Monday, 19 December 2016

What Makes a Good Golfer?

I played with Cal yesterday at Watchesaw Plantation East in Murrels Inlet, SC. It was a lovely day, with the sun shining, a nice breeze, and about 72 degrees.

At the turn Cal hit a poor tee shot that left him in a position where he needed to hit a hooking shot around some trees and over water about two hundred yards if he was to get close to the green. He examined his situation and then wisely hit his next shot safely to the 150 yard marker. 

As luck would have it, after completing this shot, Cal asked me what I thought made a good golfer. I quickly responded that what he just did is what makes a good golfer. He could have tried a heroic recovery shot likely beyond his capability and, in the process, made a big number. But he played the smart shot and got out of trouble, giving himself a chance to save par, or at least have a good chance at bogey.

Bobby Jones wrote about one of the old-time greats of the game, J.H. Taylor, part of the great British trio that included Harry Vardon and James Braid. Bobby wrote in his book Bobby Jones on Golf:

    "J.H. Taylor made the statement that all the great golfers he had known had possessed a quality he chose to call 'courageous timidity.' That happy phrase expresses exactly the qualities a golfer, expert or not, must have in order to get the most from whatever mechanical ability he may have. He must have the courage to keep trying in the face of ill luck or disappointment, and timidity to appreciate and appraise the dangers of each stroke, and to curb a desire to take chances beyond reasonable hope of success. There can be no doubt that such a combination in itself embraces and makes possible all the other qualities--determination, concentration, nerve--we acclaim as parts of the ideal golfing temperament for the championship contender as well as the average golfer."

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