Teeing Off
Mickelson National Golf Course


“Forget your opponents; always play against par.”
– Sam Sneed


I don’t keep score when I play golf. 

I mean, I used to keep score but I don’t anymore. This has been my practice for the past few seasons now. I have learned not to keep score over time when I am out playing a round. I have found that things go better, much better, for me when I’m not concerned with the score. I have even been re-introduced to such things as fun, enjoyment, and laughter – which I didn’t know existed when I was too busy counting strokes.

The reason for this is simple: I am simply too competitive and way too hard on myself (with too many self-inflicted, and often unrealistic, expectations) to record, even if only in pencil, what I score after each hole. Thank goodness, at least, the score I do record can be erased, but that never happens as once a hole is done it is permanently etched in my mind and on the scorecard to be added up after the round. 

Sometimes, what I shoot on a given hole makes it easy for me to move on to the next hole, or the next shot (such as when making a par or a birdie); other times, it is much more difficult for me to move on and simply let it go. One of the best remedies I have found is to add up my strokes on a hole mentally, and then to let it go and move on to the next hole. That way, if it was a good hole I feel good and if it wasn’t then I can just put it behind me. In a way, I am playing match-play with myself. In other words, it doesn’t matter what I score on any hole because I get to start again on the next one. This has become really freeing for me, as of late.

Another reason I choose not to keep score is because I don’t enjoy the way I react and respond when things on the golf course do not go the way I had hoped for or anticipated. If I am honest, I seem to be predisposed to taking this game way too seriously when I am trying to score well, or hit a good shot. This approach often leads me to being stuck in my own head and unable to get out of it. And if I am not careful, getting too stuck inside my head can lead to actions I am not proud of. 

I am learning to not take this game so seriously and part of this process is consciously choosing not to keep score. Therefore, since my reactions can get a bit off, I don’t like the effects they can have on the people I am playing with. I know I don’t like it when my playing partners aren’t respectful of the golf course, their equipment, or their mouth when they don’t get the results they were hoping for, so I try to keep this in mind when I am playing my way around a golf course.

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