Last week I played a quick 9 with a couple of mom friends on a weeknight. In true #momlife fashion, childcare fell through for one of us. The rest of the group thought it would be fun if she just brought him along. We got a cart for him to ride on and she came equipped with plenty of snacks and games to keep him busy while we played. As we could have guessed, this 5-year-old was more intrigued by the course than the things his mom brought to keep him occupied. 

I learned a lot by seeing the golf course through a 5-year-old’s eyes and I think we could all benefit from a mindset shift every now and again. Here are some lessons for the mental game as taught by a 5-year-old…

  • There’s excitement everywhere. He was able to take in the surroundings. He appreciated the sticks that had fallen from the trees. He noticed the different lengths of grass throughout the course. He was fascinated by the water.
    It’s amazing how the world slows down a little bit when we can appreciate the nature around us. This also slows down our minds and gets us out of the go-go-go mindset and removes the pressure of each shot. 
  • Childlike overconfidence is a gift. He was swinging adult-sized clubs at balls randomly (we were the last group of the day for those feeling anxious about the pace of play impact). Each time he’d miss or watch the ball roll three feet, he’d get back over the ball and try again with joy. He never doubted that he’d hit the ball this time so he approached with renewed confidence. What would it be like to see each shot as a new opportunity?
  • Each opportunity to play is a gift. He was so happy to be tagging along. He didn’t care that the moms were focused on golf or that we were being bossy and telling him to get out of the way or to hurry up or not to drag the clubs on the cart path. He was able to feel grateful for the opportunity to join us.
    When you find yourself frustrated, look around and think of how cool and what a privilege it is to be out there…even if you’re more of a hack than usual. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. It’s easy to get frustrated and lose sight of the fact that golf is fun. So when you get frustrated or get in your own head, take some time to channel your inner child and see if that perspective shift changes the tone!

Dr. Chelsi Day

Dr. Day is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is an Ohio native who completed her Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Health and Sport Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio while competing on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team as a diver. She then went on to earn a Master's degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology followed by a Master's degree and later a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH.