Carmel Magazine

Spring/Summer 2020

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TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT B Y L A I R D S M A L L Bouncing Back hrough six holes, you're playing, lights out! You're thinking to yourself, "Wow, Pebble Beach isn't all that hard." Standing on the tee at the par-3 seventh with a sand wedge in your hands, no wind, and only 98 yards between you and the flag, you're staring down a real birdie opportunity and a chance to get your round back to even par. Even par through seven holes on your first trip around Pebble Beach! You're living the dream. Then, suddenly, your dream becomes a nightmare. You pull your tee shot into the left greenside bunker, then skull your next shot into the Pacific, not far from where the sea otters are frolicking in the surf. After dropping into a plugged lie, your four th shot barely clears the bunker. You chip on, two-putt, and walk away with a quadruple-bogey seven. Ouch! On the next hole, determined to get these strokes back in a hurry, you go for the green on your second shot from 210 yards and hit a thin, dying quail that plunges into golf 's most famous ocean chasm. After another triple bogey and dou- ble on 9 and bogey 10, you are seething and wondering how all this happened after such a great start. You have just experienced what is commonly referred to by golfers as "having the wheels fall off your game." It has happened to all of us at one point or another, and even to the PGA Tour players. John Daly has shot an 88 in a TOUR event, making a 10 on one hole. Even Tiger Woods has shot an 81 in the third round of the 2002 Open Championship. As we are returning back to the course, the way we look at the game and how we play it may need some gentle reminders…here is one from golf legend Arnold Palmer. "Palmer's advice to golfers, whether they're trying to bounce back from a bad hole or a tough situation in life, is to "summarize where you are, what your opportunities are for the recovery, and go for it." Palmer did just that prior to teeing off in the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills Country Club. Assessing the situation, he told Pittsburgh sportswriter Bob Drum that a 65 would give him an even-par total of 280 and a good shot at winning the championship. He added that he would start his round by driving the green on the par-four first hole. Then he went out and did both. The same approach is needed when you're coming off a costly double bogey or worse. "Of course, when you do that, your frame of mind is always bad, and the first thing you want to do is get a birdie to make up for your mistakes," said Palmer. "But sometimes that causes you more trouble. Sometimes we lose strokes, and then we get excited, and it costs us more strokes. You have to give that some consideration after a bad hole. I wouldn't get too conservative, but on the other hand I'd sure not lose more strokes to aggressive play." Palmer didn't try to make up all seven strokes in a hurry at Cherry Hills; he stuck with his game plan, which was to drive the green on No.1 and get back to even par for the Championship. "One of the things I've always done is take counsel of where I am and what I've done," said Palmer. "Then I refer to the basics of everything I know and what I know best, whether it be in golf or life, and give it my absolute best shot. Don't be too anxious to do something dramatic. Be sure what you know and what you want to do with those shots." Here are a few more suggestions to help you bounce back: 1. Play to Your Personal Par : One way to keep the wheels from flying off is to have realistic expectations going into the round. If you're an 18-hand- icap playing a difficult course or your first time back out on the course, you can expect to card some bogeys and double bogeys. Most recreational golfers set par as the gold standard on every hole, even though their hand- icap may suggest a bogey is a good score. Keep your expectations realistic, and you won't find yourself trying to hit the perfect shot into every hole as often, and you'll start to avoid those big numbers. Remember this is a game; have fun! 2. Learn to Recognize Tension: Tension in life and golf is a killer! Many To play tension-free golf, you must be able to close this cycle of negativity and stay focused on the shot at hand. T 74 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 2 0

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