Golf and Other 4-Letter Words

One of the quickest and simplest ways to impact your play is with your language. And no, not THAT language!  The brain attaches meaning and emotion to words we use without any conscious effort on our part.  Much like when you don’t know the meaning of a word, you’ll have little or no emotional response other than perhaps confusion. When someone explains the word and you then understand you’ve been insulted you have the corresponding emotional reaction.


Habitual language develops habitual emotions which can both help and hinder your game. If you continually refer to the person you’re competing against as that ‘smartass’ (that’s the PG version) then you’re going to create a negative yet powerful biochemical response running through your body impacting your decision making and physiology.  What if instead, even if he IS a smartass, you referred to him as “my incentive for claiming the top spot” – can you feel the difference? Same smartass – different name, different bodily/biochemical reaction.  Same with the jerk at the club, the moron at the driving range, the ball-and-chain at home.  Everyday words you use to communicate with yourself that are setting up the experience you then have as you program it more deeply in your subconscious mind.

Same with your game!  How you refer to what you’re doing will also create that experience for you because as soon as meaning is attached it becomes the lens you’re then looking out at the world with.  For instance, there are a lot of 4-letter words associated with golf and “work” does not need to be one of them!

The website Dictionary dot com gives this definition of “work”:

[wurk] noun

  1. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil.

Now what part of that do you want to be a part of your golf experience? Are you heading to the range to “work” on your golf swing? Are you “working” on improving your score? Does it feel like all you do is “work” on your short game?  What if instead you were going to “hit balls and pave the way to my success next week” or to “fine tune/have fun with/learn how to direct the ball exactly to my target”?  How does that feel in your body? Is there a weight off your shoulders when you’re using those words to describe your activities? Remember that a better feeling body is going to enhance anything you’re doing with your “golf instrument” (which is a nice, emotionally neutral way of referring to your “clubs”).

Play around (literally and figuratively) with new words to describe what you’re doing.  This quote probably brings it home best:

Golf is a game, and games are meant to be enjoyed.

Raymond Floyd