Recently, I asked if anyone had sunk their final putt to win a match. Surprisingly, it was an overwhelming yes! I have to admit that I was surprised, but given the demographic of my blog I should not have been. Regardless, it is an awesome feeling and one I have only experienced a few times over the many years I have played golf.
The pressure of having to make the last putt to win is something most amateurs never experience. It is very overwhelming and at the same time a fantastic experience. It builds character (good and bad), teaches us to perform under pressure, and prepares us for the next time such a situation arises.
A respondent said that they sunk their last putt to win their championship; yet another said they won a match and broke 80 for the first time. Both of these are fantastic accomplishments and deserve recognition.
I remember one of my putts to win. It was during the South Side Championship at CFB Borden. It was a small event consisting of the military training schools and one of good friends was expected to win. At that time, he was better golfer than I, but on that day, he was playing okay and I was playing great. So the playing field was even.
It was the last hole and I needed to sink a 14 footer to win. If I missed I would have lost the event in retrogression (there was no extra hole playoff). It was a relatively flat putt and all I had to do was start it on line. I remember that my heart was pounding, my breathing was quickened and I took just a bit more time over my putt than normal. Fortunately, I did start my putt on line and it dropped for the win. It was the first time I had ever beaten Dave and it rarely happened moving forward.
I had never experience the pressure of putting to win before the South Side Challenge. I have a few times since and each time is a little better. However, I can tell you that my heart still pounds, my breathing quickens and I take a bit more time over the putt; however, it is all more manageable. I like to think of these as learning experiences (especially when I missed).
Putting to win a match happens rarely, but when it does my past experiences help me play better. It is something I try to simulate when practicing, but I can guarantee you that is just not the same. Regardless, it is fun to be in that situation and I would take it every time.
Have you ever had a putt to win a match? How did you like it?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!