Explaining golf's fickle nature (and wisdom from past Masters winner Larry Mize)
Why is golf such a fickle mistress? I mean, how in the world can you be so good one day and so bad the next? Where does it go? How does seeming competency at one moment turn into “I don’t have a clue” in the next? Remember the time you were on the practice tee on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. working on your swing, trying to find something that would save you in tomorrow’s tournament? And then it happened…a little move, maybe just adjusting your left wrist at the top of the swing. You took some cup out and flattened it just a bit more. Voila! You’ve got it! The answer. Now the ball is literally flying off the face and zeroing in on your target.
Then comes Saturday. It is twenty minutes before your tee time and you are warming up. You put your “new move” into play, but all you get is a sharp pulled hook. You try it again and then again. You start to panic. The magic from last evening has disappeared. You scramble to figure out how to get out of these left to left shots. An adjustment has to be made. Lets try this… yeah, it seems to work with the seven iron, but how about the driver? NO…nuts…I am pushing them all to the right! Five minutes to go…better hit some putts. But what swing am I going to use now? Sound familiar?
I often get the “Why does this happen?” question from students. Hey, I wonder about it myself. I can’t answer where it goes but I can speculate on why. First is the physiological. We are just not the same physically every day. We may be a little weaker, or stronger, tighter or more flexible, more rested or tired, more healthy or more sick. These physical differences may not seem great but they can be disastrous when applied to a game of golf. The margin of error in striking a perfect shot is very small. A driver swung at 100 mph (distance of about 240 yds.) with the club head traveling on the correct path but a 4 degree open club face will slice into the rough if not in the woods. Four degrees isn’t very much. Yet a stiff back, a sore wrist, a low energy level, a head cold, you name it, can produce it.
I won’t even touch on the psychological, which can be just as damaging. The point is, golf is an exacting activity that is quite hard to predict and impossible to perfect. We all get our share of “come-up-ences” especially when we think we have figured it out. So don’t despair when you experience the great “Friday to Saturday” transformation. Its just golf. In the words of past Masters champion Larry Mize, “If you play the game you are going to experience a certain amount of disappointment and frustration…but misery is a choice.” So when those unexplainable days appear, find some other part of your golf experience to celebrate other than your score. If you do, you can still be a winner.
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