Gaining Strokes Through Dumb Luck

Have you ever played a game where everything seem to go your way. You know, the bounces that are impossible to watch, yet always prove successful. I have been blessed with many rounds over the years, I can say that not all my shots, although intended, did not finish exactly the way I want. They turned out better. I can say that I gained strokes through dumb luck. And like other players, I will take these strokes of good fortune with a smile.

Over the years, I was fortunate enough to hit yardage markers and bounce onto the green; I have hit rakes and was left with a tap in birdie; I have hit the flag (not the pin) and dropped into hole; I have rattled my ball countless times in the woods only to have it end up on the fairway; and I have skipped my ball of the water to be left with birdie putt. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. All of these shots had an intent that finished not even close to what I imagined, but ended up better! Talk about dumb luck.

Good things and sometimes dumb luck!

All of these shots are nothing compared to a round of golf I shot back in the early 90s when I broke par for the first time. During this round, I had many shots that at the time I consider good fortune, but in reality some of those were just dumb luck. It all started on the second hole that was a short par 3 about 145 yards. I hit a poor ball to the left and it was tracking straight for the trap. I landed just short of the sand and kicked straight right about 6 feet from the pin. That was my first birdie of the day.

My second shot I would consider dumb luck was on the 9th hole. I was short on my approach shot to an elevated green and was left with a 95 foot bump and run. I remember saying “pull the pin it is going in”. I also remember thinking, I only need to get this close. Well, surprisingly I sunk the shot as if it was a tap in. That propelled my score to one under for the front nine.

The next was my tee shot on the 12th hole. All down the right side was out of bounds. After giving a stroke back on the par 3 11th hole, I felt I needed to hit this par 5 tee shot far; well, as the ball left the tee box I immediately realized I was in trouble. As my ball started to move towards the OB, I groaned with dissatisfaction. After the dreaded wood sound made by my ball, I heard my playing partners exclaim that it bounce out! It was up the right side and in good shape. As I walked to my ball, I saw that it was in the first cut and about 30 yards farther than my normal drive! This dumb luck shot set me up for a tap in birdie.

My last dumb luck shot of this round happened on the par 3, 17th hole. The tee shot on this hole was difficult at best. There was a tree sitting on the short right side that protected well over half of the green for any high approach shot. And of course the pin was tucked behind the tree! Still sitting one under, I decided to play to the left and see if I could make a long putt. After contact, I realized that I pushed my ball right into the center of the foliage. After a few knocks and rattles, the tree spit my ball out to within two feet of the pin. After a tap in birdie. I was sitting two under for the round and that is where I ended.

Of course, during this round I hit many great shots. These four dumb luck shots did not define my round, but definitely propelled my score to under par. I could easily shot in the high 70s if a couple of these lucky bounces turned out in a different way. I just count my lucky stars that it good fortune was on my side that day.

Being successful due to dumb luck is not a plan. Each of my shots has a specific intent. Sometimes lady luck is on my side and other times it is against me. However, if I had a choice I would take the successes of dumb luck over the alternate possibility. As they say, ‘it is not how, but how many’. But, it is nice to remember my good fortune from time to time.

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


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