The Doldrums

May 4, 2012

Golf is a game. It’s mean to be fun. It’s meant to be interesting, challenging, and, occasionally, exciting. The frustration of playing the game leads to joy at moments of achievement. Hours of work paying off for the benefit of the scorecard and the handicap, all leading to lower, better scores.

And then, there is this.

There comes a period in every golfer’s life that he or she simply is not excited by the game. So often, we hear exciting reviews of new products, scintillating stories of the “perfect round,” or humorous tales of a round gone sour. Even the worst rounds, though, don’t feel like this.

This is what I call the doldrums. The doldrums is the feeling of doing it just because you have to in order to get better. So many times in this game, we’re so excited about it that we can’t see how anyone could ever feel like the game is uninteresting. But, at some point, you will. This is rarely discussed in the game–in fact, I’ve been playing for 20 years now, and I can only recall one conversation, maybe two, where I discussed this topic with someone.

You play this game, you get better, and one day it’s like you don’t know how to play it any more. You can’t focus on the right things. Nothing good happens. You spend the whole day playing mediocre golf. You wish you hadn’t gone to the golf course, but, instead, had stayed home and knocked a few items off the honey-do list. And, worst of all, it keeps happening.

LG and I have both felt this, and all I can say to you out there that do feel it is–it goes away, eventually. There are basically two ways to approach it–keep playing, or step away for awhile. For those who step away, I can totally understand. It seems like every Winter I leave the game and every Spring I feel renewed, like I’m going to have my best year ever. There’s value to walking away for awhile; absence makes the heart fonder, and that’s definitely true of the game we love.

But, in the Summer, you don’t want to waste your nice days when you get them. Spend the time at the range; mix it up on the course and play from a new set of tees; try taking a different route on the holes–go for shots you wouldn’t normally and lay up on shots you wouldn’t normally; try a new ball, or a new setup of your clubs.

For some of us (LG, achem) the problem is putting. Not draining your putts can be a real drag, especially when you know you’re hitting the ball well enough to score. All I can say is this: don’t change your setup, your equipment, or your approach just because the putts aren’t dropping. If you’ve had success before, try to do what you used to do, but do it better. If you haven’t had success before, I would agree that there’s something to change, but that’s a rarity. Most of us that get this feeling know what a good putting round feels like.

As you go through it, know that you will make it to the other side. There’s nothing like conquering the game, especially when you’ve felt like you couldn’t. Our best wishes on making it through.

-JK

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One Response to “The Doldrums”


  1. […] this ride while I’m on it is what the game is all about. There may be a bad streak some time (The Doldrums), so it’s important to enjoy the good times while they’re […]


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