I’ve always suspected that good, old-fashioned golf course temper tantrums have redeeming value that go beyond the comedic. Turns out I’ve been right. Special thanks to LPGA professional Maria Palozola for this guest Golf Tantrum column.
Your Tantrum May Be Improving Your Game
By Maria Palozola
That little conniption fit of yours may actually be good for your game. That’s right. Throwing a little tantrum can improve your play. Although most professionals and instructors would not recommend it as a regular part of your routine, having a minor meltdown might not be such a bad thing.
Here are three key ways a tantrum may improve play:
1) You Get Looking Stupid Out of the Way – Whether it’s chucking a club, breaking one or spewing out some expletives you regret later, you have pretty much just made a fool of yourself. Therefore, no shank, chunk, top or whiff is going to make you look worse. From this point on you can relax and focus on your game. Your mind is clear of self conscious thoughts and it’s all pointing upward from here. This Sergio Garcia demolition of a bunker at the 2010 PGA Championship definitely got looking stupid out of the way so it didn’t matter much what he did coming in. Not to dog on El Nino…I mean, been there, done that!
2) Throwing Clubs Is Great Swing Practice – The golf swing mimics a natural throwing motion. Unfortunately, most amateurs hit at the ball, causing them to cast the club and release early. Interestingly enough, when you have them toss clubs in lessons and film them they look like a PGA Tour player at impact. So tossing a few during a round might enhance that natural athletic throwing motion and help erase unwanted swing flaws. Rory McIlroy’s recent club toss into the lake at the WGC Cadillac Championship in Miami was perfect practice for his next swing.
3) Your Are Letting Out the Tension – One thing golf pros are very conscious of is not carrying bad feelings or thoughts to the next shot. By having a tantrum and letting out all your frustration, you can clear your mind and free your body of tension at the same time. They always say it’s better to let it out than to hold it in. The shot in front of you should always demand 100% of your attention. You can’t be dwelling on what happened on the previous shots, as that will drain your mental and physical energy from the shot at hand. When Woody Austin famously broke his putter over his head at the 1997 Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, he let out all his mental and physical frustration right there and then, so it didn’t need to carry on to the next shot.
In reality though, myself and any other respected professionals would tell you that if your hissy fit does damage to the course or distracts other players you really need to tone it down. Throw a few punches in the air or throw a few choice words out there under your breath, but don’t let it affect those around you and don’t hurt the golf course, because then, well, your are just a total bone head!
Based in St. Louis, Maria Palozola has been a Top 50 Teacher with the LPGA since 2008. She was the Midwest Section Teacher of the Year in 2008,2011,2013. Golf Digest ranks her as a Top 5 Teacher in Missouri. She instructs online at http://www.mygolfinstructor.com and can be contacted in person via http://www.stlouisgolflessons.com.