Golf is a Game of Inches

I enjoy watching Dustin Johnson, Jason Day or Jordan Spieth crush the ball off the tee. Something about seeing a tiny white sphere rocket through the air with bullet like speed is mind-boggling. Yet, as we revel over the distances many professional and amateurs have gained over the past 20 years, golf remains a game of inches!

Regardless of where a player is on the course, an inch in any direction can turn a poor shot into an awesome one. Receiving a ‘member’s bounce’ or feeling utterly disappointed boils down to inches. The real challenge for most players is to understand how to maximize these inches and still crush the ball 300 yards! Last Wednesday, Blair and I teamed up with Rudy and Stan for Men’s Night. These two older gentlemen were working in the area and wanted to have some fun playing with some local talent. They did not hit the ball long very often, but every once in a while they would poke out a great shot.

While playing their second shot on the 7th hole, Stan hit what looked like an awesome approach shot. Unfortunately, his ball hit the 4 inch post in front of the green (that stops carts from driving too close) and ricocheted off to the left. With a cry of dismay, then a big chuckle, Stan’s misfortune could have been elation if he was just 2 inches to the right of the post!

The uneven top of the far left post used to direct cart traffic from the green.

The uneven top of the far left post used to direct cart traffic from the green.

Conversely, I have received a lucky bounce from the same type of post. Last year, after my tee shot on the par 5, 9th hole, I was sitting about 240 yards from the pin. My second shot was wide open, so I decided to go for the green with my 3-wood. Playing out of the rough, I was lucky to have a fluffy lie and was able to make solid contact. As the ball flew towards the green, left of the pin, my ball suddenly took a huge and unnatural bounce right! Upon examination, I realized my ball hit top of the post on the surface closest to the bottom of the picture! I found it difficult to comprehend that my ball could hit a two-inch surface from 215 yards (the post was 25 yards off the front of the green) and then bounced towards the pin.

If you are still not convinced that golf is a game of inches, ask Justin Rose who scored the first hole in one in Olympic history on Friday. Or Louis Oosthuizen’s amazing hole in one at the 2016 Masters!

An inch in any direction makes a difference in golf. A lucky bounce here or there changes your 3 to a 1 on the scorecard! I am not sure how we can capitalize on this small piece of real estate, but if you or I ever figure it out, let me know and I will be sure to pass it on.

Do you have suggestions?

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

4 thoughts on “Golf is a Game of Inches

  1. Jim,
    I couldn’t agree more! While some of these small man-made objects can give your score a little boost I would argue the distances even smaller than that can make an even bigger impact on your game. What could have been a nice iron shot might end up 50 yards short if you make contact an inch behind the ball. I suppose that’s not what you’re getting at in this article but it’s still interesting to think about. Great insight as usual!

    -Sully

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I 100% agree. Golf is all about the small stuff. Ask Phil about his putt for 62 at the Open. There are way too many instances for me to count where I received a gift of hitting the exact location to put me closer to the pin. I just take it because I need all the help I can get.

    Liked by 1 person

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