Most of us absolutely love golf and can’t seem to get enough. But have you ever burned out on golf because of too much play or practice? I was last burned out a long time ago. 1986 to be exact. I was working as an assistant club professional and my typical work day started at 6:00 a.m. and ran through 3:00 p.m (Tuesday -Sunday). Every day after work, I’d play with the members until dark, so I was at the course for 13-14 hours. On Monday, my one day off, I spent my day practicing. The over-saturation was suffocating and I was so spent that I hated the game for a period of time.
This week, Phil Mickelson hit the point and withdrew mid-tournament from the BMW Championship siting mental exhaustion. Sergio Garcia skipped the Deutsche Bank Championship to stay fresh, even though it’s the middle leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Martin Kaymer has articulated how difficult it is to play for six consecutive weeks and how he dislikes living on the road for so long.
If top players can skip events because of burnout, and remain in overall contention, you are jeopardizing the integrity of your competition. Imagine a star NFL quarterback skipping a playoff round because he was mentally fatigued – it would never happen. I share The Grateful Golfer’s call for a format change, and to be honest, wouldn’t mind if they eliminated them all together.
The tour has taken it’s lead from the NFL and is attempting to make competitive golf a year-round cash cow. The FedEx Cup transitions smoothly into the overlap schedule which is the start of the following year’s Tour schedule, complete with official money rankings. This time used to be called the “Silly Season” and top pros still regard it as such. Sorry, but my interest level drops after The PGA Championship is contested, and top players pulling out because of burnout should be a warning to the PGA Tour that they’ve exceeded the point of diminishing returns. Their season is too long, they’re cheapening their product, and they need to scale back.
As mentioned, I haven’t been burned out for many years, but occasionally will lose a level of focus and desire. It usually coincides with the start of football season (now) and it’s a sign for me to take a few weeks off – usually until I start to miss the game. That’s exactly where I’m at right now and will taking a break until early October.
Have you ever been truly burned out on golf? If so, how did you handle it?