The key to playing savvy golf is to play to your strengths. You, like me, will no doubt have played with golfers who insist on choosing the club and shot that they think should be played in a particular circumstance, irrespective of whether they are comfortable with that club or have indeed practiced that shot sufficiently to feel confident in its outcome. That’s not playing savvy golf.
The number one rule for the savvy golfer is to feel comfortable with the club that you have in your hand. If it doesn’t feel comfortable and imbue you with confidence then you cannot possibly commit to the shot. Your intent and focus will be obliterated by your lack of comfort and your ball will quite likely shoot off along a very undesirable direction and trajectory.
There are many different ways in which to play each hole you encounter upon the golf course. In reality you will most often find that so long as you make your wedges and putter into “happy clubs” you will score pretty well irrespective of what comes before. I am of course speaking generally here. But even if you choose to hit three shots with a seven iron to get near to your par 5 hole and then finish off with a chip and two putts you are playing safe bogey golf.
What I’m really getting at is that if you are standing on the tee box with your driver in hand and wondering in your own mind whether or not you can pull the shot off, you probably won’t be able to do so. If your ball is in an ugly position behind a bunch of trees and you can’t see or haven’t practiced a shot like the one that Bubba pulled off in the Masters, you probably won’t be able to do it.
When you have a choice of potential shots to play, the best one, the savvy one, is the shot that you are at you are most comfortable with. Someone else might be most comfortable with a 7 iron out of the rough but if you feel best with a 5 wood in your hands then that’s the shot to play. It doesn’t matter what shot should be played. What matters is that you are comfortable with the shot and you can see the shot in your minds eye. Savvy golf is all about playing to your individual and unique strengths.
I am sure that you, like me, have heard your companion golfers commenting along the lines of “Don’t know what’s going to happen here so look out” as they set up to their ball. You, like me, have no doubt done the same yourself! And we kick ourselves afterwards for being so stupid. That’s simply not playing savvy golf!
If you are around the green and a flop shot would be perfect, but you don’t feel comfortable with that club or shot then don’t attempt the shot. Make a mental note to go practice it later so that you do feel comfortable next time. In the meanwhile, choose the next best shot that you do feel comfortable with and play that one. A chip onto the opposite side of the green and a two putt is better than a failed flop shot that digs you into a deeper hole and destroys your confidence and momentum at the same time.
Golf is a very mental game. You have to think well, plan well, manage your expectations and accept outcomes. Savvy golf is all about playing to your strengths.
Roseanna Leaton, golf addict and specialist in golf hypnosis mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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