First off, let me just say that this is one the peak experiences of being a golfer…hanging out with some friends for a long weekend or more and making golf your central focus. It doesn’t get any better than this and you should find some golfers and do it!
My 2 brothers and I showed up at our condo and right off the bat, were pleasantly surprised at the golf prints on the wall in the main room. The golf attitude heats up!
We get settled down in our condo, have a beer together and go right to the course! We get there at 3:30pm and plan on playing the short course, 18 holes of par 3s, but it’s full and so we say what the heck and step out onto the 1st tee with no warmup at all. We just figure we will work out the kinks on the course as a practice round until my son shows up in a couple of days.
I step up to the first tee after a couple of stretches and I flick the switch in my mind that sends me back to all those great drives I’ve had in the past. I’ve done my preshot routine so many times now that my zone trigger has become that moment when I’m standing over the ball and just about to start my backswing. I hit it pretty good and 250 yards down the left side of the fairway. As I walk up to the ball, I’m thinking “Square and Point” over and over. I pull out a pitching wedge for a 120 yard approach and I’m pin high about 15 feet left with a downhill putt. Not having hit one putt on the course, I bend down and feel the grass and estimate the speed. I end up 3-putting from a total lack of feel for the putt. I take a few more practice putts before going to the next hole (yes, that’s within the rules).
It’s my first round with a new set of irons and I’m all over the place with them but my chipping and putting game make up for it and I finish 2 over. Now, it’s a pretty easy course but I’m extremely happy with my practice round and go to bed that night replaying all my great shots as I drift off. It’s a great golf day and here’s the keys to the round that comes from my teachings.
1. Go into a new round ASSUMING you are going to play well. But, it’s not an excited feeling, no, that can turn to tension really easily. What you want is a relaxed, cocky attitude….I thinking thoughts like “I do this all of the time…this is easy…I know I’m going to play well today…etc.
2. Do nothing tricky. I played extremely conservative not having had any warmup. I used more club and swung the clubs easier. I did everything I could to keep the ball in play.
3. For putting, the key was to ALWAYS make sure I had my eyes directly over the target line. When I forgot to do that, I missed three putts from inside 4 feet. I now know I need to incorporate that into my pre-putt routine.
4. I noticed that when I took my time on chips and picked my spot and focused like I do on my other shots, they come off well. It’s so easy to be lazy on chips and treat them like longer irons where we just pick a spot and fire away. You’ve got to walk up and look at the green like a putt.
I’m always learning, always observing. I’m constantly going over what goes well and telling my inner golfer that I want more of that. Tomorrow’s another day and another challenge we can all look forward to whether or not we are on the course!
Greens and fairways,