My ‘Tin Cup’ Golf Shot

Tin Cup is a great golf movie. I watch it from time to time, but generally at the beginning of the golf season and this year is no different. While watching Roy MacAvoy manage his demons, I was reminded of my one of my ‘Tin Cup’ shot several years ago.

I have had a few’Tin Cup’ shots over the years, but none that cost me the US Open. I remember trying to qualify for the Petawawa Base Golf Team back in the late 90s. My exciting moment happened on the third hole on the second day. This par 5 serpentine hole had to be navigated carefully or else very bad things could happen.

With red stakes down both sides of the fairway, the smart play was always to take a drop and your medicine on errand shots. I suspect you have guessed where this story is going, but it needs to be told. After my first shot, I was sitting in the middle of the fairway 235 yards from the pin on this difficult par 5.

I felt that I needed to press my score because of my poor first day. Sitting in 7th place (an unusual position for me) I thought that a quick start would put pressure on the leaders (not that they would know anyway because there are not scoreboards at the level I play – a Duh moment on my part)

I pulled my 3-wood instead of hitting a 7 iron just short of the narrowing fairway that protected the green at 75 yards out. I felt that my club selection should easily get me to my goal, but I was not thinking smart and overlooked the slight breeze in my face and that the green was uphill from my current position. After hitting my first shot into the hazard, I dropped another ball without thinking. I should have walked up to where the ball went into the hazard and took my medicine, but oh no, it was too late. I had already dropped my ball.

Keeping the 3-wood in my hand, I thought it prudent to press an already bad situation. Hitting my second shot into the hazard, I was fuming now! I could not believe I was consistently short and felt that something was amiss. After dropping my second ball (and lying 5, hitting 6) the realization that I was being extremely foolish hit me. But, my ego kicked in and prepare to hit my 3-wood again.

This time, I made perfect contact. My ball flew on my intended line and landed as expected. After a couple of bounces, my ball came to rest on the green about 15 feet from the pin. After a routine 2-putt, I walked off the green with away with a smooth snowman. Shaking my head as I walked to the next tee, I could not believe the mental error I just committed.

On a side note, I missed making the team by 1 stroke. It was the only time in 20 years of trying that I did not make the base team. I was very disappointed! However, I have never forgotten this ‘Tin Cup’ moment and fortunately I have learned from my mistake.

As it turns out, I am not the only golfer who experienced a ‘Tin Cup’ moment on the golf course. See what I mean:

‘Tin Cup’ moments can be fun. They are exciting and provide a change from our normal play. But, choose the right moment to repeatedly go for it should be saved for none competitive days. Regardless, ‘Tin Cup’ moments are apart of golf.

Have you ever had a ‘Tin Cup’ moment?

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

8 thoughts on “My ‘Tin Cup’ Golf Shot

  1. Jim,

    I had a recent ‘Tin Cup’ experience when golfing at Kukui’ula in Hawaii with Wayne. It was on 18, a par 5 with the pin tucked way to the right behind water. I thought if I really flushed my 4-iron I could get there in two and gave it a go. It didn’t work out so well. After taking my drop about 100 yards from the flag, I went right at it thinking I could still save my par. That shot didn’t work out either as I pulled it slightly and it hit the bank and went into the water again. I believe Wayne actually referred to me as ‘Tin Cup’ in his post about that round…good thing I had made a few birdies earlier that day to off set this hole 😉


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim, I had an experience very similar to Sully. A few years back, I had a good round going. Was at even par through 12 holes. Then I pulled a drive into the woods and found my ball on some hard pan in a clearing. I elected to play a 3WD at a small gap in the trees. Nine shots later I had a tidy little 10 on the card which shook me to the core and completely ruined the round.

    When John Daly made his 18 at Bay Hill, he birdied the next hole. One of the major differences with touring pros and amateurs is that the pros can compartmentalize their mistakes.

    Thanks for the not so great trip down memory lane. 🙂


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    • Brian

      Sorry to bring up your past nightmare on the links! 😉 You are definitely correct about compartmenting bad shoots when playing. That is the mental part of the game we can all work on. Hope your game is coming along so early in the golf season.


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  3. I had a different type of that scenario today. The course I played today has a green that requires you to hit it in the middle. It’s a tiered green shaped like an inverted bowl with a tiny flat areas running from front to back. 10-12 feet either side of the middle and the ball will roll off and it’s worse in the back where the flag was today. It’s got a 6 & 1/2 foot deep slope with mangroves at the bottom all around both sides which is death if your ball doesn’t stop in time. Today I pulled an 8 iron for my shot to the green on the harder of the two which is more club than I usually need there but the tee’s had been in back and it was windy. I pulled it a bit and of course it didn’t stick but it was flag high and back there has just a little extra room so I was lucky and it had stopped with enough room to get a swing. So I pull out the lob wedge because that is the only type of shot that has a chance at sticking and I take a swing and hit it just a bit too well as it carried to the flag but bounced just far enough to find the slope on the other side and it went down. So I’m now on the other side of the hole with yet another lob shot going right back the other way. Another nice connection that this time doesn’t quite go far enough and the ball comes right back to me. I managed to get up and down from there which I was actually proud of. I hadn’t let it get to me. I had hit good shots, good swings, they just didn’t work out because that hole was created by a sadist. Well that and my touch just hadn’t been as perfect as it needed to be even if I felt a bit like I’d ‘knutted it’ just like Tin Cup.

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  4. Jim,

    While hitting a ball out of the trees doesn’t exactly match the reference that’s what comes to mind when I think of my “Tin Cup” moment. After pushing a drive in the trees instead of just punching out to the fairway I try to advance the ball up through the woods. Of course the punch shot catches a branch and now you’re faced with another shot in the same situation. Of course, we all know how that story ends… something similar to you taking your snowman! Great story either way and a good lesson to learn.


    Liked by 1 person

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