Of course most golfers know of Bobby Jones; perhaps one of the greatest golfers of all time. He is famous for being the greatest professional golfer that never was; yet today’s discussion is not about his play, but about one of many quotes he is noted for over his brief tenure as the world’s greatest player. It should make you think about your game and wonder why one of golf’s greatest would be quoted on this topic so often; keep reading and see what I mean.
“Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears.”
I have heard other variations of this quote like: “The most important piece of real estate on a golf course is the 5 inches between your ears!” Regardless of how we slice it, Bobby Jones statement is profound, yet not surprising. Golf can be boiled down to a game of mental mistakes if dissected properly. Like many sports, the person who makes the least amount of mental errors wins.
I know that for my game, this is exactly the case. I am a fairly consistent player. I do not hit the ball long, but it is usually straight. Yet there are times when I am all over the course and it takes me some time to figure out why. 99.9% of the time it is mental. My mind is all over the place and I am not focused on the present. Additionally, when things are not going well, I start to second guess my every move. It is funny because I am generally a confident golfer, but some days that 5 inches of real estate is fill with 200 acres of confusion.
I start to think too far ahead and forget that I have to play the shot directly in front of me. I am not sure why this happens, but most of the time I chalk it up to poor mental strength. I am on a carousel of confusion I cannot seem to get change. I guess, even Jones struggled with this as well:
“It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. But it took me many years to realize it.”
As 2019 approaches, I will continue to work on my mental game. It is something that I have accepted as a life long journey (on and off the golf course). Interestingly, the more I discuss golf, the clearer my mind seems to be about certain issues. Unfortunately, other topics become foggier. I guess if I had all the answers, I would be a golf professional of some sort. We all struggle with that five inches between our ears; I just hope to reduce my struggle in 2019.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!