So, you just made the turn and you are really feeling good about that front nine; maybe one of your best. Who knows this could be the day you break the magic number. You stop at the half way house for a bite to eat and then head off to number 10 with great expectations. You take the last bite of your hotdog, tee it up and cringe as your ball heads for the woods. “Oh no I think I just lost my swing!” “Why am I only good for nine holes of golf?”
We posed this question our network of golfers and got lots of commiseration, and lots of advice to overcome this all too common problem for the everyday golfer. As you might expect the advice falls into several categories:
2. Fitness and Conditioning
3. Staying in the Moment
We should note that skill was never mentioned. Perhaps the thinking here is that if you can play nine holes of golf well you definitely have the skill to play a solid 18 holes.
Nutrition: You are what you eat and drink. Many golfers felt that to maintain their energy level, and the focus necessary for 18 holes, you have to give your body and mind the right fuel. This includes carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar at the right level. You should also eat foods like peanut butter for protein and bananas for potassium. Equal emphasis was put on staying hydrated throughout the round. Most of us just don’t drink enough water. The classic American hot dog was not mentioned as an energy booster, and there was not much mention of electrolyte replacement drinks.
Fitness and Conditioning: Many felt that, as important as nutrition is, even if you eat the right foods and drink enough water, if you are not physically fit you cannot maintain your focus and stamina to go 18 holes. Yes, you should stretch when you get to the range and warm up before the 1st tee, but if you are not putting in the time with a balanced fitness program then you just can’t go the distance. Which means that after that 1st nine fatigue starts to set in, you lose focus and concentration, and your score starts to go south.
Stay In The Moment: A round of golf is supposed to be played in four hours or less; and of course we have all experienced rounds that go way over the allotted four hours. By the way, four hours is a long time to do anything. So how do you maintain your level of focus? Some suggested that you not look at the score card to help reduce the pressure we put on ourselves. And, try to forget that tee shot that went into the woods and concentrate only on the next shot. Align your expectations with your abilities; and when you hit an errant shot take your punishment and don’t go for the heroics. Or maybe just play nine holes in a day.
Well there we have it. Words of wisdom from the guys and gals that play without any ropes around them and who have the shared experiences of the average golfer. Just one more note; no one said “forget about it and just have fun”. For most of us golf is the most stressful relaxation we can possibly have. But nothing beats a beautiful day on the golf course with good friends.