It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice golfer, single figure club golfer or a seasoned touring pro, we all have set-backs in golf.
Whether it's a missed 2-footer in your Saturday swindle, the club championship or you've stuck one in the water on 17 in a professional event, it’s not the size of the problem, but how we handle that problem that matters.
Many golfers struggle with bounce-back-ability. Also known as resilience. The mental fortitude to be able to come back from setbacks is the difference between average and good, good and great golfers or sportspeople.
There’s been many instances over the years of golfers coming back from serious setbacks and challenges.
Greg Norman was leading Nick Faldo at the 1996 Master's by 6 shots going into the final day but somehow Faldo managed to play infallible golf and Norman stuttered and collapsed, leaving Faldo to pick up his 3rd Master's title by 5 shots.
Many would fallen to the wayside after such a devastating defeat with the whole world watching. Even Faldo felt deeply for his opponent that he whispered to him after it was all over "Don't let the b*astards get you down!", referring to the media onslaught that was inevitable after his collapse.
However, Norman is made of pretty stern stuff and won the Australian open later that year as well as $1m at the Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf the following January and two other victories that year.
The European Ryder Cup team and the Miracle at Medinah in 2012 is another classic example. With Jose Maria Olazabal as captain, they were totally outclassed the first to days and going into the final day for the singles trailed the US by 10pts to 6.
But somehow, the European team managed to secure a 14 ½ - 13 ½ victory and perform one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history.
And just recently, Tiger Woods won his first tour event in five incredibly long years, after suffering marital and personal problems as well as serious spinal surgeries. Many of the world’s media and golfing fraternity alike, thought we had previously seen the best of Tiger and would no more.
Tiger obviously had other ideas and he proved everyone wrong.
So, how do we increase our ‘bounce-back-ability’?
Here's a few things to help.
1. Stay Calm. Staying calm is a key element to remaining in control.
2. Let Go. The ability to let go of what has been and not be attached to previous situations or negative outcomes. To be able to stay focused on ‘now’ and not live in the past or in the future, thereby not being affected by previous or future events or possibilities.
3. Have a Reason ‘why’. In 2012 at Medinah, it was not long after the great Seve Ballasteros has passed away, that the European Ryder Cup team captained by his fellow Spaniard and playing partner, Ollie, felt in their words that they wanted to do it for Seve. That was their "Why".
4. Grit. You can’t buy it or stow it in your bag. It’s that substance that causes those, when facing serious setback, to dig deep and find the wherewithal to pull something unknown together and somehow deliver what is required.
As we've seen, Tiger was to most, out for the count, but somewhere deep down, he was able to pull together what was required to bounce back, as were the others mentioned here and perform at their best, even when things were against them.
It may not be the Players Championship or the Ryder Cup that you’re playing for this month, but I hope these will help you when you’ve hit that ‘bogey’ hole or worse during your round and can find what's required for you to build your resilience and bounce back.
To Your Success
Performance Coach & Trainer at Golfing minds