Tag Archives: mental strength

A Major Disaster

17 Dec

At the end of July, I signed up for my golf club’s Annual Championship tournament which was held for two days over a weekend in August. Looking back, pairing determination with pain was not a good combination to manage. In this context for me, it was dealing with my endometriosis pain with work deadline and playing in a tournament. It proved to be a major disaster resulting in a mental breakdown of sorts. A first for me.

As time drew close to the tournament, I had another painful bout of endometriosis attack. So bad I almost wanted to pull out but I didn’t because I thought I could manage. I thought wrong.

On the first day of the tournament at the Hills course, I was on painkillers to deal with the pain and discomfort to stay focused. I came back with the most varied score ever, being a stroke-play format. It ranged from a two (birdie on a Par 3) all the way through to an 11 on the Index 1, Par 5 (because of two balls in the water). In other words, I had every number (and several repeated) on my scorecard… except an eight though. Strange.

On the second day, the tournament was delayed because of rain and we teed off at the Lakes course after a 45-minute wait. I started off fairly well and held up okay for the first seven holes. But disaster struck by the eight hole, Hole 17 (we started on the back nine).

The humidity in the air suddenly became very thick and I had an unnecessary urge to tee-off harder to pass the pond. Never do that. When you try harder, the harder you fail. I ended up with three balls in the water!

It was a disaster unfolding before me and I was the star of the drama. That morning on that Par 4, I came back with an eye-popping 14! A 14 on a Par 4, worse than the 11 on the Par 5 on the first day. I told myself to calm down and don’t get too emotional by it.

However the next hole, the Par 5 being another fearful hole, my doubts doubled in my ability to overcome the water factor. Remember, this is the feared Pacific Ocean water hole that I crumbled during the 2018 Iron Challenge tournament.

Thankfully, only one ball went into the water. But a silly pull to the left cost me and I ended up with another double digit. Hmm… not good. But I was thinking the worst was over and I can still recover because the front nine is actually more manageable to play. I thought wrong again.

I suspect the four balls into the water rattled me but somehow I didn’t acknowledged this and when I teed off on Hole 1, I put another two balls into the water! By now I was like, WTF?! The legs were jellied and the confidence zilch beyond comprehension and in a blur, another double digit on the Par 4.

When we got to the second hole, a Par 3, I was so sapped of life and when I put yet another ball into the water, I told myself, that’s it. I’m going to withdraw. I’m not a quitter but with disaster after disaster piling up with every hole, the event was becoming a catastrophe of epic proportions and too much for me to shoulder. There’s no point to go on playing. What recovery would there be at that point, mentally especially? I’m just killing myself out there and if I continued, I would end up detesting the game so much and just chuck away all my clubs.

With my mind made up, I took a drop for the third shot for formality but was convinced I couldn’t launch it across the water and indeed proved myself right. A classic case of a negative thought attracting a negative action! The ball dived into the water. Ahhhh…… speechless. The mental state of mind was just oh-so-cruel.

I could not go on, having a major breakdown dealing with playing golf in a championship tournament; I simply couldn’t golf anymore. Immediately after that, I drove the buggy to see the referee who happened to be nearby and I informed him of my intention and decision.

Looking back, I really can’t comprehend what unraveled that morning. The endometriosis pain was suppressed that second morning and wasn’t the reason yet I crumbled so badly. This outing takes the cake over the Iron Challenge experience I must say. I simply don’t have words for it. I sat through the remaining holes with my flight mates and came back with an ‘NR’ for my attempt at this year’s Annual Championship.

Lesson learnt: if and when there’s pain lurking before and during any important golf tournaments, do not try to be a heroine to pair them. It’s a proven recipe for a major disaster because not only the body cannot withstand but the mind simply cannot cope.

So after that last game of the year, I’m glad I am stepping away from golf and will be resting to heal both the physical and the mental to recoup. When the new year comes around, I hope to find love again for this crazy game called golf and be able to enjoy playing it without issues or disasters of epic proportions.

