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I used to think that I would play better when I played alone. Less distractions, more focus. But, I realized that without playing partners, the game is really a completely different one. So the better score would really be a score of a different game. I mean, how many tournaments group players one per hole? This isn't to say that playing alone doesn't have its place. I think it's a perfect opportunity to practice shots, discs, take 2-3 putts, etc. But when playing alone, I have decided that there really is no score, at least not relative to any other round with fellow golfers present -- apples and oranges.

The influence of the social dynamic on performance is complex and fascinating. We have all been part of a group that has undeniable mojo, ace runs everywhere, putts falling, laughs, flow etc. And on the other hand, we have been a part of a group where the elements clash -- too much talking, etiquette totally disregarded, poor play. And of course, there is no right way to play; people can do what they want ( to an extent ), but personally speaking my best scores come when the game is the primary source of energy. Concentration comes and goes as players need it to, and there is a respect for the inidividual styles at hand.

My goal is to play well no matter who I am playing with. There is only a distraction if I let there be one. At the same time, I do believe that it is the responsibility of each player to inform players of their needs, and recently, I have been working on this. For example, if players are talking while someone is teeing off, I'll point or gesture to the tee. If I am on the tee, I will not drive until everyone is quiet. When it matters, when it effects your game, why not let others know? Is that disrepectful?

There's a fine line between having fun and just smiling along with everyone while inside you are really being put off by social dynamics. I don't know. It's tough to say. But I will say, that as I play the game more, I come to see that each golfer has his own process, and that this process is directly linked to their success on the course. I come to the course ready to respect each golfer's process and I would hope for the same from others.

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Comment by Daygamer on March 12, 2008 at 7:21pm
But the back of my hat says "Shut up and Throw!" Ha, ha. Sometimes we have to remind folks that we are playing disc golf and it's their turn. We have a couple of sister-in-laws who only catch up on the disc course.

The difference is we're playing in a disc golf meetup so it's less than competitive. I feel your pain though.
Comment by Matt B. on March 12, 2008 at 12:57am
Well said and great points!

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