Friday, September 2, 2011

Prepare for the Worst and Expect the Best

One of my beliefs as a coach is to prepare for the worst, but expect the best.  What that means to me is you practice from poor lies, learn to shape shots and work on controlling your punch outs.   These are examples of preparing for the worst.  You might be having a great round of golf, but a perfect drive down the middle can still land in a big divot.  Your reaction to a bad break or a bad shot is more important than the shot itself.  If that big divot causes anger or a feeling of "why me" your focus might change, even though you did nothing wrong with your physical game.  One way to ensure that your reactions help you stay in the right frame of mind and continue a good scoring round is to see the big divot as a challenge that you can handle.  All rounds of golf include challenges and you never know what they will be or when they will occur.  Your task as a player is to accept them and rise to them.  

Can you handle this or will it handle you?

At SMU, we spend some time practicing for imperfect shots.  Here was one of our practice drills this week.

Trouble shots:
In the short game area, set balls at 50, 75 and 100 yards from one of the greens.  Use different clubs (examples: 7 iron, 5 iron, 3 wood) in your bag to punch the ball so it stays low and rolls onto the green. Imagine there is a tree in front of you or some other object obstructing your path to the hole.

Country Club of Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

It was actually a lot of fun and many of the players had never used their 3 wood or any wood to hit punch shots, so it was also brand new.  The best thing about golf is that you are always learning and adding shots to your game.  We did a little of that this week and we prepared for the worst.  Because of our preparation, we will more easily rise to the challenges we might face when we play the Country Club of Lincoln next week at the University of Nebraska.  It is a classic course that has beautiful tree lined fairways.  We will do a little more preparation next week to get ready for some of the short game shots we will face, especially bunkers. 

Next time you go out to practice, find an area to practice your punch shots and learn to control your distance so you can put yourself in perfect position to score when you need it the most.

Control your trajectory and distance from this position to give yourself a chance at par.

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