Be better, not bitter.

GGA Mental Game Coach

The key to accessing your highest potential on the golf course is to cultivate a mindset that is built and nurtured far away from the course itself.

Bart Barnard is one of the fine master-instructors at Graves Golf Academy. If you’ve ever had a chance to work with Bart – either at a GGA school, in the video coaching program or near his home at the GGA training facility at The Legacy Resort in Phoenix – you know that Bart is smart, conscientious, attentive, observant, and a very skilled golf coach and teacher.

Just another example of the terrific people Todd and Tim Graves has brought to the GGA staff over the years.

Bart came to me a little over a year ago and expressed that he was interested in collaborating together in a coach-client partnership. So we put a plan together and began working on Bart’s most important initiatives.

If you attended the Alumni 5-Day Camp in Orlando in April, on the last day of the camp, you heard Bart speak about what he experienced while working on himself over the prior year. And if you weren’t there…that’s ok…cause I want to tell you about the message Bart had for all of us about the secret to taking on nearly any performance endeavor.

In addition to the qualities I mentioned above, Bart is a thinker. And he has thought a lot about the insights he gained over the prior year…as well as his own personal and professional growth. And he expressed those insights at the alumni camp in April in one sentence:

“Be better, not bitter.”

Bart explained that he noticed that any time he showed up anywhere with negative energy…any time he experienced negative emotions like frustration, anger, anxiousness, worry…etc. …that there seemed to be an underlying negative thought process which he was experiencing as bitterness.

Not the kind of bitterness that creates a 24-7 grumpy guy, mad at the world…etc. (Although I bet you know one of those guys!) But rather, the kind of bitterness that takes away from the sweetness of life at any moment.

Bart learned that he would much rather let the experiences in his past make him better, and not create bitterness 
within him.

Now, let’s face it. We’ve all been there. On the golf course, or off. (OK…especially off!!) We’ve all experienced frustration, anger, anxiety…etc.

But in holding this maxim – Be better, not bitter –  Bart reminds himself (and all of us) that we have a choice about how we show up in any moment. And that the bold, productive, BEST choice is to commit to being BETTER

Being a better co-worker, a better spouse, a better teammate, a better playing partner on the golf course…just BETTER. It means something slightly different to everyone…but we all know what BETTER looks like.

And it’s a much more pleasant way to move through life.

If you want to build a successful mental game on the course, you must know how to do it elsewhere. Being Better in every facet of your life will help you to:

  • See things from a new perspective
  • Focus on others, and not just your own neediness
  • Soften the need to be right, to win, or to NOT lose
  • Build the resilience necessary to recover from setbacks
  • Bring a sense of confidence, calm and peacefulness to your experiences…which will allow you to tap into your genius, your creativity, and all your skills and abilities so that you can BE YOUR BEST…and perhaps even PLAY your best.

Focus this week on Being better, not bitter…as you prepare to play next weekend. See what a commitment to being BETTER this week can do for your mental game on the course next weekend. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!


Paul Monahan, PCC is a Peak-Performance coach, member of the International Coach Federation and a certified COR.E Performance Dynamics Specialist. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife Paula and is the proud dad to three young men. He works with elite-level performers and leaders, helping them to expand their awareness so that they perform at their best more consistently.


He can be reached at

Paul Monahan

Paul Monahan

Paul Monahan is an International Coach Federation (ICF) - credentialed coach working in the arena of human potential. Paul’s clients are leaders, executives, athletes and musicians who are serious about transforming how they perform in critical moments. His experiences in leadership and development over a highly-successful 25-year corporate career have created powerful context and understanding for the leaders and executives he coaches. Additionally, his passions and experiences in sports and music have uniquely positioned Paul to profoundly impact his clients in those areas as well.

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