Thoughtful Thursday: The Attitude of Gratitude

After a long winter, the rest of the UK can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that Scottish golfers have been fortunate enough to enjoy of late.

As those of us north of the border can confirm, that light is not a train coming from the other direction and heading straight for us.
Golf will at long last be able to resume and that is something we should be grateful for. Just to get out and hit a golf ball is something the majority of golfers, myself included have taken for granted at times for way too long. The only thing stopping us in the past having been prior commitments, ill health or bad weather.

Why golf has been off limits for so long is beyond me. Even if your favourite fourball tried to hit their shots within two metres of each other, in all probability, that simply would not happen!

Anyway, personal opinions aside, we have so much to look forward to in 2021. Playing golf again being high on many priority lists.
Will the opportunity to play golf be enough to satisfy the golfers among us or do we all want more? Yes it would be great to shoot lower scores, reduce handicaps and win competitions but just getting out there could and perhaps should be enough.

If I had £5 for every time I have heard or read “I just want to play golf again”, I would be planning my retirement to a Mediterranean island. I do wonder however if being grateful for the ability to play golf again is what we really want and if it is, how long will our gratitude last.

How long will it be before golfers around the world start complaining about course conditions, pace of play and pitch marks not being repaired? 
Rather than moan about it, accept and appreciate that preparing a golf course takes good growing conditions and a lot of hard work. Accept that if everyone played a little bit quicker we would all enjoy our golf a bit more. Make a commitment to pick up the pace a bit on the course and encourage your playing companions to do likewise. Don’t complain about ignored pitch marks, my pet hate, just fix your own and one more.
I find it astonishing that the people who complain most vociferously about bumpy greens probably don’t even own a pitch fork, never mind know how to use one.

Be grateful that you are no longer in total lockdown. Be thankful that at long last you can get out the house to get some exercise in the serene surroundings of a golf course.

I’m not suggesting for a second that you shouldn’t care about how you play or what you score but please do not lose sight of the fact that playing golf is a privilege not to be undervalued.

Looking forward to something has no real meaning or value if you don’t actually appreciate the moment you have been anticipating for so long.
Adopting “an attitude of gratitude” not just on the golf course but in our daily lives can have such a positive impact on the way we see and experience pretty much everything.

Gratitude is essentially the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
We have all been taught to be kind to others but we are rarely kind to ourselves when it comes to playing golf. When was the last time you patted yourself on the back after a good shot? Long time ago.

When was the last time you called yourself a useless (insert your own insult here) on the golf course? Probably the last time you played!
The concept of gratitude is nothing new but I do know it is known to increase happiness. If increased happiness isn’t enough for you, it can reduce a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.

After much deliberation, Karl Morris and I decided to open our second book “The Lost Art Of Playing Golf”, with an entire chapter on gratitude and the feedback we have received would suggest it was a wise move.

When you next play golf, before you even get out of your car on arrival at the golf club, take a moment to ask yourself “What am I grateful for today?”

Only you will know the answer or answers to that question but what I do know is that such a simple question can have a profound effect on your golf and general well being.

Until next time, play well, have fun and be grateful for the opportunity to play the greatest game of all.