Golf, it’s just a four letter word right? There are other four letter words that would also fit in the category with golf, but we prefer not to use them in public. Golf brings us a sense of reality that we’ve never felt before. You would understand what I meant if you were to play a round of golf yourself, or just watch one for that matter. Actually Irenig that statement and tell you not to watch golf, unless you're preparing for a long hibernation. It’s always entertaining what happens to people while they’re playing. That’s why I intend to show you the side of golf that few people understand, a side of golf I call ‘In the zone’. It’s a portion of the golf game that takes time (10+ years) and effort to achieve. From a pro’s point of view, ‘In the zone’ is having ‘The perfect game’. You can putt, chip, drive, and keep a great attitude even while facing disappointment- which, let's face it, happens often.
Here's the scene:It’s another beautiful day at The Club. Jen and Kim both step up to the third tee box and hit their drives. Kim drives it an amazing 250 yards, while Jen falls short of Kim by a good 30 yards. Even though Kim is 30 yards ahead, she has also found her way into the rough while Jen is sitting perfectly in the middle of the fairway. What can we learn from this scenario? Accuracy is everything. Irepeat, EVERYTHING. You may be able to hit your drive 300 yards, but that doesn’t mean diddly-squat if you’re 50 yards in the woods, inside a beaver den.
Kim and Jen both step up to hit their next shots. Jen takes out her six iron while Kim proceeds to take out her pitching wedge. Jen lands her shot pin high while Kim ends up short and slightly right of the green. Now what exactly was Kim thinking? Here’s Kim’s reaction. “Dangit! I swear this is the right club, I just hit it bad.” Now, hitting it ‘bad’ seems to occur very often with Kim. This is because of improper club selection. Would you try to swing harder with the wrong club just to impress people with your distance and end up way off-line? Or would you take a slow swing with the proper club and hit it perfectly straight? Interestingly enough, most people would not choose the latter. Why? It’s all because of pride- You know who you are. You have the joy of saying “I hit my nine iron 150 yards,” and people will be impressed until they see you hit it straight into the sand trap 20 yards left of the green.
Here’s Kim once again. She has a 20 yard chip. Most people would hear that and say, “Twenty yards? That’s easy.” Yes, it is easy to hit twenty yards, but stopping dead at the hole is a completely different story. Kim’s chip lands and rolls up to three feet from the hole. Trust me, that is in NOWAY an easy shot. Chipping is a saving method, and Kim just happens to be one of the best chippers in the conference. The only stubborn point is that she refuses to use anything other than a wedge. While wedges can be your best friend in certain situations (lob shots, sand traps), they can also get you into a lot of trouble if you skid one across the green while attempting a fancy (and unncessary)flop shot. Using low running clubs like nine irons or seven irons can be more effective for players who aren’t so confident with their chipping skills, and have a lot of green to work with.
Both Jen and Kim end up with a par on that hole. I know what you’re asking. How could Jennifer end up with a par from ten feet? She might be able to shoot darts from 150 yards in, but she seriously needs to work on her putting. That’s what’ll win you a match - it's a statistical fact. Putting is a necessity in golf. You have to practice it at least every other day, and always twice as long as the time you spent on the driving range! When Tiger Woods was winning major after major, the one thing that everyone talked about was his amazing putting. He could sink a putt from forty feet, no sweat. Now that he’s wrapped up in trying to hit his drives longer and longer, he’s lost focus on what’s really important, and he isn’t playing at his best.
Kim and Jen both showed something on this first hole that can make the difference between an even par round and an eighty. Positive attitude! Both girls showed great control of their emotions by turning a bad shot into a ‘grin and bear it’ situation. Even though Kim hit two bad shots in a row, she still came out with a par and that’s the most important thing she could do. One thing that you do not want to do is act like ‘Happy Gilmore’. Throwing clubs, cursing, and beating up opponents is not proper behavior for golfers – and will most likely end with a disqualification from the round if not banishment from the club altogether.
Many people get upset about golf because they can’t seem to learn it in one day. That’s exactly why they shouldn’t play golf! Kim and Jen have spent years practicing their golf games. That’s what sets golf apart from all other sports. You can be decent at soccer and still win a game, you can be decent at short-stop on a softball team and still win a game, but in golf, you can’t be just decent and expect to win by yourself. Practice makes perfect and to be perfect at golf takes? You guessed it, practice.