Controlling the Unknown in Golf

Lost and Confused SignpostOn any given day, we as amateur golfers really have no idea what our golf game will produce. Don’t get me wrong, the better golfers have a better understanding of what to expect and most of the time the surprises are limited. But for the amateur who plays infrequently or does not have the time to improve game, the unknown of golf can be a source of excitement or dread.

For those who have ever walked into a casino, the anticipation of winning big and walking out is always on your mind. As you pensively walk around looking for the ‘lucky’ machine, many thoughts of how to ‘beat the house’ surface. Finally, you pick a slot machine and in goes your money. As you pull the arm and watch the tumblers spin, your excitement grows! As the wheels stop spinning, you find yourself talking or yelling at the machine as if you influence the outcome. The machine gives you just enough back, thus providing a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation. The unknown of where the dials will stop continues until you walk away!

Golf is very much like your adventure into the casino. The player who is unprepared or has not played enough to develop a consistent swing creates a world of unknown possibilities in golf. They will repeatedly hit the ball unsuccessfully and wonder what is going on. Like the slot machine, the player will hit just enough good shots as to give the illusion that things are looking up; when actually their good golf shots was ultimately the result of the law of percentages.

Every shot in golf provides a plethora of options and the ability to control all the factors is impossible. We cannot control the wind, the ground, course layout, speed of the greens or the sand in the bunker! These things all play a role in golf and their unknowns are uncontrollable! However, for golfing fanatics they are what makes golf interesting and in some cases exciting. Just ask Brian at All About Golf who recently recorded his second hole in one!

Of course this is not all bad! There are many things in golf we can control that will significantly lower the unknowns and increase the percentage of making consistent, great shots. You can control how you putt, when to chip, driving the ball, and course management to name a few. Golf is a game that needs nurturing for players to reach their true potential!

Controlling the unknowns in golf is possible. It does take effort, that eventually will be rewarded.

Today, I am heading to play Glen Abbey Golf Course, the home of the Canadian Open! I hope I can control some of the unknowns, but regardless, today is going to be an awesome golfing experience!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

2 thoughts on “Controlling the Unknown in Golf

  1. Jim, excellent subject for discussion. I think mastery of the fundamentals is also a very important controlling factor that gets overlooked. Even very experienced players who have not mastered a particular shot or technique are subject to the results you describe. What may seem like the theory of randomness is simply a missing tool in their belt and the negative results are often exacerbated under pressure. Look at NBA great Wilt Chamberlain. As good as he was, he never mastered the fundamentals of free throw shooting. In over 16,000 career attempts he averaged a dismal 51%. In playoff action, when the stakes were higher, he shot 47% on 1,600+ attempts.

    The best mitigator in golf is mastery of the techniques coupled with frequent application.

    Thanks and have a great round at Glen Abbey!

    Brian

    Like

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