Sooner Than Later

28 Dec

I thought I would go back to playing golf only by the new year but I thought wrong. Two days ago, I played because my golf buddies missed me, I do too them, hence I agreed to the game. Initially I felt trepidation as I wasn’t sure if the Wrist Tendonitis would act up. The feeling was almost bordering on fear and that’s not good, having a negative outlook for something I once enjoyed and love.

So I changed my grip, adjusted things a little bit here and there, and it turned out to be an enjoyable pain-free outing which was nice. Only the rain prevented us from finishing 18-holes when it came down fast and hard with three holes to go.

I must say the adjustments helped tremendously as it quelled the negative feelings and the enjoyment returned. I even managed to score three pars, on a Par 3, Par 4 and amazingly on a Par 5. The company was great as always. And I used hubby’s Never Compromise Stubby Putter (yes, it’s conforming) instead of my usual Scotty Cameron Squareback. I figured if I have to relearn how to play again, I’d better use equipment that is even more forgiving.

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The cute sturdy Stubby is a sure one-putt putter!

I think the mental state of mind over the situation played a role and I am glad I played sooner than later to sign off 2018 with a positive as far as my golf is concerned. And I now look forward to 2019 for my next game with confidence and hopefully, pain-free as well.

A Costly Mistake

17 Sep

The Golf Iron Challenge on Saturday morning was quite a fun outing at the Hills course. To my surprise, another girlfriend signed up at the very last minute to make our sole ladies flight a four-ball.

It was delightful indeed as some of the tee boxes were moved up and thus, psychologically it was friendlier because distances were cut short and certain ponds were taken out of play. Hubby, who played too, laughed at our first tee box at Hole 1 being moved forward akin to the Drop Zone, which we discovered was indeed the case for Hole 6’s Par 3. Aligned at the Drop Zone. Hahaha…

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Tee off at the Red or the Drop Zone? Hehehe…

I held up well on the first nine because I took a painkiller prior to tee off to suppress the nagging pain on the left wrist and it helped..

Then upon the cross-over, drama unfolded. Drama always unfolds when the sun comes up and it becomes too hot.

Unlike last year, where fear got the better of me, this time it was just plain silly mistakes. Silly mistakes that became costly mistakes. The first three holes on the cross over, I three-putted, adding strokes unnecessarily in this stroke play tournament.

However, it didn’t bother me too much as I felt I could still recover. After all, the more difficult holes were completed without any problems.

Then came Hole 14. An unsuspecting hole. I never thought I could be bunkered by a sand bunker this time around as I always thought if I overcame the pond fear, I would be okay. Well, there’s alway a first for everything.

The 60 meters approach third shot shanked to the right and landed in the bunker. And what a horrible bunker it was because the sand was so compacted and hard, the setup wasn’t ideal. But somehow I was unperturbed and was very calm; there was no fear in me as I tried to get my ball out and onto the green. Unsuccessful of course…

And I kept trying and trying and trying.

I took nine strokes to come out from the darn bunker! Nine freaking strokes, another record of sorts for me (remember my six balls in the water last year?). A chip-in and a two-putt, I came back with 15 strokes on that Par 4, Hole 14. 15 strokes. Bunkered to the core, you could say.

Amazingly, I could still be jovial about it. Whatever was gained on the front nine especially was lost on this one hole, just like last year with Hole 18 at the Lakes course. But the difference this time, my mental wasn’t beaten to a pulp.

After the game and to my surprise, I was rewarded ‘1st place’ – an improvement from 2nd place last year, for my front nine’s effort of two-under for the nett score with three tubes of ball! I certainly did not expect this, better than all the men. What a morale booster! Now if only this reward could erase the costly mistake of the sand bunker…

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What a lovely surprise!

There’s a lesson to learn from this year’s Iron Challenge – be wary of bunkers too, not just the water. I take pride that I managed to hold up well and did not have my mental strength beaten to a pulp this time. I also did not lose any balls, in fact I gained three new tubes and it’s just most unfortunate that one mistake became such a costly mistake. It’s one of those days I suppose. Sigh…

I certainly look forward to next year’s Challenge again.

