Channel your anger
To stay at this level focus on whatever it is that has upset you, then
consciously channel that anger into technique. Use anger to help you shut out everything else and focus on your shot. ?All the big boys are able to do this,? reveals Noonan. ?But they also have the ability to realise when anger is making them reactive rather than strategic.?
You can go through every club in your trolley; it?s not going to do you any good. Noonan explains: ?Even Tiger, who may abuse his clubs and himself a little, knows that this is only good as a quick release of stress hormones out of his body. You can guarantee as he?s walking to his next shot he is taking 15 to 20 deep breaths ? in through the nose, out through the mouth ? to dampen down his nervous system as quickly as possible.? You can?t fight anger with more anger.
Rationalise your anger
Whenever you feel yourself beginning to feel aggrieved at the injustices dealt to you on the course, think logically. This is what players like Phil Mickelson have mastered. ?You can see Mickelson talking to himself after a bad shot, a bad round or even a bad championship,? says Noonan. ?He is using cold, hard logic to dampen the irrationality of his anger.?
This is called cognitive restructuring. Mickelson has realised that he can?t demand a good shot and that, in fact, bad shots will creep up in his game no matter what. No one owes him a tournament. His rewards are based on his play and he won?t play well when he?s angry. ?Such a logical thought pattern not only gives you perspective it actually takes your mind off the fact that you were angry in the first place so it has a double effect on dampening your anger,? says Noonan. ?In doing this, you can put the disappointment of a bad shot behind you and make the next one a good one.?
What to do when your playing partner loses it
?Anger is often negated by distraction,? says Dr Charles Higham. ?Just think about when a baby is upset. If you leave them alone they only work themselves into an even greater frenzy. Instead, we try to distract them with something to switch off that anger valve.?
Unfortunately, our adult reactions to anger are sown in infancy and we don?t get much more sophisticated as we grow up. So think of your playing partner as a big baby. Let?s face it, that?s not too hard considering he?s gone beetroot red and is dribbling. Don?t bother consoling him and don?t leave him alone to stew. ?Acknowledge the shot but don?t go on about it,? says Dr Higham. ?Then quickly start a new conversation that is completely neutral and unrelated to the game of golf.?
So whether it?s football, work or family it doesn?t matter as long as his brain is given the chance to think about something else and forget that he?s plugged himself into the bunker up ahead.