There are many keys to improvement in golf and most of us spend a great deal of time and a lot of money trying to find the magic tip that will fix it all. After years of searching, I think I've stumbled on something that I've needed from the beginning. It's been there all the time and I thought it was just a joke.
"Golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course … the space between your ears." – Bobby Jones
I know I'll never be a scratch golfer but I also know that I should score much better than the totals I see on my scorecards. I now understand what has been holding me back. ME!
I've never been one to launch clubs vast distances, although I do remember getting rid of a driver on the fourth tee one day. I had enough with a driver whose shaft was too flexible and could only hit it right – way right. A player on an adjunct hole saw the helicopter crash land, retrieved it and started walking toward me. Embarrassed, I met him half way, handed him the head cover and wished him luck with his new driver. Later in the round I saw him using it on a tee shot. It went Out of Bounds Right and I smiled, knowing I had done the right thing.
But I did not improve immediately after removing the offender. I knew that I had ruined my round and I had fourteen more holes to suffer through. You would not believe the names I called myself (maybe you would). Now I realize that if a caddy said the things to me that I said to myself, I would have punched him in the nose.
The PGA tour has started tracking "bounce back" and measuring what players score after a bogie. Looking at my game there's a 90% chance I'll do worse on the next hole because I'm still mad about that tee shot two holes ago. You've got to hate those guys that remind you it's one shot at a time because they are right.
How mad does a missed three footer make you? Ever cross your mind on a hole following?
I'd hate to know the number of rounds that I've sabotaged with stinkin 'thinkin'. I'm somewhere near perfect but I'm seeing some real improvement as I focus on the mental side of golf. It's not a quick fix but the improvement to date tells me that not only do my scores improve but I've also felt better about my game and my practice sessions.
"It is nothing new or original to say that golf is played one stroke at a time. Bobby Jones
At least I'm not alone in my quest.