For all the negativity that passes through the average golfing brain, there are statements that can cheer even the most downhearted golfer. Here’s a selection.

Golf is one of the most mentally straining activities ever undertaken voluntarily. It’s an emotional roller coaster with more ups and downs than Hermann Maier on a day out at a dry ski slope. Many of the things that happen to the average golfer while on course elicit similar sensations to being punched in the stomach by a Klitschko. Just once in a while though, a few well welcome words can lighten the mood considerably. Here we consider a selection of the short statements that can turn a golfer’s mood from despondency to something approaching chirpiness.

“That’s good”

The concession

The concession

You’ve rolled a birdie effort to within 18-inches of the cup and the way you’re feeling, you know it’s highly miss-able. Your opponent calmly strums his par putt in from five-feet out. He looks at your marker for a moment or two and you can actually feel the sweat trickling down your back. You start to move very slowly towards the marker with your ball in hand, arm outstretched. The speed of your movement and the bead on your forehead tells the story. Just as you’re about to bend down, the words come: “That’s good.” … “Thanks” you say calmly and then try to reason internally that you had it covered, even though you know there was about a 70% chance you would have whiffed it…. Oh the relief.

“You’re still in”

Out of bounds: A harsh penalty?

Out of bounds

You’ve carved one so far right that it’s heading for a different postcode. There’s no point in watching the end of its flight as it’s destined for a point so far out of bounds that it doesn’t appear on modern maps. You’re rooting in your bag for a “provisional” when you’re playing partner halts you in your tracks. “You’re still in.” What?

After you had turned away your ball struck a lorry on a dual carriageway two fields over and rebounded towards the course. Halfway back, with energy fading, it was caught on a freak geyser eruption and propelled back within the bounds of the course. Well, you make your own luck.

“It’s non-counting”

Golf in the rain

Golf in the rain

You’ve fought round for four hours in the Saturday Medal, battling pouring rain and driving winds. You’d held your own until the conditions finally got the better of you over the last few holes and you’re now destined to get nothing for your heroic efforts, save 0.1 on your handicap. As you drag your soaking, ruined body into the locker room you catch a few words from the showers – “It’s non-counting.” Hallejujah and praise be to Old Tom Morris!

“You had a shot there

You walk off the green having missed a four-footer for what you believed to be a half. When you announce the score on the next tee your opponent believes it to be one better in your favour. After a bit of investigative work the truth comes out about the previous hole, “You had a shot there.”

“I’ll pick you up”

Get the beers in

Get the beers in

You’re off for a full day’s golfing with friends. It’s going to be great – 36 holes at a top course and your significant other is away, giving you a completely free pass. The only problem is, how are you going to fully enjoy yourself without a few bevvies pre, between and post rounds? You’re considering bus routes, taxis even a very long walk and then the call comes in, “I’ll pick you up.” Yes, it truly is a beautiful life.

“Your honour”

When else are you going to hear these words unless you’re very high powered or you’ve done something a bit silly? There’s just something about your playing partner or opponent saying anything this deferential that gives you a warm glow.

“Here it is”

Lost ball

You’ve been trudging around in knee-high bund for 4 mins and 20 seconds and, feeling utterly deflated, you’re deciding whether to take the walk of shame back to the tee or to tell your partner to write those two most hateful letters down on your score card. Then, from the other side of a gorse bush you hear that most welcome announcement, “Here it is.” … “Hi, yes is that Dignitas? Yes, I just wanted to cancel, no let’s not get carried away, postpone my appointment.”

“I’ve picked up”

You reach your ball at the greenside and it’s in a distinctly minty situation on the back edge of a bunker, in a horribly sandy lie. You’re suffering palpitations at the prospect of the next shot and are considering putting away backwards just to avoid taking it on. Meanwhile your opponent is out of sight down a slope, possibly in a bunker himself. After sometime he emerges, ball in hand. “I’ve picked up – it’s your hole.” … “Oh bad luck.”

Bunker shot technique video:

“It’s a free drop”

Free drop

Free drop

You’re under a small tree with no chance of getting a full shot at it. In fact, you’ll need to pull off a display of contortionism just to chip out sideways. But wait, what’s that stuck to the other side of the young trunk? Oh could it, yes could it just possibly be? A stake, oh man it’s a stake that I see, and that stake must mean that my drop will be free!

“The course is open”

For all the heartache and suffering that the game causes, most golfers are eternal optimists. They truly believe that their next game might be different; it could be the one. But with rain lashing down all through the night, surely the course will be closed; ‘I’m going to be denied my chance to post the round of my life.’ At 8am a tentative phone call goes into the pro shop… ‘Is it, I don’t suppose it’s?’ Yes, “the course is open.”