Colorado Golf News
What is it about expectations?
By Kathleen Heiney
Class A LPGA Professional
Certified Yoga Instructor
How often have you played a round with no expectations, no goals, just an intention of enjoying yourself? I can think of a handful. What is it about the first round of the season that often feels like the best? You walk away with this idea of it can only get better from here. You raise the bar, the goals and more importantly your expectations of what the season “should” look like.
What is it about expectations that often times set us up for failure? The definition is a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. The key word here is future. We set ourselves up for disappointment, in a sense by stepping into the future. Expectations, to a certain degree motivate us, however half way through a round we start to lose motivation because our round is not necessarily going as “planned”. Once this happens we start to get frustrated and enter that space of negativity and self-doubt.
Intention is a different way to approach the game, however it is challenging. When intention is our mode of operation, during a round, we give up the idea that our past dictates our future. Let’s go back to the first round of the season. We aren’t in a place of looking at the past or future rounds because it hasn’t happened, we are in the present. The idea is we haven’t had an opportunity to play enough to compare to another round. Why then do we set expectations and raise the bar as we play more? Why can’t we be more present or intentional each round?
Golf is not a game of perfect, as Bob Rotella would tell you, and no round is ever the same. Why then do we put these expectations on ourselves to play or perform the same all the time? Because the industry itself, I believe, has set us up for disappointment. We read all these articles on quick fixes, tips, new equipment and watch these professionals play exceptional golf and think we “should” be able to do so as well. We place unrealistic expectations on ourselves rather than placing importance on being present and doing the best you can, in the moment with what you have. In other words, when we play with intention, commitment and purpose one shot at a time it keeps us from thinking too much into the future.
Intentional golf is a mode of operation that can teach us to live and play more in the present. The beautiful thing about golf is that every shot, every hole and every swing you get the opportunity to start fresh. Letting go of what happened prior and letting go of what could happen in the future. The lesson in all of this is golf is the one sport that allows us to practice being present for several hours at a time. What a gift golf can be in our lives, but it is up to us to see this gift of presence, when we do, that is when the round of a lifetime happens.