One Shot at a Time: Applying COVID-19 Grit for Better Golf

golf ball and golf club

The novel coronavirus, and the disease caused by it, COVID-19, is something that has disrupted the lives and livelihoods of people the world over. Millions have suffered the physical symptoms of the virus, with many lives tragically lost. Countless more individuals have suffered the financial, mental, and emotional side effects of COVID-19 through the loss of employment, isolation from friends and family, and anxiousness about the future. Learning and working from home has become the new normal for families around the world. How we handle the stresses associated with such a lifestyle change can either build or erode the family structures in our society. Although it may seem completely unrelated, the mindset necessary to survive this global pandemic can help us thrive on the golf course.

One shot at a time is one of the oldest clichés in the game of golf. We will inevitably hear this phrase in reply when an interviewer or golf writer asks a tour pro how he or she will handle the final round pressure of a golf tournament. The player will say that they will “stick to their game plan, be patient, stay in the moment, and play one shot at a time.” Although it is a commonplace response in media rooms on the PGA Tour, the grit required to succeed in tournament golf at the highest level is something that can be learned and applied from our daily lives during this pandemic.

The ability to take one day at a time during COVID-19 is similar to playing one shot at a time on the golf course. In golf, we are presented with a series of isolated shots throughout the round. Each shot is a separate event, that deserves our full attention, focus, and commitment. After we play the shot, we learn from what happened, accept the results, and move on the next shot. Our daily lives during COVID-19 provide us with an opportunity to develop the resolve necessary to handle these challenges faced on the course. Patience, discipline, and acceptance are all character traits that can be learned and developed during these difficult times and applied on the golf course.

All we have is today. As the saying goes, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present. We have the choice to view our present as an opportunity to build the character necessary for success in golf and life to play one shot at a time and enjoy one day at a time.


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