How many times has this happened to you: You’re midway through your round, staring down a tricky tee shot. An off-target shot either way will spell certain doom, whether your foe is water or trees or just an obstinate fairway bunker. So instead of facing up to the danger, you put the driver back in the bag and play a long or middle iron…and proceed to chuck it into the lake anyway. Or the woods. Or dribble it off the tee.
It’s the worst feeling ever. You made the “smart play” and you weren’t rewarded for it. If you had known what would have happened, you would’ve just played the driver. Surely, a big swing wouldn’t have been any worse, right?
I hate that feeling. And one I’ll do anything to avoid.
It’s easy for us to mock the pros when they can’t tell themselves to club down, play conservatively. How many times have we jeered at Phil Mickelson for not making the smart play? No really, I’m asking. I’ve totally lost count.
But I’m not Phil Mickelson. I can’t hit my 8-iron with Patriot Missile accuracy. And I’m not playing for a green jacket or a silver cup that’ll sit in my trophy case. I’m a 27 handicap that might break 100 on a given day if he’s lucky. So whenever I climb onto that teebox and see wide-open grass or a big dogleg or half of Lake Michigan, I’m thinking the same thing every time.
I’m bombing it.
I’m playing driver and I’m taking a full swing. I’ll plan out my ball’s flight path as best I can. And then I’ll step up to my ball and crush it.
I’ll try to hit the shot that I know I can’t hit. And one of two things will happen: I’ll either hit the shot of the day (and amaze all of my playing partners), or hit my third shot either off the tee or 200-plus yards from it, knowing that I didn’t cower in the face of a little adversity.
Besides, I can always buy more balls.
I’ll be honest. Most of the time, this strategy is hilariously awful. Those shots find the Black Lagoon or Sherwood Forest much more often than they find the fairway, but I don’t care. I don’t play golf to shoot low, but to have fun. And stepping outside of myself for a chance to hit an amazing shot? That’s all kinds of fun.
The next time you’re teeing up on that long Par 3 or wondering if you can carry the lake with a wedge, give that a thought. Don’t take away your chance to amaze yourself. You might be surprised by what throwing caution to the wind allows you to achieve.
And you might have a lot more fun.
Zach Johnson won the Dallas-area Colonial tournament after shooting a even-par 72 in the final round on Sunday. Jason Dufner, who playing in the final group with Johnson, shot a final-round 74.
Johnson almost marked himself out of his eighth career PGA Tour win after a ball-marking error on the 18th hole. Johnson moved his original ball mark out of the line of Dufner’s putt, but then failed to replace it on the original spot afterward. Despite the error (and the ensuing two-stroke penalty), Johnson still won the tournament by a one-shot margin.
Roger Chapman won the Senior PGA Championship, but was arguably overshadowed by Hale Irwin nearly shooting his age on Sunday. Irwin, 67, shot a 68 on Sunday, good enough for third place…The LPGA was off last weekend; they’ll resume action in New Jersey at the ShopRite Classic this weekend.
A New Jersey golf course designed by one of golf’s great course designers is making a comeback. The A.W. Tillinghaust-designed track at Shackamaxon Golf and Country Club in Scotch Plains suffered from underuse, fading membership and low staff morale before being put up for bid over a year ago. When RDC Golf Group put in their bid for developing the property, they promised to keep the course intact and build around it.
RDC’s efforts to save the course are coming to fruition. “I think members that have been there a really long time will say that they’ve seen a very marked and very rapid turnaround,” CEO Christopher Schiavone told the Star-Ledger.
Tillinghaust is nothing short of a legend as one of the original greats of golf course design. His work includes the famous courses at Winged Foot, Baltusrol, and the black course at Bethpage State Park.
As golf gains more credibility as a sport and not just a social venture, the idea of “golf fitness” is gaining traction as a method for improving one’s game. One couple in Memphis are gearing their services toward golf clientele with a blend of functional training and classical golf instruction.
“I do think that there is a mentality out there that if I play more golf, I’ll be in better shape, but I think it goes both ways,” said Judi Davis, who co-owns Germantown Golf Fitness with her husband Larry. “For the most part, people think if I get in better shape, I’ll play a better golf game.”
Anyone that’s played 18 holes (even in a cart) can attest to the physical demands of the game. It’s refreshing to see this approach taken toward game improvement.
Video of the Week
This is old, but might be new to you: this hilarious mock boy band created by Ben Crane, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, & Hunter Mahan in their rendition of “Oh Oh Oh” as the Golf Boys. It’s one of the funniest riffs on pop music out there anywhere, and not just from guys that play golf a lot better than you do.
Show Us Your Beautiful Swing
Don’t forget that you have until the end of June to send us an image of your golf swing in action. You could win prizes from Callaway Golf and Taylor Made. Take your camera to the course and you could get some sweet gear out of it.
Swing Thought of the Week
“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s golf game: it’s called an eraser.”