Rolling with the punches

Chris Paisley on managing your own expectations, dips in form, and remembering to enjoy the ride

It has been a tough few months on the golf course. Other than a T10 at the Hero Open and a T33 at the Irish Open, I’ve barely made a cut – although I did finish in a tie for first in the Hexham Pro Am recently!

I have been in slumps like this before and I know I will start shooting better scores soon, but it doesn’t get any easier.

I love my job – you could offer me any other job in the world and I wouldn’t take it. That said, if you have seen me on the course recently, you probably wouldn’t believe it. Golf has a way of making you feel six inches tall when it’s not going well (No short jokes, please).

I take poor form too hard. It really eats at me and can affect my mood away from the golf course. My wife lets me know this, which is annoying at the time, but I am grateful for her input… eventually!

My incredible team and family have the unenviable job of keeping me on an even keel during trying times. I am certainly too hard on myself, but it’s also the reason I always bounce back. If missing four cuts in a row doesn’t bother me, then it’s time to retire.

You need to take emotion out of a situation to see things rationally and the ability to perceive your situation as if you are giving someone else advice is a wonderful skill – things become a lot clearer you can see your way back.

Missing a few cuts is not a big deal, and I am living my dream. My card is secure for next year, so what do I really have to worry about? Nothing.

I don’t expect anyone to sympathise with my little dip in form, I’m just relaying what I go through when things aren’t going well on the course. The top performers are all bothered by bad shots, bad rounds and missed cuts. What they do so well is not letting it affect their confidence or mindset. They adjust the process if needed and keep on pushing.

In golf, you are never as bad as you think – or as good as you think. After I had a great start to 2018, people started asking me about the Ryder Cup and if I had a chance of making the team. Imagine that! Four or five good events and all of a sudden people are talking about a Ryder Cup! I brushed it off at the time, but I was playing so well I felt as though I was going to play like that forever. Of course, I didn’t make the team, but I did prove to myself that I can play golf of that quality. All I need to figure out is how to do it for longer periods.

I couldn’t feel farther away from playing a Ryder Cup right now, but I also know I am a better golfer than I was in 2018. That’s golf, isn’t it? Purely nonsensical!

The lesson is to not get too carried away whether you feel on top of the world or in the gutter. Things will get better, or worse… who knows? You just have to stay in the moment, do your best, enjoy the ride, and see where the game takes you.