One of my many experiences during my 37+ years in the Canadian Military was that no opportunity should be wasted to learn a lesson. Especially during an exercise when multiple things go wrong. One boss used to say that mistakes during an exercise are the perfect opportunity to improve. I carry this mindset into my daily life and definitely use it today whenever I hit the links.
For example, the score from my last round was the worst in about 15 years. I shot a unimaginable 91. Remember all scores are relative and as a three handicap, 20 over par is not acceptable to me on any level. The crazy thing about this round is that I never shot over a double bogey. I just played poorly from 30 yards and closer.
My first major error occurred on the first hole. I was over the back in three on the par 5. This is okay because I hit a great shot from 89 yards and the wind just carried my ball a bit father than I expected. My ball was sitting on top of the rough and it seemed like a routine up and down. I was a bit short sided so I decided to hit my 60° wedge. I opened the face a bit and made a firm swing that would send my ball about 10 yards in the air with a little release. After my swing, my ball was in the same relative spot because my club went completely under the ball. I cannot remember ever missing the ball by sliding under ball!
My next four chips on the next two holes were chunks. I was so concerned about making contact, I was hitting the ground a few inches before the ball. I hacked my way around to open with three doubles in a row. Not a stellar start. I did regroup and shot a par on the 5th hole; this was my only par on the front nine.
The back nine was better, but still not to my standards. I hit the ball well off the tee, but my approach shots forced me to rely on my short game. My short game left on the first hole and I had not found it yet. I only chipped within 8 feet once all day and it was to one foot. I could not have hit the broad side of the barn from 10 yards away. It was a struggle!
Lastly, I hit the ball very well off the tee. I hit 10 of 13 fairways (we have 5 par 3s on the course). I mostly hit my driver, but 3 wood and 3 hybrid were working as well. I felt comfortable on all holes except the par 3s. But that is a story for another day.
Now that you read my woes from my last round, I bet you are wondering what golf lesson I learned. Well, this lesson had nothing to do with my swing. It was all mental and specifically my expectations. I was so confident that I would shot in the 70s, I lost focus on playing golf. I mentally fell apart after my first miss hit. Watching my 60° wedge slide under my ball caught me off guard and I never recovered. That is my lesson from the last round; I have to let things to when they do not go well. Mostly, I need to check my ego and stay focused on fundamental golf. But more of that on another day.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!