Are Control Freaks suited to Golf?

By November 3, 2012Latest News

Andrew-Mirror-McCombe-at-kooindah-Waters

I just found out I’m a control freak…

To be honest I have known for a long time but my inner controller reared his head in a big way when I played Kooindah Waters this week.

Kooindah Waters Golf Resort is situated on the Central Coast 60-90 minutes (depending on traffic) from Sydney. We arrived on perhaps the best day ever for golf. Low twenties, not a cloud in the sky, oh and it was my birthday, so we were pumped for a great day of golf.

The word Kooindah means Water, therefore Kooindah Waters means Water Waters. Surely this was enough to put fear into my golfing heart before I started playing but unbeknown to me it was not the water on every one of the 18 holes that that was going to spoil my day. It was me and my damn control freak.

Let me set the scene…

Old “Fade” Fay and I were reviewing Kooindah Waters before we shoot it for Golf Getaway in a few weeks. Traditionally we like to play with a member so they can share some history and a few yarns about the course. This process usually takes about 5 hours and when we are finished we use some of the material for our scripts. We had been paired with a very nice member who lived on the course, played off 25 and took all our money but even that was not the issue.

The issue was me and my inner control freak…and today he was out of control.

The funny thing was I chose to jump in the member’s cart and interview him about the course. It wasn’t until we got to the first tee that I realized the cart was actually his own cart, which for me meant I would not be driving at all today – already alarm bells were ringing…control freaks love to drive.

We all got away nicely off the tee, and then the second alarm went off – the member would park a good twenty to thirty metres away from the ball which meant we would have to go to the ball, work out what club was needed, walk all the way back to the cart to get the club and then all the way back to the ball again to play it…hmm I could feel my temperature beginning to rise.

The next alarm bell was seeing another group line up on the tee behind us – this always plays on my mind as I don’t like to keep people waiting, I know what it’s like to be a control freak and having my flow interrupted so I can only imagine what it’s like for others…this did not seem to bother our member he would take a good few minutes fixing divots, cleaning clubs, putting them away and whatever else he was doing…in fairness, for a Monday the course was very busy and I am not sure if he was used to that.

Anyway…to make matters even worse not only were the people behind playing up on us but we were blocked in front by several groups of ladies. Measuring 6185 metres Kooindah Waters is quite a long golf course and when you add all the water hazards it has the potential to be a slow round.

So here I was feeling rushed from behind, blocked from in front (and even though I addressed the slow play in front with the group behind) I felt totally out of control and needless to say it started to effect my golf – I notice when I am feeling out of control because I start over steering and pulling the ball when I swing – unfortunately for me this happened on about the third hole.

Now this article is not about blaming others it’s about me taking full responsibility for the way I was feeling and letting it affect my golf – In taking full responsibility for my inner control freak I sat down after the game and tried to look at the signs and see if by sharing them I can help any other golfers out there who may struggle with their control freak on the golf course.

In review the following were the signs…

First came the over analyzing of shots before I played them or talking too much about them afterwards (as if anyone cares).

Second the outward expressions of anger and frustration – which is quite rare for me when I play golf.

Then came blaming: the group behind, the group in front and even my own group for the slowness of play – I noticed this because even a general conversation that took a bit longer than it should would trigger my impatience.

Then the poor golf performance with the pulling of drives and over steering of approach shots.

Would you believe next came the unique ideas to break away from the groups behind and in front and that I was playing with (as if I am some important golfer) – Maybe we tell our member we are only playing 9 holes? Maybe we say we like to play the back nine by ourselves? Maybe we stop for lunch and hope he plays on and …Maybe the group behind will have passed by that stage too?

And then finally came resignation – although this only happened on the 17th hole after I put my tee off into the water – it’s funny at this point I tried to convince myself that it didn’t matter and that atleast we were out here playing golf and having fun. I abandoned my pre shot routine and just swung randomly at the ball as if the outcome did not matter. But still the internal disappointment and frustration did not disappear.

Call me a slow learner but here’s what I was reminded of playing golf today.

Golf is a game of flow and if I am not in it, the lack of it will show up very quickly in my game. Therefore as soon as I notice the warning signs (usually anger and frustration) I need to remind myself to bring myself back to the present moment.

The best way I know to do this is to take a look around and really appreciate the beauty of the environment and the fact that I am privileged enough to be playing such a great game while others are slaving away in the office – this very quickly allows me to relax and realize that playing off a ten handicap – golf is not life or death for me.

I don’t know if I like my control freak – sure he serves a purpose if I am in danger but somehow I don’t think the incredibly picturesque Kooindah Waters on the most beautiful day of the year is  life threatening.

Get out of your head controller and back into your heart. That’s why you started playing this game in the first place!

Happy Birthday “Mirror”!

Andrew “Mirror” McCombe www.GolfGetaway.com.au

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