Friday, 15 April 2016

The Ultimate Headgame

Golf, as Carl the Grinder is so fond of saying, is the "ultimate headgame."  One day you've seemingly got it; the next day it's gone.  There are many guys who have simply disappeared in this game after being one of the top flight players--too many to even list.  Guys who were regularly in the money, or even winning big events, suddenly can't break par.  

Mike Weir is one of them.  He was in the news after withdrawing after the first round of the Heritage Classic after shooting 78.  His withdrawal angered Dawie Van der Walt who was an alternate who had been hoping to play in the event.  He angrily suggested that Mike just "hang them up" with his hashtag on Twitter.  Mike Weir is a Masters champion who now resides in the golfing wilderness.  Van der Walt doesn't have a green jacket, but I guess he's big enough to think he can kick a man when he's down.  All I can say is, he'd better watch out for the golfing gods.

Sometimes it starts with an injury.  Sometimes it involves personal problems off the course.  Often it results from deciding to make changes to try to get better--changes that actually make you worse.  In the end, however, the problem is almost always found in that five inches between your ears.  

While many high handicappers might think top golf is about being able to hit 300 yard drives, 170 yard eight irons, and spinning wedge shots, the good players will tell you it's a headgame.  There are lots of guys who hit it as well or better than Jordan Spieth, or Danny Willett.  But there aren't many guys who manage their way around a golf course like they do.

Sam Adams posted a question to golfers in his blog.  He asked them whether they would want to hit fewer bad shots, more good shots, or shoot lower scores.  The answers he received were evenly split between the three.  I can tell you one thing for certain:  the top players would all answer that they want to shoot lower scores.  Golf is a game--perhaps the only game--where the winner has the lowest score.  

And, at the end of the day, the guy who has the lowest score is generally the guy who has played the smartest game.  You can hit it better.  You can hit fewer stinkers.  But if you keep making the same mental mistakes, you're likely not to get much better.  Golf is the ultimate headgame.