In many sports, athletes are told to dig deep and find that little extra something in the last minutes of a game. They are asked to exceed their normal playing abilities and shift gears to the next level. As an athlete who played many sports of the years, I can honestly say that it is possible to find that little extra something for a short period of time. Expect, I have never been able to find it on the golf course!
I play anchor in all scrambles. The reason for this is because I have a better than not chance of hitting a pressure shot to keep our team in play. Unlike other players, I am not hitting last so that I can crush out some extra yards with my long clubs because I do not know how. It is really that simple, I do not have the ability to change gears to produce more yardage. I have tried, boy have I tried, yet I never seem to successfully increase my distance on demand.
My limitations might seem to strange for a single digit handicapper, but it really should come as no surprise. My golf game is built on consistent, controlled, and manageable movements that I can repeat on a regular basis. It does not include hitting long bombs off the tee or fairway. Now, occasionally I will poke a tee shot out a little farther than normal, but that usually is caused by a hard bounce off the fairway; not extra ball flight.
In reality, for me to shift to a higher gear, I have to slow my tempo down, which increases my swing speed. This might seem strange because these two topics should be in parallel not opposites, but they are for my golf swing. Every time I try to increase my club head speed on the fly, my tempo goes awry resulting in a poor tee shot. When I control my tempo by focusing on keeping my head still and following through on my intended line (which I try to do on every shot) I receive a more positive result with some increased distance. Unfortunately, we are only talking about 10 yards max; not a significant distance in the big scheme of things.
Hence, I have accepted the fact that I do not have an extra gear in my golf game. I will continue to rely on my steady play during scrambles and stroke play to lower my golf score. I believe that hitting the ball close from 150 yards is the key to my game and finding an extra gear at that distance is very unlikely. I might be more aggressive once in a while, but that is not a shift in my game as much as course management.
I have played golf with others who have that extra gear. They can hit the ball longer from time to time, but they loose accuracy. I guess this is a reasonable trade off, especially in a scramble, and I want those type players on my team. We played many men’s night events with Murray in 2019 and he had that extra gear which we relied upon; when it worked, we would be hitting from 30 yards closer than normal. Now that is what I call shifting gears.
Golf is not like other sports. I do not think that many golfers have the extra gear in their game. I certainly do not! Yet, it is nice to see a player dig deep from time to time and produce something amazing; I applaud that ability. I gravitate towards consistency and control; how about you? Do you have an extra gear in your golf game?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!