My battle with bipolar golf
By Matt Stansfield
When we as golfers first hear someone describe their round by saying, “I played a little bipolar golf today,” we generally associate that with the ups and downs we all experience during a typical round of golf. It’s common expression that for others has a different meaning altogether having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I played round-after-round of what people refer to as “bipolar golf,” but I didn’t know until recently that the ups and downs I was experiencing mentally on the golf course were actually caused due to my being bipolar. It was a diagnosis that came recently, but it gave me an opportunity to look back on my golf career and see where the challenges I’ve faced mentally on the golf course would be looked upon differently. In the moment, I had blamed it on whatever negative event that was happening in my life at the time and tried to brush it off in order to prevent myself from letting my round spiral out of control. I didn’t realize that I needed to go through the necessary treatment to put me in a position to regain my mental focus both on the range and on the course.
A Google search of ‘golfers and bipolar disorder’ will give you hundreds of success stories of golfers who have been able to overcome their bipolar disorder and achieve their golfing goals whatever they were for each respective individual. After reading a number of them, I started to see how valuable a tool these stories are not only to people that are suffering from bipolar disorder but for every golfer that’s struggling with the mental side of their game.
Golfers need to have the ability to shift their focus during a round. They do this by maintaining their routine on every shot and while visualizing every aspect of their shots. It helps to visualize how’s the wind going to change the flight of this ball, how’s the lie going to change the trajectory, how’s the slope going to change the yardage of the shot, etc. If you start putting this into practice on the range, you may be surprised when you take that same approach onto the course.
It may give a whole new meaning to describing your round by saying, “I played a little bipolar golf today” as the tools discussed in these stories could be what’s needed within your own game to take it to the next level.