Emotional Rationality

Word: Oxymoron

Definition: Something (such as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements.

EG.: Missed cut, win.
Double, par, eagle.
Year 1: Order of Merit win. Year 2: How do I break par?
Shank, chip-in.
Rd 1: +3 putts gained. Rd 2: -4 putts gained.
80s followed by 63s.
Starting with a 9 then having your first hole in one a day later.
-4 through 7, +8 through 36.

See further: Golf

In the last few weeks I’ve had some people ask me why I write my blogs, and each time I’ve struggled to put it into words (ironic I know). In some ways though, maybe that’s the part that does make sense. My blogs are usually me trying to make sense of golf… to make sense of a game that more often than not, doesn’t make any. To try and find the words to explain this path we all stumble down with varying degrees of blindness.

I think it’s the speed at which you can go through those degrees that make golf so utterly frustrating, demoralising, compelling and exciting in equal measure. Here’s a little timeline for you…

2018 – Up and down. Won. Missed cuts. Learnt a lot

Jan 2019 – Went to Abu Dhabi to practice. Everything felt amazing. Thought I was going to win every tournament

Jan 2019 – Played Abu Dhabi LET tournament. Shot 75 78. Only made the cut because there was no cut. Cried a bit at how it could be so good one week and so not good as soon as a tournament started. Thought good practice was never going to translate into a good tournament for the rest of my life. Felt lost

Feb 2019 – Went to Australia. Had an incredible 10 days of practice. Fell in love with 13th Beach, home of the Vic Open. Hit it longer off the tee than I ever thought I could. Hit some 3 irons that made me feel like Tiger. So excited I got a 2 iron. Tried not to get ahead of myself, but had a feeling something amazing was on its way

7th Feb 2019 – Started first round of Vic Open with 4 birdies in 7 holes. Thought I’d cracked this ‘golf’ shit. Couldn’t see how it could ever be anything other than simple

7th Feb 2019 – Made a few bogies, was a bit unlucky, ended up with an averagely decent first round. Still felt like I had the world figured out

8th Feb 2019 – Felt off from the word go in the 2nd round. Made bogies, lots of them. Made a triple. Wondered how I could ever feel good at golf. Shot 80

8th Feb 2019 – Cried. Quite a lot, for me

9th Feb 2019 – Tried to be rational. But still fragile. Thought through lots of things. Decided it was ok to be emotional, because it meant I cared, which meant I’d keep looking for the solutions, for the ways to go forward. To uncomplicate the complications. Realised I was still the same player when I felt amazing as when I was making triples. (Rocket science stuff).

14th-17th Feb 2019 – Played Australian Open at the Grange. Played great, felt great.. felt at ease. Then had a 9 to start the 3rd round. Remembered I was still the same player. Had seven birdies after my 9. Shot +1 and felt like I’d run 6 marathons in one day with the world’s nuclear codes in my possession. Had no bogies and a hole-in-one in round 4. Laughed at how I ended up in this sport.

…And that’s just a snapshot. The emotions don’t always run so extreme, but golf is an endless cycle of questions and answers. Of thinking you’ve figured something out, having it thrown back in your face, and then having the strength of mind to know when to look deeper and when to keep trusting.

Not everyone will take it emotionally (pretty sure DJ doesn’t so maybe I’m looking at things the wrong way), not everyone will be attached to the outcome or the process; nor will the same things affect you in year 1 as they do in year 3 or year 15. But that doesn’t mean you’re doing the wrong thing in each moment. Let yourself feel, if you need to. But know when to put rationality above emotion. Know when your 80 wasn’t because you’re destined to never be good enough, but because of two or three moments that could have been a different bounce, or a lip-in, or a gust of wind… that produce a 63 on a different day. But also know when your 80 was because you short sided yourself too often on greens where Mickelson couldn’t make it work. Know when your 7 shot difference in putting wasn’t because you’re destined to always be inconsistent, but because you didn’t chip as well so all your 8 footers were for birdie rather than par. But also know when your 7 shot difference in putting was because on day one your issues in pace were masked by the fact you kept hitting the hole. Know that things aren’t black and white.

Looking for solutions doesn’t always provide the answers. But knowing you’ve looked, and feeling confident that you’ve looked rationally, might make all the difference. Even if you don’t know when.

About megmaclaren

24, English professional golfer and FIU graduate. "Treat people as though they are who they ought to be and you'll help them become what they are capable of being"
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4 Responses to Emotional Rationality

  1. mary maclaren says:

    Don’t like hearing that you’ve cried – you are as good as anyone i saw on that driving range in Oz, if not better, and you deserve to be at the top of the pile. Keep believing, trusting and holing those putts x

  2. Virgil Mincy says:

    Oxymoron: (Maybe) “trying to make sense of a game that does not make sense.” Within your fine printed work, you rather hit the nail on the head a couple of times: Drive it farther and hit it close to the hole. How? Just like you do it during a fine practice session. Perhaps you have not found the balance between intense practice and calling it a day; after all, you are not on the Senior Tour, yet.

    Sir Nick, Singh, Hogan, among others, were fanatics with practice. All the time. Others are successful…with less effort. Find your balance. You have shown this year you are capable of beating three-fourths of the world. If you do not hit it during a round as you do in practice…maybe practice even more. If you do, and do not have success…it is course management. You will figure it out; sometimes, it just takes time.

    Maybe don’t over think it. Maybe next month, give us an essay on the lovely beaches in Australia.

  3. xbox155 says:

    Problem shared problem halved 👍 good read and confidence is the key #Always

  4. Steve says:

    Hey Meghan,

    Lovely, searingly honest post. I watched you at 13th Beach. You’re a great golfer and an even better person. It’s all gonna be fine. Which I’m sure you already know.

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