Back in April, I wrote a post about my continuing struggles with Poolesville, and how the course had won again in our most recent battle. Today, I threw down another challenge and finally whipped it. Those of you that fight with a golf course know how sweet victory feels once you prevail, and most of you are familiar with the feeling that sets in afterwards when you think, “That wasn’t that difficult,” or “How’d I manage to play so bad there for so long?” Truth be told this was a mental victory more than anything because Poolesville was totally in my head and I knew it. I changed my mental approach and it seemed to work.
The first step was to schedule a game when conditions would be in my favor. I booked the round when the advanced forecast was calling for heat and humidity and no wind; perfect scoring conditions. Next, I took an honest look at my past performance at the venue. Over the last 8 years, I played 19 rounds to a stroke average of 80.26 and a paltry 6.32 GIR average. The last seven rounds were particularly frustrating with terrible ball striking and only one sub-80 score and a 92 mixed in from early 2014. The propensity to double-bogey the first hole for three straight rounds didn’t set me up for success either, especially when I was trying to overcome all these mental blockers.
My inspiration was the ESPN telecast of The Open on Friday, when they were describing Jordan Spieth and his caddy, and how they develop a game plan for each golf course and don’t deviate. So I did some hole by hole analysis and scribbled a thought down on a piece of paper on how to play each of the holes. I folded up this mini game plan and put it in my pocket. Today, I pulled it out on every tee to re-commit to how I wanted to play the hole.
I don’t know if this is the reason for my success, but it did allow me to focus on playing the game and prevented over-mechanical thoughts from creeping in. At the end of the day, I hit 13 greens and shot a 2-over 73 which was three clear of my lowest round at Poolesville.
Sometimes you know what you have to do but simply can’t execute it because you’re not fully committed. It really helps to write it down to cement the commitment.
How’s your focus and commitment coming this season?