I had some time on my hands the past few days due to Hurricane Dorian. Golf Course is closed, High School Golf cancelled, and all home preparations are accomplished early. With this extra time I began to realize efforts I’ve made the last 2 out of 3 years to prepare for and/or live through a hurricane do have similarities to me preparing to play golf. And not surprisingly, the positive outcomes I experienced from each event resemble each other, based upon my preparation.
There’s a much different reason to prepare for a major storm than there is to preparing to play golf. But you have to take each seriously to achieve success while staying optimistic as you prepare. So with all due respect to everyone who has lived through a hurricane, here’s my take about how preparing for the worst can assist you with preparing to play golf at your best.
Are You Preparing to Play Golf?
The way you come out the other side of either event, playing a round of golf or living through a hurricane, is all about your preparation. Fail to prepare for a hurricane and you may end up homeless or worse. Fail to prepare for golf and you may end up with a huge score if not worse. What’s worse than a very large number on the scorecard? Losing your passion to play the game. But who’s fault is that? Yours!
Preparing in the smallest of ways insures you are least ride out the hurricane unharmed. Why not do the same for your golf game so you at least leave the 18th green wanting to come back for more? Trust me, I don’t want another hurricane but preparing for each has taught me a lot and makes preparing for the next that much more streamline. Small amounts of preparing for each round will add up over the course of many rounds and become more routine. This routine will provide you some security in knowing how to prepare for your next round of golf.
Do You Know what You can Control?
How you come out of the storm starts with knowing what you can and can’t control. Golf is no different. What you can’t control with either event is atmospheric conditions. You need to plan for those conditions to be part of your preparations.
Obviously, preparations for a hurricane start well before the storm arrives. And so, should your atmospheric preparations for golf. The most obvious is rain. Do you at least have an umbrella to keep your clubs and gloves dry? Have you packed your rain suit? Rain gloves? Simple items like this make the current round more enjoyable and take one less stress item off the list of variables you need to deal with.
As per the wind, it can vary from one moment to the next with a hurricane. The “cone of uncertainty” can change with each update. And as the eye of the storm goes past, it’s a certainty the wind direction will change. As you play a round of golf, the wind direction you deal with changes each hole, because each hole can’t line up end to end and return to the clubhouse. And its not uncommon for the direction and speed to change mid-round. As like preparing for a hurricane, as you’re preparing to play golf you can know and plan for the general direction of the wind and its speed. But like a hurricane, your planning for wind must evolve as the round progresses.
Does Your Game have Anxiety?
Anxiety is the #1 reason most people prepare poorly prior to a major storm event. And it’s the #1 killer of any round of golf. Like a hurricane, anxiousness can take place before during and after the event or your round. It’s all a matter of knowing yourself and your limitations and performing low risk behaviors to the best of your ability.
People who are anxious panic during a hurricane. The panic gets in their own way, sometimes preventing them from realizing a solution to their situation is only an arm’s length away. After taking a deep breath at the suggestion of a loved one or friend, the extra oxygen taken in by your body relaxes the nerves and allows you to walk to safety.
Golf is no different. You may feel anxious about the most important round you’ve ever played or over the most routine of rounds if faced with a stressful lie on any hole. The same therapy applies, take a big deep breath and relax. The simple act of reoxygenating your body can slow your heart rate and eliminate some of the pressure you’re feeling, so you can walk through your round with the least amount of damage possible.
As You’re Preparing to Play Golf, Do You Have an Evacuation Plan?
When you can’t ride out the storm you have to have an evacuation plan. When you can’t hit the shot you want, then you must have a “Plan B”.
A storm evacuation plan does differ slightly than an evacuation route on the course in that you’re going to remain on the golf course when the problem is over versus before the problem happens. A typical example of an evacuation plan on the course is playing the shot that is more conservative in nature from a decision standpoint but allows you the best opportunity to play the shot aggressively within your skill level. This decision may feel cowardly at the time. But keeping par in play now will go beyond serving its immediate purpose when you add up your score at the end of the round.
Are You Informed?
As one prepares for a hurricane, the constant flow of information assists you with making great decisions within your preparation plan. When and where the storm will hit land provides you a timeline and data to make informed decisions, ensuring your safety and your material items are secure. Are you informed about every shot you attempt before you perform the shot?
Besides the atmospheric variables mentions earlier, are you gathering enough data to act in a manner that provides you the safest passage from the point where you currently reside on the course to your next destination? Simple items such as the type of lie you have, where you stand in the match or tournament, or the carry yardage needed to insure you’re pin high are all variable that change from shot to shot. Those variables and others are required for you to envision the best shot you can make using the best club possible to execute the shot.
Are You Gouging Yourself? Do You Have a Back-Up Generator?
Sometimes retail outlets get caught “price gouging” consumers, charging overly inflated rates and prices for the necessary items one needs to prepare for the storm. And sometime price gouging happens after the storm applying to items you may need to perform necessary repairs to the damage your property sustained. “Gouging” yourself on the course is not about how much you paid the beverage girl for the drink or food item you just bought. It happened when you failed to hydrate and fuel up before you played.
Most all golfers experience a point in every round where energy levels are sinking, if not already depleted. This normally happens late in the round. But it was caused by poor planning as much as 24-hours before you played. Your planning to play golf starts with the amount of water you consumed the day before your round, as well as with the pre-round diet high in sugar. Both actions ultimately lead to you experiencing energy spikes throughout your round. Be sure you start hydrating the night before your round. And have at least 2 well-balanced meals prior to playing. And during the round, continue the hydration and refuel with food that is higher in protein. These actions are in fact your back-up generator when the power normally goes out.
The preparation you take to withstand a catastrophic event such as a hurricane is much more important than the preparation you take to play a round of golf. But each preparation plans mirrors the other in so many ways that if you thought about each shot as a “mini-hurricane,” you may find you’ll be better prepared to play better golf.