Over Thinking Your Golf Shot

I have never been accused of overthinking anything, but last weekend I think I changed that. As you know, I played in a 2-man scramble at the Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort where the postage stamp elevated greens and very dry conditions added a touch of difficulty to every shot. It was during short chips and longer putts that my brain was in overdrive!

Blair and I had many opportunities to score, but never seemed to get anything going; especially on the last day. We had a tendency to over read breaks on the putt and under value the difficulty of hitting to dry elevated greens. We would have longish discussions about what we thought would happen then fail to execute the shot.

My thought of the Day!

We lipped out on at least 7 or 8 holes each day that we thought would drop. During 4 putts, the ball would either drop away from within 3 inches of the hole and stay on the lip or not break at all. Blair and I have slightly different putting strategies; I like to hit the ball 8 inches past the cup and Blair plays with a bit more finesse. Unfortunately, I was not hitting the ball past the hole and that was my problem.

We would discuss many putts, but from our own putting perspectives. Therefore, the line we would pick was different and that caused us many confusing decisions. Eventually, we ended up reading our own putts and seemed to have better success. We definitely over thought the reads and as a result missed quite a few shots by less than an inch.

The sad part for me is that I forgot my two golden rules to putting! Well, I am back on track now.

During our chipping, we could not seem to get the ball to respond to our generally solid chipping. The elevate greens were protected by some steep banks. Additionally, these banks were hard and not forgiving at all. On many shots we would be about a yard or two short to allow for the ball to bounce onto the green, yet we ended up chipping again. Our ball would bounce left or right or stay in the exact spot of contact. It was a strange thing and something I would need additional practice if I played at Mattawa more than once or twice a year.

I think I gave the elevated greens too much credit. As we discussed the reaction of the ball to the hitting to into the bank, I should have just used ore elevation and landed on the green. Our discussions were fruitful, but hitting the ball on the green and accepting a longer putt was far better than chipping again. Being more aggressive on my approach or chip shots would have produced better results.

The 9-hole golf course at Mattawa offers some unique challenges. The small elevated greens are their best feature. It is challenging to play these small areas of real estate, but fun nonetheless. I like playing under tough short game conditions and look forward to returning in August.

Do you ever overthink your golf shots?

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

4 thoughts on “Over Thinking Your Golf Shot

  1. My last regular golf partner used to over think every swing. I am of the impression that It really killed his game. And it didn’t help mine any either as it felt like I was always waiting an eternity for him to hit the ball and I play my best when I get to move fast. We played hundreds of games together and I can’t remember him ever winning though he had many chances at it. But he seemed to fall apart by the second nine every time. Again, it seemed to me, while he was playing his best, he was moving at a decent speed and not spending so much time over the ball. And as he asked more of himself, he slowed and his game faltered. I am sure that is just an anecdote fitting for one person and not everyone. But I know it works for me and I am positive he would have done better if he could have thought less and played more instead of over thinking.

    Raised greens are something we are used to down here. On most of the courses I play, the majority of the greens are raised. But we can roll the ball on from the fairway or bounce one on from just short here and there where the green isn’t 4 or more feet above the fairway on a few greens at most courses. Trying that to a raised green is something that simply doesn’t work even with long iron. If you’re not used to it, I can understand how that would cause a problem. My old home course that got closed down last year had two holes that were like inverted bowls and the greens were fast. You had no choice but to hit to the center because the ball would roll off anywhere else and then leave you with a tough lob to save a par if you didn’t. Chipping on just wasn’t safe at all if your ball reached the bottom of the slope which it generally did no matter how slowly it was going when it rolled off. It’s funny, but those were a couple of my favorite holes to play. While I love “going for it”, a surgical shot with a 6 or 7 iron to the middle that holds a tough fast green that slopes in all directions is really satisfying.

    On another note I learned something today that can be helpful for planning out your game when playing a new course. I had google earth open in satellite view to see an aerial view of a property I want to look at and as I zoomed out after I finished I saw one of the golf courses I play occasionally so I zoomed in on it for a minute. I happened to accidentally right click the page and on the menu that popped up, at the bottom, was a measure distance feature. So I clicked on it. I didn’t know google earth would do this, but you can point to and click on a tee box or a point anywhere on the course, and then click on the fairway or green and get a distance measurement in both feet and meters between the two points (not yards so a bit of math is required to convert). With that and knowing your distances with your driver and irons, it is possible to plan an entire round out for optimal placement of your shots using that tool. I found for instance that on one hole, it should be possible for me to cut a corner much farther than I thought possible when I’m having a good day with my driver. Aiming over the houses that line the left side of that dogleg left hole is something I hadn’t thought of trying, but with that birds eye view, and knowing the distance isn’t out of my reach, it’s something I plan on trying next time I play that hole. It gave me the aiming points I would need to get it right and still leave a margin for error.

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