I hope I don’t offend the Golf God’s with this post. I truly believe it’s the Indian not the arrow that controls what happens. However, there is a certain amount of luck needed on the golf course. I think it was Gary Player who said “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” A very true statement, because the more you practice, the better you get. The more you play, the better you get. The more consistent you get. The more you put yourself in scoring position.
All this is true, but what about when you hit the shot right down the fairway, right where you want. The ball lands and instead of bouncing forward, the ball takes a sharp turn to the right. What the heck? You hit a sprinkler head. You probably hit it on the right side and boom, there goes your ball. That’s bad luck and no amount of practice will fix it. I like to think the Golf Gods decided to screw with me. Sometimes they can be tough.
Similarly, you hit a great shot. It’s rolling up to the green. Oh no, it’s turning a little left from the slope. Stop, Stop, Stop. Crap it caught the hill on the left side of the green and rolled into the bunker. Now you’re pin high in the bunker. The Golf Gods decided to test your sand game. Let me use one more example. You hit a great drive down the fairway and get some good roll, but you end up in a large divot that wasn’t fixed or sanded. Not practice, not skill, just bad luck. Don’t get me wrong, practice is what helps you hit a good shot out of that lie. And let’s not forget the shots over water. The Golf Water God can be very fickle. Sometimes she leaves you alone. Sometimes she eats your ball and sometimes she teases by having the ball skim or hit a rock and come out of the water. I watched one golfer at Shoreline not even hit but just throw an old ball into the water and move to the drop zone, saying ‘paying homage to the water god’.
Water used to really bother me. I’d always take out an old ball (guaranteeing to hit it in the water.) I’d tense up. Hard to have a smooth swing when you’re tense. I had to overcome that since, I regularly play a course with water on 15 of 18 holes. On my first round at the club I lost 9 balls. Like everything else, it took some time but I learned to play water and learned to play sand. Some of my friends think I’m a good sand player. I got there by playing. Play is a form of practice and it’s more fun. At least for me.
That being said, my true thought goes to why you can play so well for a month or so and then boom, it’s gone. The putts no longer go in. Your speed on the greens is off. You leave yourself long putts because you’re not chipping close enough to the hole. Maybe your driving is off, not as straight or as long as it has been. Tuesday all was well. Wednesday was horrible. What happened? Then Friday wasn’t good, although better than Wednesday. Where did it go? You know it’s a small thing. A tweak. However, it is still so frustrating and will continue to be until you can tweak it back. Sometimes a playing partner may notice a little something or you can look at your set-up. It will come back but when?
What I’m talking about here is real. It just happened to me. It’s just happened to Jordan Spieth. Jordan Spieth has played great golf this year. He won 5 tournaments including 2 majors and contended in the other 2 majors. He reached the lofty position of Number 1 in the world. He then gets into the FedEx Cup playoffs and misses the cut in the first 2 events. What happened? I don’t know. What I do know is that if it can happen to Jordan Spieth, a top professional, it can certainly happen to me, a real amateur.
Armed with this knowledge, I need to control my emotions. I need to relax and just go out and play golf. It will return. I will find that little tweak. I need to practice my putting and chipping. These are the scoring clubs and even if my distance off the tee is off, it is my short game, chipping and putting, that will help me recover and score. I hate to use the old cliché but ‘Drive for Show and Putt for Dough.’ Following my own advice, Golf is fun and although I momentarily get angry with myself, I don’t let it last. I get over it before the next shot.
There are a few things to remember:
- It’s not the bad shot you hit but the next shot that counts. Relax and recover well. As many times as it takes.
- A fellow golfer said to me one day “you’re not good enough to get mad.” Think about it. As amateurs we’re destined to hit bad shots. Follow number 1, relax and hit a good recovery.
- It really doesn’t matter if your chip shot or pitch shot is from the side of the green or the front of the green. Just hit a good chip shot.
- The old advice always is ‘If you want to make more putts, chip it closer to the hole’.
Tomorrow is a new day and since I’m playing in the morning, I need to heed my own advice. I’ll be back in a day or two and let you know how I did.
Did the Golf Gods smile on me again?