Golf is a sport of missed opportunities. Every I step up to the first tee, the shot combinations for the round seem astronomical. Like a snowflake, I have never made the same shot combinations to achieve a specific score. I think it would be impossible to hit the same shots over 18 holes, hence each round is unique as the next. Understanding that each round must be as diverse, there is one universal constant that shapes each round. The most deadly question in golf: What are the chances?
What are the chances I can keep this ball on the fairway?
What are the chances I can make this five foot putt?
What are the chances I can draw this ball into the wind?
What are the chances I can hit this ball 170 yards over the tree guarding the green?
What are the chances I can hit my ball through that feet foot gap in the trees to gain an extra 15 yards?
What are the chances I can hit this ball off the stone fence, over a creek, and land a few feet from the pin?
As you can see the questions become a bit more challenging and in some cases ridiculous! Yet, this is the thought pattern of many golfers who reach for shots beyond their abilities. They start asking crazy questions about making virtually impossible shots in the hopes that something special might occur. It is just crazy talk and yet we all do it!
Unfortunately for amateurs, the deluge of “what are the chances” questions increases exponentially as we professional golfers like Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, or Seve Ballesteros make unbelieve recovery shots. They open the door to possibilities that empower amateurs to think they can, when the success rate for is hovers around the 1% range. And yet, we think we can because we saw it happen!
Successful golf is about pushing the envelope. Unfortunately for many players, that envelope is very small because we are not prepared, nor do we have the control to make shots way, way outside our wheelhouse. I am not suggesting to never try making some amazing recovery shots because that does make golf fun. I am recommending that when asking the “what are the chances” type questions, to realistically analyze the chances of some success before adding a few strokes to your score.
Golf’s most deadly question is bane of all golfers. I has added more strokes to my game (and unfortunately still does from time to time) because I was caught up in the moment and let my non-analytical mind take over. All I can suggest the next time you start asking “what are the chances” when looking a challenging shot, keep in mind what you are actually going to gain. If you do, chances are you will shelf golf’s most deadly question and hit the smart shot that saves you strokes and a great deal of frustration!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!