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New Year's Resolutions
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I'm going to change my usual New Year's resolution from 'play better golf' to something a bit more fascinating this year. This year I will be focusing my attention on my internal dialog, the learning process, and my playing partners to name a few...

Internal Dialog
My first resolution deals with self-talk. This is important because the most influential messages you receive in life come from what you say to yourself. This year I'm going to focus on my internal dialog during my rounds of play. My awareness of my thoughts and feelings are going to be my focus. My excessive thoughts will be like waves in the ocean, and I will be at the bottom watching them drift over head. I will control my feelings, and decide if I want to be nervous or excited while I play.

The Learning Process
I'm going to fall in love with the learning process. The whole idea of improving your game should sound fun or you are not going to be in this game very long. Set it up to be a journey. Be equipped and prepared for an adventure of a lifetime. Become fascinated with the process. Put your attention on the experience and inner sensations you feel while playing and the score will become insignificant.

Learn some rules and etiquette. It won't kill you. And believe it or not it will drastically improve your business golf. Imagine not knowing a rule, a client observes that you just breached a rule of golf. The client is polite and would never disrupt the flow of the round. The client leaves the course in disbelief of what he saw, never mentioning a word to you. And weeks later you can't figure out why you lost this client. It might be an uncontrollable circumstance, or just maybe he/she was offended by your lack of integrity and rules of the game. Ouch!! I'm sorry to
report, but this happens a lot.

The Score
I'm not going to let my score rate my experience. If I did, I would have quit a long time ago. Besides, think of the pressure your putting on yourself by saying, 'I need to play good today.' I highly doubt you've had your best rounds with this thought, so stop it.

Before you put a lot of emphasis on score, keep in mind that a typical round of golf lasts 4.5 hours. That's 15 minutes per hole. And only 5 minutes of the 15 minutes is actually 'golf time', and that includes a pre-shot routine! Which, 85% of us do not have. That leaves at least 10 minutes per hole, 180 minutes per round, to visit with our playing partners.

Be Courteous to your Playing Partners
In fact I'm going to go beyond courteous, especially when the starter has paired us up. This is not bad luck; this is an opportunity to meet someone who just might be as passionate about the game as I am.

The people I play with heavily influence my fun meter. Please don't confuse good golfers with people who are fun to play with. Let me give you two examples.

Example one: Whenever I fly home (Bismarck, ND) to visit my family, the rounds of golf with my family and friends are what I look forward to the most. Yes, North Dakota, and they do love their golf. It's a four-hour party filled with fascinating conversation. Pouting is unacceptable and shunned upon. Poor shots are laughed at and good shots are praised. And after the round, nobody sits in the 19th hole and talks about all of the should'ves and could'ves. It's a very refreshing atmosphere, very
similar to the conversations between PGA Tour Players
after their rounds.

Example two: I was invited to play one of the top courses in the world by a friend. I'd never played the course and my expectations for the day were very high. We arrived at the course and met two other acquaintances. The weather, the facility, and services were amazing. It was going to be another 'gourmet golf' experience. There was only one problem, and it was a big problem.

One of the players, a low handicapper, started playing bad. Not a big deal, it happens to everyone. But by the time we reached the fourth hole it happened. This person, a very successful 45-year-old businessperson, threw a good old-fashioned adolescent tantrum on the golf course. The wining and the crying and the complaining were like nails on a chalkboard. The negative self-talk went on and on. Quickly, he lost interest in the round. By the back nine, he was talking on his cell phone. He was basically wishing he
wasn't there, and so did I. Remember, we were playing golf at one of the best places on earth. As someone once said," Golf doesn't build character, it reveals it", and it revealed more than I needed to know.

So this year, watch out! If I see this type of behavior in my group I will say something. I'm tired of having one person's behavior ruin the day for everyone in the group. And I hope you will do the same. The game is just too important.

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