Who watched the Barclay’s yesterday?
Driver 80 yards right on 16. Driver almost into the Hudson River on 18. Almost last among the players even or better at 40+ feet average length birdie putt when most of the leaders are under 30 feet.
Anyway, let’s segue way on to a new subject. Someone asked me to post about the mental and strategy game, Tiger’s biggest strength, which is pretty funny as that is what probably kept me off the Tour in mid 90’s. Actually, maybe it was a good request because I learned from my mistakes.
The biggest mistake I see made mentally is the “don’t hit it there” syndrome. People tell themselves not to hit it in the lake, OB in the sand. They caution themselves not to scull chips or move their heads on putts. Guess what? You subconscious doesn’t understand that. All it hears is lake, OB, sand, scull and move head. You have to give your brain active direction. Fairway, green and keep head still in putting.
The next mental issue I would like to tackle is fear. Many ams lose strokes because they are so afraid that over the green is usually worse, they often end up short. They don’t hit enough club because they don’t have a realistic view of how far they hit it, because they are afraid that one best shot of the day might go over the green into the disgusting areas. In reality, that fear of the one over the green shot, causes them to be short 4-6 times.
Let’s do the math on second shots to par 4’s. Let’s say for every one shot over the green that you are afraid of hitting, you cause yourself to be short 5 times (that is about the average I have witnessed). That’s 5 fewer birdie chances and probably three more balls in the dreaded sand, which I know most of you hate. You would pretty much have to make triple or quad every time you hit the ball over the green to make this fear valid.
The next issue is ego. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen an am with a 20-30 yard slice aim 10 feet left of a back right pin and here is the thinking that goes into that. I was playing a par 3 one day with a friend who is about a 20 handicap. He plays a very big slice on probably 80% of his shots. We are on a 180 par 3 with a back right pin. I aimed 7 iron about 30-40 feet left and tried to cut it. It didn’t cut much and finished 20-30 feet left of the pin. My friend aims pretty much right at the pin and hits his patented slice into an impossible spot right of the green. Something he often does to a right pin.
He dropped his head in disgust and I told him it was a pretty good swing but he was aimed too far right…right at the pin. He gave me a funny look and said, “isn’t that the object, to aim at the pin?”
I told him the object was not to aim at the pin, but to have the ball finish at the pin, so he needs to aim at the far left side of the green, so even if the ball gets his maximum slice, it will still be on the green. He said it is not his object to slice the ball, it is to hit the ball straight, which he does 20% of the time, but he obliged me, hit another ball while aiming at the left side of the green and hit it dead straight and missed the green.
“That is what I am talking about, I just hit a perfect shot and ended up missing the green.”
I tried to explain to him that he now has an easy chip for the 20% he hits perfect and the other 80% are on the green. The problem was he didn’t like hitting his best shot and missing the green.
Do you see a trend between the fear and ego departments?
Tiger is the best example that golf is a game of misses. Golf is like a chain. You are only as strong as your weakest link…or shot. You want your misses in a good spot. Now we move on to the biggest point on why ams score so poorly.
Unless you are a low single digit, most of your shots are misses. That being the case, you have to play for a miss. That means your club selection will put your most solid shot over the green and your straight shots not near the pin. As I have shown, ego and fear prevent this from happening because everyone assumes their next shot will be perfect.
If I was at all confusing here, let me sum up. Assume most of your shots will be mishits and play for the shot you hit the most often in both in direction and distance(not average distance, the distance you hit it most often). That is the key to lower scores…other than practicing your short game more. 🙂