The Day I Feared, Part 3

14 Sep

A few days later after the Iron Challenge tournament last year, I played the Lakes course again and when Hole 18 came around, I crossed on the third stroke (but with my 3-wood of course) and made bogey! Golf is one painful and mentally challenging game.

The day you fear, fear will get the better of you. One should not fear but be fearless then adversity will be overcomed. Having said that, I have been prepping my mind mentally to play the Iron Challenge tournament again this year.

Although the Challenge will be held at the Hills course which has less treacherous water to cross compared to the Lakes course, I must remember that golf is also a game of mental strength regardless of the challenge ahead.

The tournament was initially scheduled for February but was deferred to this coming Saturday and I am certainly looking forward to it without fear. Although my left wrist injury has recurred unfortunately, I am positive and taking extra precautions to deal with it for the tournament.

The Day I Feared, Part 2

11 Sep

When fear gets the better of you, everything goes awry. On the morning of the Iron Challenge, drama unfolded at Hole 18 of my Club; it definitely wasn’t tiredness that I felt. Hole 18 the Pacific Ocean being so vast visually, played my mind and created doubt.

The mental approach weakened and fear got the better of me when the planned third shot to cross the water didn’t make it. But I had to cross because the mode of play was stroke play. So when another ball dived, the mental strength started to collapse. Then another sploosh… and another sploosh…

That morning, I dunked an amazing six balls into the Pacific Ocean of the Par 5 Hole 18. It was quite a record for me I must say. All because of fear.

By the time, I finally crossed and got onto the green to hole out, all the progress that I did for the last 17 holes was wiped out with this one hole’s attempt. I took things in stride and even laughed about it.

In honesty, my mental strength was beaten to a pulp.

But like all good stories, there was light at the end of the tunnel. I was pleasantly surprised after the game, I was rewarded for my 2-under effort for the front nine. I certainly did not expect that! The six balls that dived was replaced with two tubes of brand new balls. A sense of positiveness was regained, recovering from the beaten mental experience.

Looking back, the phrase ‘golf without fear’ is so true here for one must never allow fear to get the better of you. I have to learn to master my thoughts better and hone my mental strength to be strong, not just the physical to play well and enjoy a good round of golf.

The Day I Feared, Part 1

10 Sep

Golf is a painful and mental game I have said before. Days when you think you can play well, you end up with such a horrendous score, you’d want to not just hang up those clubs but throw them away. Then days when you think it’s going to be just a meh game, you play one fantastic game, the results make you want to play another 18. Immediately.

More than anything else, golf is not just a strategy game but also a mental one. And a Science challenge because there’s club loft, course elevation, ball trajectory plus wind and swing speed to consider. Seriously, one has to be sensible, calm and mentally strong to pick up and recover when things don’t always go as planned.

Last year around early February, I participated in an Iron Challenge tournament at my Club. The challenge called for players to play 18 holes using just irons; no driver off the tee and no woods or hybrids on the fairways. Just irons and of course the putter to hole out.

Mentally I knew I could do it because I had a strategy. Physically I knew I wouldn’t have any issues because I didn’t have any injuries then and I could handle my 4-iron well to get the distance off the tee and on the fairways.

The game went smoothly and as planned. There was no pressure and I had a lot of fun until the last hole. Oh my goodness, the last hole… It didn’t go as planned with the tee off, the lay-up and the third shot to cross the water, followed by probably two more shots and a putt to close with a bogey or double at most on the Par 5, Hole 18. It was treacherous.

I call my Club’s Hole 18 the Pacific Ocean because the water to cross is so vast visually, it always, always plays the mind and creates fear unnecessarily.

So maybe fear got the better of me that morning?

Or maybe the thought of crossing an ocean without any woods in hand suddenly felt too enormous a task to execute because visually, the water being so vast played the mind. I should have had more faith in my long irons but I had a major collapse at that moment because I feared.