What inspired this particular post was the U.S. Women’s Open final round. Na Yeon Choi had a triple bogie on the 10th hole. She hit her tee shot left into a hazard. After many minutes of discussion, viewing as many TV camera angles as possible, it was determined that her only option for her next shot, given the point of entry into the hazard, was to go back to the tee and re-load. She didn’t rant and rave, she just hopped on the cart for the ride back to the tee. She placed her ball on the wooden peg, did her usual pre-shot routine, selected her target and made her swing. Her confidence for her tee shot was not shaken, she knew that more than 80 percent of the time, she hits a pretty good ball off the tee and in the general direction of her target. In fact, she played like that her entire round. She knew when she had to make decisions based on percentages. Her very own percentages. She knows her 80/20. Do you?
Here’s the scenario. Your ball has drifted to the right and has come to rest in an adjacent fairway. There are no out-of-bounds stakes, you’re not in a hazard, but the line you have that’s directly to the green has a beautiful meadow of fescue in it. You estimate that it’s about 135 yards away. It looks like it’s about 20 yards wide. Oh, and there’s some rough between the fescue and the front of the green. Your final “guess-timation” to the green is about 160 yards… plus a little elevation…so the total comes to about 170 to the middle of the green and the pin is in the back.
A shot like this is all carry. The ball has to be in the air for at least 165 yards. The question is…do you have that shot in your bag? Not just on occasion, but on a regular basis. Here’s where the 80/20 rule comes into play. If you can make that shot 80 percent of the time, then give it a go. If your success rate is lower than 80%….choose another shot. Take a look around and see if you can play a shot to the side to avoid the trouble in front. You want to put yourself in a position that gives you the best opportunity to be successful. In order to score better on the course, you want to consider the 80/20 rule as you play. If the shot you have to make falls into the 80 percent bracket, you’re good to go, if not, consider other options.
When you play to your strengths your score will certainly be lower. You’ll have more confidence when you play and you will be more in control of your game than ever before. So if you are faced with a challenging shot, one that you’ve made only one other time before, and you are thinking about “going for it”, consider the 80/20 rule and make a good decision. You will be happy that you did!