I've been reading Sam Snead's book, The Education of a Golfer, in which he talks about learning the importance of not quitting; not mentally mailing it in when things go awry--or when things are going really well for that matter. Because no matter how good you are, there are plenty of times when you are so disgusted, so discouraged, you'd just like to pack it in. Sam wrote:
"Think back to the number of times you've followed a sequence of poor shots with good ones; the number of times this has happened should surprise you. Now work to increase this pattern in your game. Eliminate 'quits,' develop a 'staying' attitude, and your score will drop.
Be aware that missed tee shots are less critical than they seem; midirons, short irons, and the putter are your scoring weapons nearly 60 percent of the time. Usually the percentage favors your chance to save a 'lost' hole.
Imagine that par on a hole is one more stroke than the card shows; in this frame of mind, when you've landed your opening shot or shots in trouble, you'll be better able to stay in there and bail yourself out.
Don't fool yourself that you can form the 'what-the-hell' attitude on some holes and play even average golf; the habit will wreck your game from stem to stern. Fight back against disaster, and the self-respect it brings is worth plenty in saved strokes thereafter.
Far more matches and tournaments are won by dogged recoveries from trouble than by blowups when a golfer is in the lead... And don't 'quit' because you're far ahead: play your hardest when you're sitting prettiest--and stay that way."
The interesting thing about Sam's book is the fact that the biggest and most valuable lessons he learned as a young player were mental, not mechanical. Like any great player, Sam was blessed with loads of natural ability. We can only dream of swinging it as smoothly and powerfully as the Slammer. But the lesson of being dogged and determined when we play is something we all can learn. We want to be that guy who never gives up. After all, nobody likes a quitter; even the quitter himself.
Never quit, because your next shot, if you really focus, might be one of the best you've ever hit. You never know--unless of course you quit.