Stop Worrying About Your Scores!

The Art of Detachment

Keep your head up while walking down the fairway – look at the trees and the sky. It can help to get out of your head and remain calm.

I coach a lot of junior golfers and the majority of them at one point or another have said that they worry about their score while playing.  Most of the times it’s the worry about what their score will be at the end of the round. If they’ve started off plus 5 through four holes they worry about breaking 90 or that they’ve blown their chance to put a good score on the card. There is so much worry about the future that they aren’t fully present for the shot at hand.

I struggled with this a bunch when I was younger as well. I had one event that changed that though: I was +3 through one hole at Heron Point and after 16 holes I was -3 (I finished with back to back bogey’s and shot 70).  While I stumbled over the last two holes it made me realize that you really don’t know what’s going to happen during the course of the round and if you can learn to detach from the actual score you’ll have a much less chance of going on tilt (state of emotional frustration or confusion that leads to you playing worse as you can’t focus anymore).

My son…on tilt.

You have to keep in mind that in golf we have no idea what’s actually going to happen before it happens. You never know when you’re going to start playing your best golf of the year so be “open” to that possibility.

Here’s where learning the art of detachment comes in. You are not your score and you can’t control your score to the extent you think you can. There are just too many variables in golf that can affect the score you shoot.  There is typically a range of scores that you are likely to shoot on a good day (72-78) ,a normal day (76-82) or a bad day (82-90). If you look at the low end on a good day, to the high end on a bad day that’s a difference of 18 shots.  That’s quite normal for any golfer regardless of their handicap. And remember, you have no idea which of those scores is going to show up before you tee off.

How about dealing with these off-course issues:

  • work stress
  • divorce
  • children getting into trouble
  • illness in the family
  • getting poor grades in school
  • having a huge fight with your best friend

These things will have an influence in your golf game because it’s real life shit. If your head is somewhere else than it can be difficult to play well because golf is a problem solving game (each shot is it’s own little puzzle). It’s tough to problem solve when you’re head is clouded.

Accept that fact that you don’t know what will happen on the next shot let alone the next hole. Accept that you don’t know exactly where your shot will end up. Ideally, you practice acceptance before you even hit the shot. You can say “This ball can go anywhere but I want it to go there” and then let it fly.

I think if you can get good at accepting whatever the outcome is then you will be able to detach yourself from your scores. Understand acceptance and detachment comes easier.

Play well…or not, but enjoy it.


The golf promised land awaits those that practice acceptance.

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