Laughter is a human emotion
that we don't use enough in golf.
Laughter is a good remedy for brushing aside bad luck or bad play. Playing golf mad is a downward spiral that can become a destructive habit. For better golf we can all learn to laugh more at our misfortunes.
We get mad at ourselves when we miss a short putt or duff an iron when the best remedy is to laugh at our mistakes.
When you play a bad shot you have several options:
Whatever option you choose to follow, choose carefully for it could soon become a habit. And we all know that once you have formed a habit, it is difficult to change it.
Not taking yourself too seriously is a technique that experienced golfers have learned and young hot-heads have yet to learn.
Playing golf in an angry state of mind realises negative chemicals into your blood stream that impact badly on your subsequent performance.
It is more natural to be mad than to be happy when, for example, your drive finds an ugly divot in the fairway. However, laughing at your misfortune is an antidote to a potential train wreck.
It is impossible to fake genuine laughter. Any attempt will sound hollow and insincere. In the beginning it will take a good deal of self-discipline to look on the bright side.
How many golfers have messed up their tee shot when they are still steamed up about a missed putt on the last green?
When asked how he could play an amazing recovery shot so soon after a poor shot, Seve Ballesteros is said to have replied that he had instant amnesia. This gives true meaning to the saying that you should play each shot as a single event.
What separates us from the animals is our ability to think. Our mind can flit from the past to the future in a heart beat.
Staying locked into the present each time we are over the ball is a challenge that takes persistence to meet successfully. Few golfers will ever master the skill.
One way to free our mind from travelling back and forth from past disaster to impending disaster is to laugh at our mistakes and accept our misfortunes with a wry smile.
We may not play better - but probably will. We are unlikely to play worse and we will definitely have a more pleasant outing.
Golf is a great equaliser whatever that means. Maybe it means that a good attitude and an ability to overcome bad luck or form with laughter will allow you on your handicap to outperform a better player who is prone to losing control of his or her temper.
It is easy to be upbeat and cheerful when you are splitting fairways and dropping putts. However, there will be days on the course when the golfing gods will single you out and test you.
The question is - Can you adopt the same attitude and laugh when the bounce of the ball is against you?