The definition of a tipping point is “the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change.” This particular phenomenon is the root of great golf. It helps define a path to success through mini steps of a larger challenge.
Every year, I hope to experience one or two tipping points that leads to lower scores. Last year, unfortunately, I did not achieve a tipping point on any aspect of my game and as a result, I did not really improve. It is a bit disappointing, but that is the nature of amateur golf.
To add some context, the lower your handicap, the more difficult it is to reach a tipping point. This is not to say it cannot be achieved, on the contrary, it just means that we need to focus our efforts more on realistic goals.
For example, early in my career, my chipping from 15 yards was the worst. I was okay from farther or short distances, but from 15 yards I rarely got up and down. To rectify this hole in my game, I devised a practice plan that was a bit out of the ordinary.
Most players would drop 50 balls from 15 yards and whack away until they felt they master the shot. I decided to approach this challenge going forward and backwards. Here is how the drill went:
- I set up 10 balls at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 yards.
- Using the same club, 52° gap wedge, I started at 5 yards. I chipped all 10 balls.
- I moved back to 25 yards and hit all the balls.
- I moved to 10 yards and hit all the balls.
- I moved to 20 yards; hit all the balls.
- I moved 15 yards and hit all the balls.
- Lastly, I repeated the same drill and hit 2 balls instead of 10 following the same pattern.
It was amazing the results I gained. Not only did my worries about hitting from 15 yards disappeared. To add a bit of reality to drill; I conducted this drill 4 times over 4 different practice sessions. Also, I putted every ball in hole. Additionally, I adjusted my grip and weight distribution several times until I was comfortable making a short chip. One cycle of the drill takes between 30 and 40 minutes depending on how close you chip the ball to the hole.
The tipping point to this story is not how well I chipped from 15 yards, but how my entire short game from within 25 yards raised to the next level and beyond. Now, I believe my short game is the best part of my game. Today, it is where I save and gain strokes the most.
The tipping point is important in golf. It is a noticeable point in time that produces that “ah ha” moment and our game dramatically improves. Next year, I am looking forward to finding another tipping point, I am just not sure what it will be.
Did you have a tipping point in your game last year?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!