Don’t be afraid to ask for help when your game needs it

See something. Say something.

Maybe you’ve seen those words on a poster in your workplace or in an airport. But they could apply to the golf course, too.

No, I’m not suggesting that we need to be worried about violence in our great game, although a string of bad shots can bring out the worst in anyone.

Rather, I’m proposing an approach that can make the game more fun for everyone, a spirit of we’re-all-in-this-together that should make us all want to play more golf.

I’ve seen too many golfers who keep making the same swing mistakes over and over and are too proud or too bashful – one of the two – to ask for help.

Assistance is inappropriate if they’re in a competition, of course. But most rounds of golf aren’t like that. Most rounds are or should be like carefree strolls in the park with three of our closest friends. This game is just too much fun for it to be anything less.

But we all want to play well, and that’s where the camaraderie sometimes can turn into contentiousness.

Have you ever been in a group where one player was having a bad day and basically took it out on everyone else? It wasn’t fun, was it?

Were you ever that player? You probably didn’t go home that night and say, “I’m so proud of the way I acted out there!” Instead, you might have decided that you were going to take a few months off … or, worse, a few years off. “It just frustrates me too much,” you’d rationalize.

I’m advocating a different approach: I wish more golfers would ask for help, and I wish more golfers would be willing to offer it when asked.

Here was my recent experience:

I have been playing as badly as I ever have in my life. You name it, I’ve been doing it – horrible hooks, pathetic pushes and shocking shanks, then even more bumbling chips and putts once I finally got to the green.

I went from a player who hoped to break 80 to one who hoped to break 100.

I stopped counting my score by how many I was over par and instead had trouble counting up all those 7s and snowmen.

It was embarrassing, frustrating, debilitating, you name it.

I knew I was doing some basic things wrong beyond my tendency to swing too fast, but I couldn’t figure out on my own what they were. So I asked my playing partners for help.

And one of them, bless his heart, saw it right away: I wasn’t turning my shoulders. I wasn’t getting any torque.

Within about 15 or 20 balls on the driving range, he fixed me. I took it out to the course and still hit a handful of brutally bad shots, but I started to see progress.

One thing I can always say about golf is that, every time, I can’t wait to get out there. Doesn’t matter if I’ve been playing well or poorly. Doesn’t matter if it’s hot or chilly. It’s just something I love to do, no matter what.

It was that way again today despite so many factors that might have cratered the enthusiasm of someone else – hot day, challenging course that I’d never seen before, a two-week layoff and my aforementioned slump.

But I kept applying that little swing tip that I’d been blessed with, and I saw right away that I was hitting the ball more consistently well. Even when I three-putted twice and missed a 3-footer in the first five holes, I still felt as if it was going to be a good day, score-wise.

And it was. My total was 11 shots better than my previous two rounds. It wasn’t great, but it was a start – all thanks to a swing tip that restored the power and accuracy I had been missing. I’m glad I asked. I’m glad he was willing to take a look.

You’re always going to have challenges on the golf course, and there are lots of different ways to deal with them. But I like mine.

See something. Say something.

If you’re gasping for solutions, it might breathe new life into your game.

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