Finishing the Round

It was the last few  holes of a  really good round of golf.  Only four holes to play and for me, even par is super.  These last four are not difficult if you play conservatively, hit the ball in play off the tee, target the green’s center, and relax.  15 ended with a par. 16, with a good chip because the lie was good, I got it in the hole in par.  Now comes the 17th, a simple par 5, reachable in two and a wide fairway to hit.

Failure to concentrate on basics led to a very poor shot, a solid hit but far right of target leading down into trees where the ground was hard, and a penalty ditch at the end.  That’s right, the ball enter the ditch, requiring a drop with penalty.  A resulting poor lie and mishit recovery left me 185 yards out.  The hole ended with a double bogie.  The 18th hardly mattered since the round was lost.

This entire story has a moral. The moral is about “Comfort Zones”.  All human beings seek their comfort level, a place where there is no challenge, no pressure, just cool calm relaxation.  Mine seems to be just above par, never at or below par, just above.  If I play poorly, somehow the finish is usually always strong to get the score just above par.  Back in my “Comfort Zone”.

1 Response to Finishing the Round

  1. Bill Lampton, Ph.D.

    You describe so well what many sports psychologists talk about, and every golfer experiences–even professionals. Many times we’ll see a tour rookie who is about to win a tournament, but can’t finish the round successfully. Or what about veteran Adam Scott this year, who had the British Open Claret Jug practically in hand, until he bogied the last four holes? Was he composing his acceptance speech rather than planning his shots? Probably not. Deep down, he was thinking “I don’t belong here. Haven’t been here before. How do I handle this?” Or Van de Velde on the 72nd hole a few years ago–same syndrome.

    Personally, I have experienced what you’re talking about, Chris, many times. That’s the huge challenge in golf. . .to go beyond our normal scoring range and accept that opportunity, rather than botching it by our old doubts and fears. Last Sunday I shot my finest round in 25 years. How? With four holes left I decided, “I’ve earned this, keep it going.” Shortly afterward, I holed out from 130 yards for an eagle 2. What a mind game this is!

    Again, excellent analysis, and you speak for all of us who ever stepped off the first tee.

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