When is it good enough?

May 17th, 2009 by John Graham Leave a reply »
This is a question I have struggled with for many years and one I see my students struggle with also. We all know(or should know) that the quality of the mistakes determines our skill level in golf. Or at the very least, we see the best player’s in the world hit bad shots on a regular basis. For some reason, the expectation of continual consistency seems to be an unattainable goal for many of us.

How do we know when we are good enough to compete. I think this answer varies on the confidence of the player. How did Bruce Lietzke know he was good enough when he hit his 30 yard “slice” all around the golf course. I mean, is hitting it basically straight the only way to determine a golfer’s abilty? Absolutely not. Many of you that read my forum and this blog are better than you know. The thing is, many of you don’t apply what you do in the heat of competition. With everything we have learned about course management we know what “should” be done. If what “should” be done is a weakness of ours, are we strong enough, mentally, to do what we can do vs. what we should do.

The ability to stay mentally strong enough to aim 30 yards left over out of bounds says alot about Lietzke. He had to know very few people were doing it and I’m sure a bunch of people were mocking it. Yet, he has led one of the best lives of a professional golfer that there ever was. He KNEW what he could do and he did it over and over and over and over until he got his paycheck at the end of the week.

So, what can we learn from this? Those of you that hit it far enough to compete, need to be ok with what it is that you do. Does someone need to be able to hit a draw and fade wedge on demand to compete? No! They need to be able to take advantage of the times that match their strengths and survive the times that challenge their weaknesses.

I remember watching last year’s US Open at Torrey Pines and I guarantee you if there was no gallery that week, Tiger would not have been on TV. He hit the ball all over the map and if the rough wasn’t trampled down we would have seen a lot more holes like his first during the playoff where he made double bogey because he couldn’t hit it out of the grass. Is Tiger the best player in the world? No question! Is he even close to being the best ball striker? Nope. But he knows what he is capable of at any time and is strong enough in his belief.

In short, you only need the ability to hit it far enough to reach all the holes. After that, how you get there doesn’t really matter.

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