This is a question many amateur players ask themselves. Experts advise to keep it simple with this easy mantra: ‘I can’t control where the ball goes, but I can control my effort.’ But we know this isn’t always easy, and some common phrases tend to slip out when the going gets tough.
Professional golfer Billy Foster has mentioned the importance of keeping your emotions in check and focusing on what you can control, which seems applicable to golf and life as a whole. That being said, here are some common words and phrases you may hear out on the links when golfers hit bad shots. In addition to the safety yellings of FORE!!!!
The “S” Word
If you can swallow this curse word in times of extreme frustration, then don’t let anyone stop you from using it, but know that there are more effective ways to put your lousy shot behind you.
This statement is unacceptable, no matter how bad your shot was or who you are playing with. Watch the language and think of a more appropriate phrase.
Patrons don’t want to hear this kind of comeback, and the last thing you want to do is make excuses or bring attention to your poor shot. “Really” does not lead to a solution and only distracts from the task at hand, even if it isn’t your turn.
This is another phrase that has become commonplace in golf. It is an expression of dismay after seeing your ball take an unfortunate bounce off the hole or having it roll back down the hill. Although this phrase is similar to number two, it’s not as harsh. You are saying ‘oh no’ to yourself instead of telling yourself to shut up.
This statement is a bit extreme and can harm your state of mind. For example, let’s say you hit a bad shot off the tee; it’s going straight for trouble but then suddenly hooks around a tree and lands in a better position – this is what we call a ‘get out of jail free card.’ Telling yourself to forget the shot implies that you have no intention of taking advantage of this opportunity.
“I can’t believe it!”
You are once again directing negative thoughts at yourself by using the word ‘can’t.’ This phrase has become very common nowadays, but it isn’t the most constructive statement to make after hitting a bad shot.
“That would’ve been nice.”
This statement is also not doing anything for your game as it implies that you lost the hole because your ball didn’t go where you wanted it to. There was nothing wrong with the path your ball took, and you have no reason to complain. If you feel like saying this phrase will help you, then go ahead and use it, but remember there are better alternatives out there.
This statement is a strong insult directed at yourself. It implies that the loss was your fault because you weren’t skilled enough. Throwing this phrase out there will only bring you more bad shots and no good – not to mention it’s not a very nice thing to say about yourself.
“This is ridiculous!”
This statement has the same problem as number six – it implies that your poor shot was your fault because you weren’t skilled enough. This is never the case, and you know it deep down. There’s always an excuse for why your ball went where it did, and there was nothing you could do to control that outcome. If this phrase comes out, try changing the meaning into something more positive like ‘this had to happen or ‘I’m glad it happened.
“Man, that was ugly.”
This is another phrase that has become popular, but it’s also harmful to your game. It implies that you are embarrassed about what just happened and need to state the obvious. The truth is, there was nothing ugly about it – at least not from your perspective. There are plenty of people who would kill for the chance to hit a shot just like the one you just drilled.
“I can’t believe I missed that”
This statement is similar to number six and implies the same thing – the loss was your fault because you weren’t skilled enough. It’s evident that nothing went according to plan, but this doesn’t mean it was your fault entirely.
“I was way over par there.”
This is a very pessimistic statement, and it implies that your score was not good enough for what you were expecting. If this phrase comes out, you’ll probably start thinking about all those shots you should have made, and it’s going to be very difficult for you to recover.
This statement is a bit extreme and should only come out if you’ve completely given up on the game. If this phrase comes out, try replacing it with ‘let’s make the last one count’ or ‘it’s not over until the last ball is on the green.’ This new phrase will help you stay positive, and it may even help you win.
This statement is a bit confusing as it implies that getting into trouble was a good thing. If this comes out, try replacing it with ‘it could have been worse’ or ‘it was an adventure.’
“I gotta get back on track.”
This phrase is very common, but it’s also very ironic because you have just taken yourself off the track. It implies that you are in trouble, and it will be difficult for you to find your way out of this situation. If this phrase comes out, try replacing it with ‘I can do this or ‘how bad it can get.’
This phrase is not helpful at all and ignores the fact that you just hit a poor shot. On the bright side, it implies that there is nothing much for you to do about it – which is true in most cases. If this phrase comes out, try replacing it with ‘it had to happen or ‘I’m glad it happened.
Things You Say on a Bad Day
There are plenty of phrases golfers say when they get upset on the course. But, no matter how frustrated you get, remember that these moments happen and focus on improving rather than your slip-ups. And use a mulligan if needed to keep your game on track!
But when those moments arise, choose what works for you, and be mindful of those around you if you decide to swear!
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