Change Your Strategy for Having Fun on the Golf Course

During this holiday season, I send my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to all of you for your continued support in my mission to help golfers achieve joy, peace, and awareness in their lives and in their golf games.

December is a month of reflection and preparation. It is the arbitrary end of a cycle we call one year. This natural cycle is one way to measure your movement along your path of life. It is an opportunity to look back upon the experiences you have had: the successes, the missed opportunities, and the memorable moments. It is a good time to ask yourself some questions that will empower you to ensure that next year is even more fun and rewarding than the past year.

Among the pandemic, economic slowdown, and election year, many circumstances, and relationships have been put on hold.  With a few new restrictions, golfers have been fortunate to move out of quarantine and on to the golf course for enjoyment as an outlet for exercise, companionship, and competition during the past nine stressful months.

Are you having fun playing golf?

When you watch golfers on TV, do they look like they are playing a game? …. or closing a business deal?

I remember playing in the Palm Beach County Women’s Championship at Ironhorse Golf Club in Florida. Next to the 17th green, there were several men putting a roof on a new home. They had their boombox playing loudly. They were laughing, obviously enjoying their work as they scampered across the roof. As I looked at my playing partners waiting for their turns on the green, it was quiet, somber and serious. What is wrong with this picture? The roofers were having fun while they worked, and the golfers were working at having fun.

When you watch golfers on TV, do they look like they are playing a game? …. or closing a business deal?

When I ask golfers why they play golf, they almost never mention it is to have fun. Somewhere along the timeline of learning how to play the game, golfers move from their heart center which feels the love and fun for the game back into the brain to analyze, criticize, and problem solve in hopes of moving to a higher level of performance. 

Play golf from your heart, not your ego 

When I ask golfers why they spend 4-6 hours of their unbelievably valuable time playing golf, the general answers I receive usually include:

  1. The challenge of the game; the competition.
  2. Because they are good at it, or want to improve.
  3. To enjoy the game with friends – the sociability.
  4. The scenery, being outdoors, the exercise.

While these are all good reasons, the intentions usually get lost in the round of golf, and the fears of not performing well enough surface instead. Rarely do I hear that the number one reason for amateurs and professionals to play golf is to have FUN.

From the beginning, it has always been my purpose to show golfers how to have FUN playing the game of golf. Once this intention is sidetracked the ego takes over. If golf isn’t fun, it will be a struggle. For me personally, my number one reason for playing golf is for my own enjoyment; to have fun.

Are you having fun on the golf course?

What then is fun? Fun is an activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation.

What does it mean to play? Engaging in play is a physical or mental leisure activity that is undertaken purely for enjoyment or amusement and has no other objective. You experience play when you are totally engrossed in the moment.

My basic premise is that golf is a game we play for FUN. And the operative word is play. We don’t golf, we don’t go golfing, we play golf.

For most of us, it was the first shot we hit perfectly on the sweet spot that made us feel so wonderful inside…..and we were hooked! That is the heartfelt feeling of fun!

My second premise of that if you play for fun and enjoy what you are doing, then you will play well. All you have to do is look back on your school years. The courses you took that you really enjoyed, you did well in because it was fun to put in the effort.

My Uncle Dick loved to play golf. His favorite way to play golf was to go out late in the afternoon and play a course of his own design. He would tee off and then play cross-country creating shots across fairways instead of playing down them, and then hitting shots back to put the ball in the hole. That was his way of having fun.

The mental game of golf is the same for all golfers, amateur, and professional. Arnold Palmer was trying to shoot his age (66) at the GTE Northwest Class in Seattle. On the 18th hole, he crushed his drive and had 205 yards left, which was a perfect 5-wood for him. He let his desire overcome his allowance and he choked. He said he was so nervous he hit it fat and left it 50 yards short of the green. He said he could have hit it that far with his backswing! After regaining his composure, he pitched his third shot within a foot and tapped the putt in for a birdie, and was able to shoot his age.

Most golfers rely on playing well to have fun. I believe that the opposite is true. The more fun you have, the better you will play. You will have fun when you are at ease, focused, and enjoying what you are doing.

How then do you have fun? 

Children have fun when they are totally engrossed in what they are doing. That is why they can watch the same cartoon over and over, enjoying it the same every time. They can play the same game a multitude of times, enjoying it every time. There is no judgment. There is no criticism. There is no analysis. They just enjoy being a part of it.

Golfers, on the other hand, make work out of what is supposed to be their play. Golfers can make golf a game of frustration, aggravation, humility, fear, worry, anxiety, and other self-defeating emotions. Where is the fun in that?

Most golfers believe that when they play well, they will be happy. And when they aren’t playing well, they experience anger and frustration. To be successful requires a paradigm shift in the thoughts that cause your emotions. It is important to remain in a state of loving the experience of playing golf no matter what the results are.

Get out of your own way on the golf course

You have heard that golf is a metaphor for life. The way you play reflects the way you live. When you lose your focus, you become self-centered and forget about having fun.  Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

The best state of mind/body for competing is the attitude of going out and having a good time. This will give you a feeling of being loose and free. When fun, not score is the desired outcome, it won’t matter what the score is, and more than likely the score will be a good one.

The Human Spirit of the Golfer

Golf reflects the journey into your inner self through exploring the mysteries of this royal and ancient game. At its highest levels of hitting perfect shots, and achieving your fullest potential, your spirit quietly soars “into the zone” where you are in a state of euphoria and trust. No longer is your spirit dampened by past experiences of fear, anxiety, indecision, distractions, and self-limitations. The joy you experience is in the moment, and not in the score.

Being in the “zone state” or flow on the golf course is the feeling of being in love. You have lost your personality self by being in love with the game and have forgotten the worries, judgments, and thoughts you have about yourself and your game. Align with your mind-body-spirit by experiencing love for the game rather than fear.

Show how strong your spirit is. 2020 was a year of living through fear potential. Keep your heart disconnected from the fear. Maintain neutrality through all your experiences.

Make next year more playful and fun

Trust that you have practiced enough mentally and physically and can let go and allow what you have learned to happen so you can have fun playing the game with full awareness of experiencing being in the moment.

Trust! Allow! It’s just a game. It’s supposed to be fun! Enjoy yourself and enjoy the journey!

Remember that the more fun you have on the golf course, the better you play. Put a smile into your pre-shot routine so you are programmed and ready to enjoy!

Play “in the zone” with Joan

Entrain Your Heart & Mind for Peak Performances

Gift yourself this Christmas with Positive Mental Imagery self-hypnosis guided imagery CDs to program your game for success, in the privacy of your own home, available at www.pmi4.com/cart

If you aren’t able to maintain trust and belief in yourself on the golf course, email Joan at pmi4@bellsouth.net or call 828.696.2547 for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation about developing a new strategy. Learn what is missing in your golf game so you can achieve the success you desire. 

“THE HEART OF GOLF, Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances explores and explains negative emotions such as fear and performance anxiety, the four Cs of mind blockage, the four progressive stages of learning the supreme intelligence of the heart, and the way to access the zone in competition. It is a player’s guide for developing your true inner self by returning to the joy and love of self instead of seeking praise and rewards from the outside world.

This guidebook for transforming your life and golf game is available now on

https://amzn.to/37PE9EA

All royalties will be donated to Junior Golf!

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