The ability to examine a golf shot in excruciating detail is skill that many amateurs develop as they work at lowering their handicap index. Swinging the golf club is definitely an important skill, but knowing what shot to hit when becomes as important, if not more, the closer you become to being a scratch golfer. I understand this because experience has taught me that the obvious shot is not necessarily the correct shot. Sometimes we need to examine more stressors before coming to the final conclusion. And this is were trouble begins!
Shots like the above one are relatively easy because the hazards are known and the position of the ball dictates how make the shot. Some might think just the opposite, but this shot was really a straight chip over the crest of the mound onto the green with a 15 foot release. If I remember correctly, I used a sand wedge and the results were very much to my liking. I did not have to over think this shot because my options were relatively limited.
However, the next shot caused me more challenges. The number options actually can cause a mental paralysis of sorts.
The above shot had many options. It might seem that a 7 iron to the middle was the shot to make, but when I arrived, I was not so sure. Here is what went through my mind:
- Use enough club to carry the water
- The green slopes left to right
- Missing the green was dangerous in any direction
- There was no bail out area
- The wind is blowing slightly from right to left
- It looks like a false front
- Trees on left protect part of the green
I started to come up with so many challenges, I started to think drive my thoughts towards what not to do instead of the shot I wanted to make. I was starting to experience mental paralysis on what to do next.
Well, I gave my head a shake and said to trust my yardage and just hit the ball. Stop overthinking this shot and aim for the middle of the green and hit a solid 7 iron. Well, that is exactly what I did and the ball landed 20 feet from the pin to the left. After a smooth two putt, I walked away with a par.
As you can see, we can overthink golf shots. We can try to consider so many factors that we make the stroke infinitely more complicated. I found that when I was lowering my handicap from 12 to 8, this situation crept into my game more than ever. I was developing the skill to swing a golf club, but had not developed my mental game to match.
Well, thank goodness I am over that hurdle because my playing partners never accuse me of thinking any more. 🤣 🤣🤣 All joking aside, sometimes it is best to go with your gut instinct and just hit the golf ball.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!