The Art of Patience

Stay patient.

So simple.

Why is it so difficult sometimes?

I’ve struggled staying patient on the course at times. In my previous blog entry I wrote about how patience was taken over by frustration in our first round of the Calgary Golf Association’s Riley’s Best Ball event, which knocked us to the consolation side.

Since then we’ve mustered up a couple wins and found ourselves in the consolation quarter-final match last night on the Hawk course at Priddis Greens G&CC. It has taken me a while to implement relentless patience this season, but I have started to find some recently.

The momentum swings in golf, particularly match play, make patience paramount. Unless you’re Tiger playing Stephen Ames, momentum will rarely remain one-sided. You just have to stay the course and not exhaust your energy with worry and frustration when momentum isn’t on your side.

Our quarter-final match last night was a superb example of momentum swings. We got off to a great start and carried all of the momentum through 8 holes, and here is how it went after that:

4 UP          thru 8
3 UP          thru 9
2 UP          thru 10
2 UP          thru 11
1 UP          thru 12
2 UP          thru 13
1 UP          thru 14
AS             thru 15
1 DOWN  thru 16

We had momentum for almost the entire first half of the round. We didn’t lose a hole. We won four of them. Then we found ourselves headed to the 17th hole 1-DOWN, having just lost 3 holes in a row to surrender our lead for the first time all day. In a way, I almost got a kick out of it this time. Rather than resort to worry or frustration, I managed to embrace and enjoy how crazy the swings were in this match. We were all playing some good golf and it was fun to be a part of.

On the 17th, one of our opponents stepped up and hit a solid shot on the 228 yard par-3 to 15 feet. We both missed the green after my shot landed on and trickled over the back into the rough. It felt close to game over, but I remained calm and patient. I was not willing to give up, but I was willing to accept any end result which, in a way, took results off my mind. I just focused on the next shot at hand which was the only thing I could control at that point.

Then, I chipped in for birdie. They missed their birdie putt — back to all square. We won the 18th with par after they got into some trouble off the tee, to win the match and advance to the semi-finals.

Moral of the story — you never know when momentum will flip. It can happen suddenly and unexpectedly and sometimes you can’t control it. Stay patient.

Priddis Greens Hawk #12
A beautiful night for a match at Priddis Greens – Hawk #12 pictured

Happy golfing!



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6 thoughts on “The Art of Patience

  1. Josh, great job and how frustrating for your opponents! Your patience certainly paid off. I think simply preparing well, having confidence in your ability, and not trying too hard to control the outcome is a sensible approach. If you do all three, you’ll win your share. But a healthy respect for the opposition, especially in stroke play events is needed. Golf is a weird game where the best lose more often than they win, especially at stroke play. If you can immerse in the process, you’ll be more at peace. I have found some recent patience as well, especially when getting off to a bad start. The key is to keep telling yourself there’s plenty of holes left. If it’s a match and you lose, so what. Just tell yourself you’re a good player and you simply ran out of holes. Nothing demoralizing about that.



    1. Hey Brian,

      You’re exactly right! A lot of good and bad things are going to happen to everyone on the course throughout the course of a season, or even round. The only shame is giving up. Learning to accept any end result has definitely helped with the patience. Glad you’re finding some as well.


    1. Hey Jim,

      Thanks a lot! It was a fun match, the win was just a bonus. Looking forward to the semis.


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