The Best Shot You Ever Made In Golf!

We all tell stories; regardless if they have to do with fishing, basketball, hunting, or golf; we all tell stories. Generally, as the tale is retold, it gets better and better until it is on the border line of unbelievable. Over the years, I have made some fantastic shots and, well, some I would like to forget. It is human nature to remember the highlights and perhaps embellish them just a bit. Well I have a shot I thought was worth sharing and I promise not to embellish it…..much!

The risk/reward of any shot adds pressure regardless of the result.

I have 3 holes in one over the years and you think that one of those would be the best shot I ever made, but actually it is not. Those are great memories, but they were shots made during a round that happen to go in the hole. I have chipped in from the fairway, but those again, were not anything special except for lowering my golf score. The best shot I ever made did not actually go in the hole.

What I believe was my best shot happened about 25 years ago. I was playing in a tournament to select our military base in the Ontario Regionals. It was the first time I was contending in this event and I was playing against my mentor Bobby Fortune. After shooting a 70, 76 on the first two days, I had a 4 stroke lead going into the final round. I was also playing head to head against Bobby and let me tell you the pressure was immense.

We were on the par 3, 17th hole. It was not an overly long hole at 165 yards, but there was enormous tree guarding the right side of the green and of course, the pin was tucked behind the tree about 25 yards from its base. I was tied with Bobby and he had the honours. As I have described before, Bobby was my mentor and his course management skills far exceeded mine as I was apprentice and he was the master.

He hit a safe 7 iron to the left side of the green about 25 feet from the pin. It was the perfect shot and he was setup for yet another birdie. At the time, I remember thinking clearly and mulling over my options. I kept thinking to myself, if I make the difficult shot that results in a birdie, I had a chance to win. If I miss, I finished second and still make the team and Bobby will be team captain as everyone expects.

I decided to go for it. I pulled my 6 iron and decided to draw the ball into the pin. If I missed this shot, I would be in long rough short sided to the pin. There was very high risk, but at the time, the reward was greater. You have to understand that I was just starting to improve my game it was the first time I had an opportunity to win against my mentor.

I took my time, went through my pre-shot routine and committed to the shot. The contact sounded pure and my ball was perfectly on-line. The only thing left was distance. We did not see my ball land because of the mounds beside the tree, but experience told us that my shot looked perfect. As I bent down to pick up my tee, Bobby said “nice shot” as he walked towards the green. In excited anticipation, I walked (actually almost sprinted) towards the green almost holding my breath every step of the way.

As my ball came into sight, I realized it was tight. But, I did not want to be overly confident because sometimes balls look close for a distance, but as we get closer, it is not as close as we hoped. In my case, it was as close as I hoped. My ball came to rest 12 inches just past the hole!

After Bobby two putted and I one putted, I was one up going home. We both tied the last hole and as result of my shot on 17, I was the team captain at the Ontario Regionals that year. It was a highlight of my golfing career and Bobby, ever the gentlemen, congratulated me and talked about how I was reaching the next level in my game after his 4 years of mentoring. For interest, Bobby shot an even par 72 and I shot 75 on the last day.

This one shot changed many aspects of my golf game. It taught me that I could play well under pressure, properly assess the risk / reward of a shot, and when to press if the reward is great enough. It is a shot I remember and one of my best, not because it went into the hole, but because it had a tremendous and long-reaching impact on my golf game.

Do you have such a shot?

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

Written by Jim Burton from The Grateful Golfer blog.


10 thoughts on “The Best Shot You Ever Made In Golf!

  1. Only been playing for over a year but I have never really hit a decent 3 wood shot before. 2 weeks ago on a parr 5, I smashed my almost 300 yards and then used the 3 wood to get the ball just shy of the green. So far one of my greatest shots simply because it shows i have improved. And because it was the first par 5 I have ever birdied

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  2. Jim, great story about you and your mentor. Here’s mine. Was playing the par 3 11th at Whitetail in Pennsylvania. The shot is over a ravine and we were playing the white tees which is a little over 150 yards. I hit a seven iron that landed next to the cup but sucked back hard and went all the way off the green and tumbled down the ravine for a lost ball. I reloaded with a six iron and struck it well, landing it on the back of the green. It sucked back all the way into the hole for a routine par. Kind of a buzz kill at the time because it wasn’t a true hole in one, but an amazing experience when you think about it now. Thanks for the jog down memory lane!


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  3. Well I’ve put quite a few in the hole from the fairway and one nice one from the tee from 180 yards, but I think my best shot was also one that didn’t go in. I had gotten myself in trouble on a par five that doglegged around a lake. I pulled my second shot a bit too much and bounced off an overhanging branch at the corner. The ball end up about 20 feet from the trunk of a tall pine tree. I was so close to the tree that I couldn’t see but a sliver of the greens edges and certainly not the flag and I was 130 yards from the center where the pin was. I chose to hit a low slicing punch with a 3 iron and pulled it off so well it hit the flag and stopped inside of a foot. The best part was that I complained first that it was my only option to the rest of the group. None of my eagles or birdies or the hole in one were ever planned. But that shot I planned, announced, and executed perfectly.

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      • Yeah, it gave me an excuse to go up to the pro shop and complain about no camera on the hole again. That’s the same par 5 I’ve eagle 4 times since December. And every time I did something great I went up and gave the staff a hard time over not having a camera there to grab a picture of every shot (jokingly of course). I keep telling them I’d pay big bucks for getting one on tape and there are two perfect places to place a camera there. I have half a mind to add one myself.

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