My first game of golf taught me a lot but more than anything else it taught me I suck at golf.

How embarrassed are you prepared to be?
How many times are you willing to be the loser?
How much frustration can you take?
Is your ego able to handle this?

If you want to be great at something, first you must suck.

Last week I picked up a golf club for the very first time and it became immediately obvious I needed to re-evaluate my expectations. No matter how hard I tried (and invariably, the harder I tried the worse I got) I never managed to get the ball to lift off the grass.

I was surrounded by other Golf virgins and as a group we were as competitive as they come – in hindsight not a good combination. We were all remarkably terrible and in our terrible bunch I was the worst.

I don’t DO being the worst. At anything. But I was, so I reacted as any healthy adult does. I sulked like a toddler.

To be fair my fellow player’s response to sucking wasn’t much better.

We had the ‘blame it on the club’ golfer, the ‘miscounting the score’ golfer (also known as a cheat and not a very sly one) and the angry, stressy golfer.

The first hole took us 25 minutes to play and by hole 6 I was beyond done with the entire thing, not to mention hangry.

I was frustrated by my apparent incompetence. I was angry that I wasn’t getting any better. I was embarrassed by my complete inability to pick up a game that looks so simple. It wasn’t that I expected to be great immediately but I didn’t expect to feel so… petulant.

If you want to be great at something, first you must suck.

Not the respectable sucking of being nearly perfect but the embarrassing, loser like feeling you get when you’re just plain bad at something because it’s completely new.

No-one gets to bypass the mistakes that teach us to get better and if you’re unwilling to allow people to witness you at your lowly starting point you’ll stay exactly where you are and never reach the levels you aspire to.

So, if there’s no avoiding it and you know you’re going to suck, what can you do about it?

Get over yourself and get better.


At first you’ll suck but then you’ll succeed and start teaching other people to suck less.


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