usually play my best. When I’m connected to the larger world, I’m expansive—outside of myself. In contrast, when I’m self absorbed , I’m constricted—narrowly focused on my performance, prone to constant self-evaluation, judgment and thinking, thinking and more thinking.

When I’m expansive, as the psychology folks call it, I tend to have far more fun, experience more freedom and I play my best golf.

What kind of golfer do you want to be in 2019?

About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf and mental performance coach, an award-winning writer, and Head Coach of the University of Guelph golf team. He is the recipient of the 2020 Lorne Rubenstein Media Award, given by Golf Ontario. He is author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story, and co-host of the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman. And he plays bass in CID—a punk band!