Playing competitive golf is always fun. I affords me the opportunity to hone my skills, work on my mental preparation and test my game against other good players. Regardless of the event, I create a game plan or winning strategy that suits the course, my swing, and the weather. It is a simple strategy that has served me well over the years.
I will outline my tournament strategy in a future post, but today I think it is important to discuss the statement “Never Abandon Your Golf Plan”! It is something I have heard plenty over the years, yet I am not completely convinced that absolutes belong on the golf course.
Once I have a game plan, it is important to use this process until it is evident that my plan will not work that day. I have talked to other players who have their plan, but they seem intent on throwing it in the pond the moment they make a poor shot. When they do this, it seems to me they were not really committed to their plan.
The other side of the coin is players who never give up their plan. When their game goes south, they stay focused on their strategy with the hope that their game will turn around. Their thought process is that the plan will get them through the tough holes. This is not a bad strategy, however there has to be a time in their round when switching directions is the only solution.
Personally, I am in the middle group. I will used my strategy until I realize that it is just not working and it is time make a change. My change is not the result of a poor swing, but of how I decided to play the holes. If, this aspect of the plan is not working, it is definitely time to make a change.
Here is an example. I was playing in a tournament in 2009. After the second day on the par 71 course, I had a 12 stroke lead on the second place player. After shooting a 75 and 71 on day 1 and 2 respectively, I kept my same winning strategy – be cautious off the tee and aggressive around the green! Well after the first 4 holes, I was 4 over. My caution turned to tentativeness and my aggressive play turned over aggression. I was so hyped up trying to shoot another low score, but plan started to be a detriment to my game. So on the 5th hole, I became more aggressive off the tee and less aggressive around the green. As a result, I played the next 14 holes only 3 over. Resulting in a 78. I realized that I was never in danger of losing the tournament, but my game was not where it should be considering how well I was playing.
There is a time to abandon your golf plan. Sometimes it is early in your round or later in the tournament. Every player is different and their game will dictate when to change, but at a minimum we should be open to the thought of adjusting our golf plan to maximize our score on any given day.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!