When Your Round Of Golf Comes Crashing Down!

As I watched Chesson Hadley putt off the green on the 17th hole at the Waste Management Pheonix Open, I fought the urge to crawl up in a ball, lay in the corner and babble endlessly about nothing. We have all had bad holes and I can certainly relate to Hadley’s unfortunate results of turning a potential eagle into a double bogey! Unfortunately for amateurs, our damage would be in the four or five over, not just a double bogey.

Here is what happened to add more bad karma to  Hadley’s crushing finish to his first round.

I can certainly relate to Hadley’s situation. I have putted of the green over the years, but never into a water hazard. However my ball has found the sand trap, 20 yards down the fairway, deep rough, and the spokes of my playing partners cart. A poor stroke on the green is not uncommon for amateurs, but putting off the green into a water hazard is a little more rare.

Unfortunately, Hadley’s demise during the first round started on the 14th hole. Sitting five under he was in the hunt for tournament leader. With 1 eagle, 4 birdies and 1 bogey, Hadley was cruising. Then suddenly the wheels fell off and were run over by a tank. This happens quite regularly to us amateurs, but how a player responds is the mark of their playing character!

As an amateur lowers their handicap, the frequency between a blow up hole or holes lengthens. In my case, I generally have a blow up hole about every four rounds or so. To me a blow up hole is a triple bogey or more (rarely is it more). I am not overly concerned about the poor hole, but I am extremely interested on how I respond to my mishap. 

After a poor hole, it my response is all centered on my mental focus. How I mentally discard the previous action is key to bouncing back. In my case, I use self talk to remind myself that I am a good player and the last hole was only a minor speed bump.

The my real challenge or downfall occurs when I stop believing I can birdie every hole or sink every putt. My positive self talk prevents me from doubting my abilities and following a path to despair.

By remaining positive and focused on ‘what we can do instead of what you can’t‘ is the real mark of a great player. It is more challenging for amateurs, but is the cornerstone to great golf. I am sure Chesson Hadley would tell us the same thing.

Do you have a way to fight the can’ts in golf?

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

2 thoughts on “When Your Round Of Golf Comes Crashing Down!

  1. Jim, this is easier to handle in match play because the bad hole only loses one hole. It’s hard to minimize the damage in stroke play. It’s also hard to determine whether the bad hole was an aberration or the start or end of a bad run. Generally, if part of a bad run, I’ll draw a vertical line on my scorecard after the last hole to signal “new start” to myself. Sometimes the mental restart works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    What you have described is probably the single most difficult thing we can handle on the golf course. Hope you don’t have too many of them in the upcoming season! 🙂



    Liked by 1 person

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