There are two types of golfers. The first is steady, consistent, and unspectacular, with every round looking much like the last. The other, is the player who scores higher than their ability, every round ruined by one or two bad holes. The extra strokes come at you so fast when you are finished with the hole you can hardly believe what just happened. I think it is fair to say we see more of the second type player at the United States Golf Academy. Their game has potential but the scores don’t show it and they are looking for a solution. Unfortunately, the big score is more often a function of mental errors rather than physical ones. So what happens?
You might start to take the good shots for granted. You are playing well, made a couple of putts and things are going along smoothly. You relax and think about how much fun this is and all of a sudden you miss a shot and end up in a tough location. Panic sets in and rather than accepting the tough situation and trying to salvage a reasonable score, you try to play hero and try a spectacular shot that will save the hole. Hey, you see the guys and gals do it on TV all the time right? Sure, that is because they never show the player who plays conservatively. It doesn’t make for good television. Play the shot that gets you back in the game, accept the extra stroke and go back to making the good swings.
Some players, after a good start will begin to anticipate an impending big score. As soon as one shot goes off line this player thinks, “Oh boy here it comes,” and that is usually the case. There is an old golf adage that says you can think your way to a bad score much faster than you can think your way to a good score. No truer words were ever spoken. The best way to avoid a situation like this is to not judge the results. No good shot or bad shot, only golf shots. Arnold Palmer’s father was a very wise man who coined the phrase, hit it, find it, and hit it again. While that seems silly it is really the best way to play the game. When you judge a golf shot, it starts the mental process. A bad shot forces you to try and do something about it. A good shot can lead to complacency. What you are looking for is an even keel. No ups or downs. The saying, “What goes up must come down,” can apply to mental attitudes as well as gravity. You have heard it before, it is worth repeating. You have to play one shot at a time. The all count the same and your best days will come when you approach each shot the same.