Jekyll and Hyde
The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been used as a theme by Hollywood and publishing houses alike for many years. Many remakes and new editions of this bestselling theme continue to emerge from time to time. And, quite successfully, I might add. How amusing to see the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll, by day, becomes the villainous Mr. Hyde by night.
Dr. Jekyll had a valid excuse for his transformation. It was the “potion” that caused his personality to twist itself and go astray and emerge completely different from his “normal” self. This potion unleashed a “monster” within. This monster was capable of untold acts of cruelty and malice, bearing absolutely no resemblance to those who knew Dr. Jekyll.
What delighted me, as an audience to this story, was the utter turnaround of personalities, and trying to guess which the real one was…Jekyll or Hyde?
I have unfortunately too often seen this story played out in the most un likely and inappropriate of places: on the playing field of a golf course. How unsuitable for letting a monster free to roam these idyllic landscapes. Truly, much of the most beautiful acreage in this world provides home to a variety of golf courses – hardly the place to allow or witness the worst of our personalities. We do a disservice, not only to ourselves and our golf game, but to any others who have the misfortune of playing with us and have had to pay for the experience, as well!
So, what is your potion? What is the mixture that unleashes the monster in you? A shank? Or perhaps an OB on the first tee? That missed short putt for birdie to win the hole or match? There are literally hundreds of possibilities to concoct our “potion”… that moment we dissolve our self-control and where rational behavior is no longer with us.
The potion can never be an excuse for a golfer to “lose it.” Even the best have known the frustration and disappointment that usually accompanies a round of golf. To become the best that you can be, these moments must be taken in stride. Loss of self-control and the resultant temper tantrums have no place on a golf course. Golf is a game of self-management as well as course management.
So, what is it that causes a person who may seem to be mild-mannered and in control one moment to become “Mr. Hyde,” the monster, the next?
There can be thousands of reasons, but immaturity ranks the highest on my list. It just doesn’t matter what you are feeling when a loss of self-control takes the honors. No one else cares, and no one wants to witness such behavior. Remember, nobody has the right to ruin someone else’s time on a golf course.
Rarely have I seen an improvement in someone’s game after dumping a load of emotional garbage on the playing field. That debris only lingers and litters, and makes playing conditions even more difficult!
The game of golf, in a way, is a sort of “performance.” We enter upon the stage – the golf course – and
try each time to give a command performance, the best of our best. But, therein lies the rub, for even the best of
the best can’t do that. Those who expect this type of exceptional performance as a given are continually disappointed.
Professionals prepare to perform well. They, the great ones, are over-prepared, so that an average performance is still a really good one. Prepare to give 120 percent, and 80 percent will still be quite exceptional.
The audience of most players is just a few friends or acquaintances. Most don’t really care how well you
perform, for they are busy attending to their own games. But, almost all will remember if they had an enjoyable time playing with you. Much of the joy of golf for me is the time “in the country,” so to speak, and the enjoyment of friendship and camaraderie.
The golf course has become a dismal workplace for many, with little joy and excitement, continually tainted by clouds of disappointment, because we never achieve that level to which we feel some divine entitlement. Without the ups and downs and the unexpected, golf really wouldn’t be the game that it is – a ladies’ and gentleman’s game. A game of life itself.
As Bobby Jones so eloquently stated, “The reward goes to the player who plods along unruffled and unexcited, refusing to become angry with himself or the results of his efforts.”
So, don ’t let your potion poison you while playing. Rather, look around you, smile a little, and maybe laugh a little at the scenarios that golf deals us. Let the scent of the flowers and trees be your “potion.”