July 15, 2013

“Golf is hard” — Dr. Jim Suttie

I don’t mind the occasional shot that strays off target. I don’t mind the drive that makes a beeline into the woods. (Well, I do, but I know those kinds of things can happen over a round of golf.) As much as they are exasperating, I don’t even mind the occasional (or not so) three-putt on a hard, bumpy green. What I do mind is stupid mental errors – the kind that, in the turn of a moment, takes a bona fide par or bogey opportunity and turns it into a scrambling mess where all of a sudden double or triple or worse bogey is staring you in the face.

Allow me to explain. I’m playing a fairly care-free nine holes of golf with a couple of Goodboy friends at the rustic, yet challenging Maynard Golf Club. On the par 4 7th, I duck-hooked a drive to the right on a dogleg left to give me a good look at the green. I dutifully grab a five-iron and leave myself just twenty yards in front of the green just short and left of a bunker protecting the right side of the green that sloped back to front. The pin was placed about a half-dozen paces from the front of the green, so I’ve got a pretty clear shot at putting it on or near the front of the green, then two-putting for my bogey five.

But what do I do? Without even thinking about the consequences about what I’m attempting, I get too cute and chip the ball towards the pin. It takes an odd bounce, jerks right, then finds the left side of the bunker. I’m seeing red at my stupidity, but all is not lost – all I have to do is drop it on the green and at worst two-putt for a double-bogey six. Not great for sure, but acceptable given the mental mistake I just made. Instead, I catch too much of the ball and it flies over the green, just barely missing from going out-of-bounds. I chip on, then two-putt for a triple-bogey seven, and two or three shots are lost forever.

On nine my inner voice is telling me to eschew driver for the relative safety of a 3-wood but “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin hits driver and tells me there’s plenty of room out there between a pond on the right and thick woods on the left. I pull driver and smash one straight into the woods. Not satisfied at the choice I just made, I proceed to repeat the same shot, this time another eighty yards further. By this time, I can’t see straight at my stupidity, so I drop a ball, chunk an approach shot, chunk another chip, and three-putt for a crowd-pleasing eight. In just two holes, I turned a possible 43-44 into a embarrassing 50.

I guess what bothers me the most at this point is the mental mistakes that will balloon a score from good to “should” in the span of just a few minutes. It happened at Trull Brook on Friday when, lying three just ten yards from the green on a par 5, I dumped an easy pitch shot into a bunker, then mangled a sand wedge and a couple of pitching wedges before turning an easy bogey six into a three-putt crowd-pleasing nine.

My Uncle Don mentioned yesterday that you can hit all the driving range balls you want but it doesn’t relate to getting around a golf course. And it’s true – driving ranges don’t know anything about hard or soft fairways, strategically-placed bunkers, woods, ponds, lakes, and greens that tilt back to front or left to right or vice-versa. And that’s where good decision-making comes in. You can’t teach it – it’s nothing more than, as Inspector Harry Callahan would say – a man knowing what his limitations are.

A week from today, my four-month immersion into golf and the Goodboys Invitational weekend will be over. As I look back on the countless hours of banging balls and chipping and putting at Superstition Springs Golf Club on hot Arizona afternoons I see the end coming as if it were an encroaching evening from the east on a late summwer afternoon. It’s all coming to a close, and there is precious time to put everything I’ve done and learned into practice. Now is not the time to start getting sloppy and making mental mistakes on and around golf course greens – when I do I’m just wasting all the time and effort I’ve put into this to date.

I’m learning just how hard it is for someone of my relative golf talent to shoot bogey golf. I can play bogey or less golf as I did today on five of nine holes, but if the other four holes are triple or quadruple bogied what’s the point? I’ve got five days to learn how to make better decisions on a golf course before the Goodboys Invitational starts.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 00:33 | Comments (0)
No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info