GETTING OFF THE BOGEY TRAIN
Did you ever wake up during a round and find yourself on the bogey train? You reach into your pocket and look for your ticket. Yes, you confirm that you bought a ticket for the par train. So, how did you get onto the wrong train, and how do you get off? Here’s my story:
This ride began with my feeling immersed in a beautiful round of golf as part of a member-guest. It was one of those resplendent summer days in New England. Putts were, of course, made and missed; I remained (mostly) focused on my targets and my process. I was enjoying the scenery, and even was fortunate enough to have a great song going through my head. I do not usually keep close track of the score or the match status, but I had a sense that things were going well.
Then, suddenly, I noticed: bogeys on 8, on 9, on 10, on 11… Yes….I was on the bogey train, for sure. I checked with my partner to confirm our ticket status, and, no, we had not bought a ticket for the bogey train. So, I told him I planned to get off this train. But, as you know, it’s not so easy. The train has no scheduled stops and there was no upcoming station in sight.
I can tell you what did not work: grinding harder, aiming more intensely, trying to avoid hazards (which now seemed more numerous and prominent), feeling frustrated, disappointed, or sorry for myself, or taking notice of the gleeful reactions of my match opponents.
I did manage to get off got off the train by the 14thhole. Here’s how: I quietly went through some relaxation drills, accepted what was happening was the outcome meant for me today (a paradox), and created a perspective with some sense of humor. Having a good laugh about being on the bogey train was part of the process. I reminded myself that I am not in charge of how things go all the time and if there was any chance of getting off this train it would be from some internal psychological shift – a shift to not trying as hard (another paradox); I reminded myself that my ego was part of the problem here- and that golf does not care about your ego. So I let myself stop focusing on my score and escaping from the hypnotic fascination that my outcome was the most important thing in the world. I humbly asked the golfing gods to have mercy on me.
Don’t expect this particular formula to work for you. You need your own formula, and it may not work the first time. It may, but more commonly, it takes practice. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of opportunity in golf to find yourself on the bogey train. From now on, instead of giving in and riding on the bogey train through the 18thgreen, or feeling angry or frustrated, you have another strategy to practice.
Now, remember what Dr Rich golf is about. Better golf…better life. So, it’s not just about learning to get off the bogey train on the golf course. The more important question is: what is the bogey train in your life, at home? And how do you get off that one?