The Extra Gear in Golf

Do you have the ability to step up your game for a short period in the attempts to improve your score? As I watch some of the pros focus on their rounds, it seems that, in some instances, they can reach deep and squeeze out the extra 25 yards off the tee or an extra 15 yards with their wedge on an approach shot. Am I crazy or what?

I know that in some sports that extra shot of adrenaline will make a player run faster, jump higher or perform feats of strength. I have always accepted these amazing movements as a part of sports, but I was never convinced that golfers had that ability. Now, I am not so sure.

Watching some videos of players like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and so many more, these players appear to have another gear when required. Playing down the stretch at the end of a tournament, professional golfers are able to hit their ball crazy distances or shape it in seemingly impossible ways to press an advantage.

I am sure you are thinking of times when you have watched professionals make that  ‘tournament winning shot’ that defies all odds. For example, Tiger Woods multiple chip ins, Phil Mickelson in the Masters from behind a tree, or Bubba Watson hitting in the Masters turning the ball almost 90 degrees from the woods on to the green. All were amazing golf shots and ultimately propelled these players to win.

I think that these shots are considered to be their extra gear. As we watch these amazing shots, we ponder on why they do not play like this all the time. Generally, I think, these shots are very high risk / reward where the situation is such that not making the attempt could have negative results on the scoreboard.

This week is the Ryder Cup. This event is the ultimate competition where professional golfers are expected to make (or at least attempt) the impossible for the sake of their team. Playing steady and safe is fine, but in my opinion not part of the Ryder Cup! Besides the entertainment value, the quality of players during each match forces opponents to play in that ‘extra gear’ more often.

It will be interesting to see which team plays without caution to build an early lead. There are many come back examples of teams throwing caution into the wind with success. Of course the most obvious was the 2012 European’s Miracle in Medina. This type of effort is expected at the Ryder Cup and I for one hope to see it often and early in the matches.

Having an extra gear in golf, for professionals, is very realistic. I am not sure most amateurs have this ability and if we do, it is a rare thing. I am not too sure where my games stands on this skill, but I will have to check it out before I make a final decision.

Do you have an extra gear in your golf game?

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

9 thoughts on “The Extra Gear in Golf

  1. Jim,

    Great observation. I tend to agree that golfers have an extra gear. However, I think the source may be the same source that causes amateurs in the same situation to hit it sideways. Most golfers probably have the adrenaline in the high pressure situations. Amateurs don’t practice with adrenaline and are rarely in pressure situations, so the higher heart rate wreaks the swing. Pros have been in the situation before and generally practice those situations, so they can perform better under the pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the extra gear is the ability to deliver on demand that which you have practiced before. I am sure Phil has hit between two obstructions or TW chipping in and Bubba curves the ball all the time. Now the question for me is if they fail do we say they lack the extra gear??? Maybe. I think if the extra gear for distance – usually fueled by adrenaline or better focus leading to a perfect strike. I remember TW at Beth Page Black in US Open 2002 and hitting a 2 iron from 265 yes to an elevated green. That’s insane, especially after Phil hit 3 wood from 275 and only barely made the green. I guess what I am saying is that the extra gear is there and I find it rarely. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim,

    I’ve felt glimpses of an extra gear in competition, where the pressure and will to succeed propels your focus into a new dimension. My extra gear doesn’t have an extra 25 yards off the tee, but it involves willing balls into the fairway and putts into the hole when you need them the most. If only I could find that gear every time…..


    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh

      Great point. The extra gear does not always have to be distance. I think your point relates to focus more than anything. It is hard to keep that intensity for 4 hours. However, it is great to hear you have an ability to zero in when required!


      Liked by 2 people

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