Patience on the Golf Course – What We Can Learn from Tiger Woods

If you’ve ever played golf, you certainly know the feeling- your swing is out of sync, the ball has a mind of it’s own, you get every bad break possible, and no matter how hard you try nothing can stop it. It’s very easy to get angry and frustrated on the golf course, but how we manage it shows others how we handle adversity and conduct ourselves when everything isn’t going exactly to plan.

During the second round at Augusta on Friday, Tiger Woods displayed one of the worst examples of composure on the course in recent memory. His frustrations were visualized by repeatedly slamming clubs and cursing at shots, but the ultimate moment came at the par-3 16th. With 9 iron in hand, Tiger sprayed his ball into the front right bunker. As soon as the ball left the club face, Tiger dropped the club behind him in pure disgust. He proceeded to turn around while the ball was in the air and kick his club that he had just dropped a good 15 feet.

To golfers, it was understandable. To gentlemen however, it was repulsive. With as much star power and influence as Tiger has it is very disappointing to see this kind of behavior, regardless of how lofty his standards for his game are.

The first lesson we can take away from Tiger’s day is how to manage our own expectations. Some days, you simply don’t have it. Try and recognize it and stop beating yourself, and your golf clubs, up. Expect what you are capable of producing on that particular day.

Secondly, don’t ruin it for others. If you’re angry and having a terrible time, others might be enjoying themselves. It’s unfair for them to feel uncomfortable being around you because you are unable to properly manage your emotions.

Thirdly, which I applaud Tiger for, is apologize. In the heat of intense moments, people will do and say things that they aren’t particularly fond of. After his round, Tiger apologized for the way he acted.

The real issue for Tiger however, is that this behavior is not an isolated incidence or something new. This has been something that has plagued him as of late, and is having a significant impact on the way fans and the media view him. This isn’t the first time he’s apologized, and each time he does, his words seem less and less meaningful.  Sometimes, when we want something so bad we become our biggest obstacle, and this seems to be the case with Tiger in his quest to surpass Jack’s major championship record.

Regardless of how well or poorly he plays, we all want Tiger to conduct himself in a way that best represents the game of golf when he’s on the course. We should also expect the same from ourselves.

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