The_coach series: #14 Course Management (Part 2)

One of the frustrating bit about my game is my inability to get below the 18 handicap and shoot in the 80s.  This is compounded by the fact that I have the distances and the game to get below my 18 HC. My game will have some great holes even an occasional birdie, but will also have 2-3 blowouts which cost me the game. So my question to the_coach was how do I develop the mental side to stay composed during the game.

Today’s I had an eagle opportunity and I left it short.  After having driven the green on the 8th P4 on Shey, I was really pumped and was fairly euphoric about rolling my first eagle in and lifting the Masters 🙂 .. but then I left it short by a wide margin. While this is the case of being too happy, I am usually at the other end where I will be licking my wounds.

  1. I dont get too upset with hitting the occasional bad shot and getting bad result. But it is the good or avg shot that gets the wrong bounce or gets carried off by the wind that does my head in.
  2. Also every round I will have 4-5 shots where I will thin or fat my iron/driver/wood..

I need to get these off my card and I will be in the early teens sooner than I think.


The_coach’s view>>

Glad it’s starting to get a ways better. You have to find a way to stay level, neither too up or too down, gotta stay in the present of that one shot you’re about to play, cliché but absolutely essential. Get ahead of yourself, it will bite you, dwell on what ‘bad luck you’ve had, it will bite you.

Doesn’t mean you can’t ‘enjoy’ the game or the company. But as far as your own game, the bad shot, bad luck has happened dwelling on it will cost you some more. Get over excited about a great shot, a great score on a hole, & that will interfere with your next shot, as your concentration will have gone.

It’s a hard thing to do, but you have to develop a trigger prior to the shot in hand that switches you back into game mode, after the walk & talk with your playing partners. You have to shut it all out. Some pro’s you’ll see tug on their glove, some use a breath as they stand behind the play visualizing the shot, see it in the mind, where you want it to go (not the bunkers. or the water) but a positive image of the line to your target.

Don’t take on miracle shots, play to the game you have, choose the right side of the fairway to give you the best line in, chose to play for the ‘safe’ part of the green so you don’t leave it in the bunker. All these kinds of things, pick the best side of the tee box to tee up for the shot you want to play.

Always pick your line from behind the ball & pick a spot in front of the ball on that line, aim to set it off over that spot be it drive, fairway shot, or putt. As well as doing this with short pitches & chips, pick where you first want the ball to land on it’s way to the hole.
It’s all about first having the discipline to get all the ‘static’ fundamentals’ correct, then aim to swing easy, complete the turn going back swing to a balanced finish.

Put the practice in with a mind to the things I’ve outlined, watch the drills, copy them, get it down, then you can build some trust in the swing motion out on the course, you then just have to aim, manage your emotions, get a feel for course management, play confidently to the standard you’re at, accept the good, bad luck the same ways as that will always be there whatever standard of player you become. 

Don’t focus on the handicap, focus on the shot in hand, do that the scores will begin to take care of themselves.  Let thoughts of beating handicap drift in during play & the wheels will come off.
Stay in the moment, it’s the only way.

Good luck with it.


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