Saturday, 12 November 2016

Trouble Shots

If there's one thing all golfers can be certain of, it's that sooner or later--and often sooner than later--they will find themselves in trouble. It's part of the game. And, as with most other subjects, Bobby Jones provided some real valuable insight into how we should manage trouble shots. In his book Down the Fairway, Bobby wrote:

    "As a general proposition I fancy it might be laid down that the main object of a trouble shot in golf is to get out of trouble. This conclusion is not so obvious as at first it may appear, especially in the case of the average golfer, or worse. In that case, the object, or it might be better called the perilous ambition, is not only to get out of trouble but also to achieve a shot the equivalant of that which might have been made had the element of trouble not been injected.
     He wants to get there, anyhow.
     Now this ambition is in a way laudable, and at times it is grimly necessary to execute a shot which will minimize the punishment for getting in trouble. But it should always be borne in mind that, if a brilliant recovery be needed, it is far more feasible to make this brilliant effort after getting the ball back into a thoroughly playable position.
     Now, I can speak with considerable feeling, if not with authority, on this point. The greatest improvement in my game in the last five years has been a growing disposition for calculating a difficult situation, and an increasing distaste for the taking of reckless chances. In the old days, furious with myself for the missed shot that had incurred the trouble, I was quite ready without further consideration to go up to the ball and put my back into a shot designed without delay to take up the slack. Now, I figure the chances a bit--sometimes."

Bobby then went on to describe some situations he had encountered and how he had dealt with them.  He concluded by saying: "So, I can't help the opinion that it is judgement more than mechanical execution that counts when you're in trouble."

Golf is the ultimate head game. What is most important for all of us, regardless of our level of skill, is our ability to use good judgement. As Bobby Jones aptly pointed out, it is easier to learn to use good judgement than it is to learn to swing a club like Harry Vardon. So, we should be encouraged. If we take the time to analyze the situation and hit the smart shot, we just might find that we will have fewer big numbers on our card. And, making fewer big numbers is the key to scoring.