Playing Golf Is All About Making Decisions

Golf is a game that requires all players, regardless of skill level, to make hundreds of decisions over the course of one round. In some cases, the challenge of trying to decide on specifics causes paralysis. The indecision faced by many players is nothing new and even players with a low handicap, like myself, will see themselves in a position of not knowing how to play a shot. It is the nature of golf and something that should be embraced in order to feel successful. Accepting that control on the golf course is sometimes an illusion will help strengthen our mental capacity during any given round.

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Forgetting How To Play Golf

There is an expectation that every low single digit handicap golfers hit pure shots….most of the time. The processes are very easy for onlookers because of the mystique of shooting lower golf scores. Well, I am here to set the stage straight! Not every low shooting golfer hits pure irons all the time or even a vast majority of the time. From time to time, we forget how to play golf and make ridiculous shots that would embarrass a first time player. It is the nature of the beast and I believe I experienced this first hand during my last round.

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Swing Challenges When I Forget Just One Thing

The golf swing is a complex and has many moving parts. When the slightest thing goes wrong, disaster can ensue. I know this because after thousands of swings, I have made my share of clumsy, awkward, unimpressive attempts to hit the little white golf ball. It is amazing that by forgetting one aspect of my golf swing, I will fight with my stroke all day long. It can be very frustrating and sometimes hard to rectify. Continue reading

Playing Golf Old School

Is this playing golf ‘Old Scool’?

Long before electronic measuring devices were introduced, may golfers, including myself, would pace the course for distances. Courses would meticulously measure ranges from sprinkler heads or as a minimum from the 200, 150, and 100 yard markers. They are used by experience players to estimate distance and I have to say that I was pretty accurate. This method of playing would be now be considered ‘Old School’. Continue reading

Grinding in Golf

Base Playdowns 2014 club ball duckI finished the first round of the Wing Playdowns yesterday. This golf tournament is a three-day event to select a 5 man – 2 woman team to represent 8 Wing Trenton at the Ontario Golf Regional competition in July. Due to inclement weather, the second and third round will be played next Wednesday and Thursday. After two days of heavy rain , about 100 mm, the course played tough, long and unforgiving. We played from the tips (blues) and between the hot sun, sprinkles, puddles, ground under repair and casual water everywhere, all the players had to be on their game to score well. I am grateful for my two playing partners; they were very pleasant which really reduced any stress that might have mounted as the round progressed.

Shooting an 81 was a great score. Given the conditions, I felt very good about my result; let me explain. The very first shot was into a 200 yard par three.  Using a 3 hybrid, I struck a smooth shot that tracked straight for the pin. As the ball landed 2 yards short of the green, it kicked straight right and finished 4 yards from the green, but still on the fringe. I could not believe it! When I arrived at the green, I noticed my ball hit the side of a sprinkler head! And so the games began.

I was short on most chips. For some reason I could not adjust to the wet conditions and could not hit the ball hard enough on my approach shots. Uncharacteristically, I only chipped the ball within 10 feet once all day. No matter where I was located, I could not seem to adjust.  Having said that, my putting was very good.  I made at least 5 putts from between 10-15 feet. Most of those were in the side door!

Base Playdowns 2014I am not a long hitter, so I do rely on the extra 10-20 yard roll from my woods and long irons. Well, during this round there was no roll! Therefore, I was hitting many long irons on my second shot. Everyone knows that hitting long irons into the green is not conducive to scoring low! As a result, I walked off with an 81.

Our round took about 4.5 hours. It was a bit slow considering we were a threesome, but we spent quite a bit of time looking for balls in the long rough.  Our course has decided to let some of the grass grow along the course. Normally, this grass is not really in play, but yesterday it was. In some cases the grass is up to your knees and if you find your ball, it was likely you would call an unplayable lie. This change in routine definitely impacted how we played. Focus and concentration was definitely tested!

Some of the things that was very helpful during my round that helped me grind out a good score was:

  • pre-shot routine – this allowed me to stay focused on the shot at hand regardless of other results;
  • mental concentration – I worked both physically and mentally during the round. I found that the use visualization and positive mental focus prior to my round really helped; and
  • being grateful – stuff happens on the course. Good breaks and bad breaks, regardless I was grateful for the opportunity to play golf and hopefully represent my Wing at the next level. This positive attitude kept the negative thoughts from creeping in and really affecting my score.

For those players who understand that you can score well and play poorly; score poorly and play well; and really work on the course keep your score down, yesterday was the latter. I felt that I really worked at playing golf yesterday. My score is a bit higher than normal (about 4-5 strokes) but I am very happy with the result. I am encouraged and excited for the next Wednesday!

Currently, I am tied for 3rd place with two other players. Our moving day will be Wednesday and my strategy is to play my game and shoot my handicap.  If I do that, I will be well situated to move on to the next leg of the competition.

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