It was said many times during the Ryder Cup that this tournament is like no other event in golf; the seriousness is there but the cheering and jeering elicits so many different responses in the players that they must seek out their zen place in order to close out distractions. In a recent article by Golf Digest, it was suggested that players do not try to block out pressure but, instead, embrace and channel it.
"You probably aren't playing in front of a 50,000-person gallery, but everybody will get to a shot that gets the butterflies going," related top PGA Teacher Randy Smith.
"The trick is to practice drifting into the past, to access the good shots you've hit on that hole or in a similar situation. When you do that, you're reminding yourself that the situation isn't completely foreign. The nerves are there, but they're part of the experience."The Golf for Beginners mantra is that we are always learning...and sharing our thoughts with golfers of all levels so, here are a few observations as to how to use Ryder Cup model to your advantage during a friendly competition with your mates.
1. Managing Emotions: As discussed above, emotions do play a role on the golf course but the key is how to use those feelings to your advantage.
Preventing a meltdown is easier said than done when you slice your ball so badly that it splashes into the green-side pond or when you have a few shekels on the line and miss that three-footer to go down by three in the match. Dr. Deborah Graham suggests using Dave Stockton's "2 Second Rule" as a quick fix to a possible emotional disaster.
Basically, give yourself two seconds to react to a bad shot - release frustration and then change your thoughts to something you can control and move on to the next shot.
2. Try a Different Format: Match Play format is sometimes the better format when going out and playing with friends. You can have a blowup hole without losing the match as in stroke play; the game also moves along faster because of gimmee putts and takes less time for when you need to finish in under five plus hours (ah, the publinks experience!)
3. Try Playing as Teams: The team experience can be very rewarding, creating a sense of cameraderie during the round.
About the idea of playing with a team, Karen Stupples mentioned that solo golf can be very "selfish" and said with regards to her experience in the Solheim Cup, "You have to be aware of what everybody else needs as well and you may have to make some sacrifices. You will definitely feel more pressure in this type of format because you don't want to let your team down."
I personally like the option of playing best ball and believe that the joint strategy offers less pressure because the team is shouldering some of the weight. Ham and egging it has its advantages!
What did you learn from watching the Ryder Cup matches?
Now that the Ryder Cup is officially in the books, we congratulate both teams for their incredible winning spirit. Next up in the way of team sports is the Solheim Cup slated for mid-August of 2017 and then the President's Cup at the end of September, 2017.
Are you a fan of team sports? What can you offer about your experiences playing with a team? Tag us on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and feel free to comment in our golf blog below.