Meet Mark*: When Mark first came to Maryville he could hardly talk. Instead, he spent most of his time shouting. “Golf has taught me that I have to calm down and control my temper,” says Mark. Mark comes from a troubled background. At the age of seven he was removed from his home due to issues with neglect and abuse. Mark had a hard time expressing his feelings and would act out – often hitting walls, tables and sometimes staff.
“At first, I didn’t have the patience to play golf,” says Mark. “I would swing and miss, swing and miss, swing and miss – getting angrier and more frustrated with every shot. But then something happened. I started actually connecting with the ball. I learned that if I focused on the ball, I could actually hit it,” he says. “In order to succeed, I had to calm down and focus on my goal.”
Mark has applied the principles he learned on the green to other areas of his life. He is less likely to explode in anger when frustrated or hurt. He finds himself actively trying to calm himself down in difficult situations – recognizing that he can only focus on finding a solution to a challenge when he is calm and collected.
When asked what the most important lesson is that he has learned from golf he responded, “I learned that no mistake is permanent unless we give up playing the game. Even with the worst shot – you always have the opportunity to come back and shoot again.”
*Mark is not his real name.