“Please Wait Here” … “Expect Delays” … “Wait time from this point: 90 minutes” …
No one likes waiting. In our busy society it seems that the dictionary is the only place where the 1 letter difference between waiting and wasting means anything.
We live in a society of instant gratification. We want our stores open 24/7 so we can get the things we want when we want. We even pay for them on credit cards so we don’t have to wait until we’ve earned the money to pay.
But waiting isn’t all bad. Sure, waiting can be annoying, uncomfortable, even unpleasant. But we can also make waiting a reflective or refreshing time.
Suppose you’re sitting in a hospital room, waiting for a doctor to come visit with you or a loved one. I’m waiting for a doctor to come visit my son as I write the first draft of this post [he is okay -- it is just asthma aggravated by a cold]. But while we wait, he is colouring, I am writing and we’re also talking, laughing and spending time together. These waiting times can be times of healing, reminiscing and fellowship.
Waiting in an airport Arrivals Lounge can be a time of anticipation. Anticipation of welcome, reunion or even reconciliation.
But what about during a round of golf — what value is there in waiting on the tee while the group ahead spends too much time looking for a lost ball? Or lining up putts that they’ll never make anyway?
Waiting for a slow playing group or a bottlenecked par 3 can be very frustrating. It can rob your momentum (which isn’t always a bad thing 8=). Your muscles cool down. You lose your concentration. The delay can even cause stress, which we all know is the enemy a smooth swing.
So what can we do? How do we cope with waiting in a way that can help turn this into a positive thing for our game?
Here are 8 things that I’ve learned over the years that help me to keep positive and loose while waiting. Just remember to be courteous to others who may be preparing to finally tee off or those finishing up their putts on the previous green.
1 – Plan Ahead
Anticipate that there will be delays in your round. Unless you are lucky enough to get out very early, there is a good chance that a slow playing group will be somewhere up ahead. This will cause a ripple effect through the rest of the day, especially if the course crams as many foursomes as possible onto the course.
If there is a tournament then you can expect delays. You’ll also find that most courses have at least 1 par 3 that becomes a bottleneck on busy days.
If you know that there is a possibility of delay then you can plan for it and expect it. You’ll also have a chance of being pleasantly surprised if the delays don’t materialize. Either way, there is less negativity in your round.
2 – Snack and Hydrate
Keeping your energy and fluid levels up is a good idea when playing. Delays provide an excellent opportunity to get a little nibble or drink without being rushed.
Just remember to choose your snacks and libations wisely so that you don’t mess up your energy levels.
3 – Potty Break
Your out on the course for at least 3 hours (more likely 4 to 5) when you’re playing 18 holes of golf. At some point you’ll need to go to the washroom. If there happens to be a comfort station near by when you run into a delay, use it.
Even if you don’t feel like there is an urgent need, it is better to empty a half full tank than to have to deal with a full one in the middle of the 14th fairway (or rough if you play like I do) with no relief in sight.
4 – Get Out of the Sun
On a hot and sunny day, it is good to get out of the sun while you’re waiting. The sun can overheat your body and sap your energy — not to mention what it can do to your skin.
Find a patch of shade to wait in and keep your cool.
5 – Practice
Provided there is enough room around the tee area, you can practice. Practice your full swing by picking the heads off of weeds. Chip or pitch to a target such as the ball washer (you can even make a game out of this).
If there is no one close behind you then you can even roll a few practice putts on the green. Just be aware of Rule 7-2 and any local rules that prohibit practice strokes during a round if you are playing in a tournament.
6 – Relax
Since you are delayed, why not spend the time to relax and refresh yourself. Playing 18 holes of golf can be grueling, especially if you’re walking (which you should be).
Sit a bit or lay down in some cool grass. Do some breathing exercises. Stretch to keep loose and ready to “Be da Man!” when you finally get to the tee.
7 – Chit Chat
Take some time to talk to the others in your foursome, especially if you’re golfing with strangers. Remember, they’re just friends you haven’t met yet. Talk to the other groups that are waiting if the bottleneck is especially bad.
Just make sure to keep it light. You don’t want to start a gripe fest with all the negativity that brings. Your goal here is to relax and be positive.
8 – Visualize
Visualization is a powerful technique that allows you to prepare your mind and body for the shots that you want to make. Use the extra time to imagine how you will play the upcoming holes.
Feel the swing of the club, the contact. Hear it. See the ball flight.
When it is your turn to play the positive images in your memory will help guide your shot. Well, that’s the theory!
Where to from Here?
Well, these are some of the ways that I’ve found to keep delays from being disruptive during a round. I hope that they are helpful for you.
But I’m sure you all have some experience to share. So let us know — how do you combat The Waiting Game?
Image based on Traffic Jam by jzlomek at stock.xchng