Has this ever happened to you? You’ve been playing along just fine and on the 5th hole, after a fantastic drive, you miss hit your next shot and it’s nowhere near your target. It ends up in a deep green side bunker. You can’t believe it and you’re mad. As you take out your sand wedge and hop into the bunker, you’re still stewing about the shot that got you there. Your first attempt at getting out of the bunker fails. Your stress level goes up along with your heart rate and tension level. The second attempt doesn’t quite make it to the green. Finally the third attempt lands you on the green some 40 feet away! It’s absolutely the fault of the previous shot!! You still can’t believe that you missed the green in the first place!
If you dwell on the past shot, “the woulda, coulda, shoulda syndrome,” then the shot you’re about to make will suffer because you’re not “present enough” to be successful. Your attention is elsewhere, therefore you cannot be fully present to execute to the best of your ability. The past is truly the past and we can’t do anything about something that’s already over. Yes, we can learn from it to improve performance for the next time we’re in a similar situation, but we cannot change what has already occurred.
I was inspired to write about this topic after recently watching two of my students achieve victories in their respective events. Although their tournaments differed greatly, they demonstrated amazing determination and presence as they each went on to win.
The Ferncroft Country Club Men’s Club Championship
Two players finish the event in a tie. They go immediately to a 3 hole aggregate playoff. It was the third and final playoff hole. All Jeff had to do was par the hole to win the tournament. He hit his second shot just over the green while his opponent’s second shot found its way to the putting surface. Jeff looked his chip over, stuck to his routine and executed the shot. He ran it past the hole more than he had planned. By no means was it a tap in putt. His opponent made a two putt for par, now all eyes were on Jeff. And it was a gallery! Jeff stuck to his routine and drained the putt for the par and the win! He could have easily stayed in the past and been frustrated over the chip that ran past the hole, but he didn’t. He let it go and was absolutely present for his final putt of the match.
The Drive, Chip And Putt Sub-Regional Event Girls 12-13
The three disciplines for the contest provide the contestants with opportunities to earn points. Drive it in the 40 yard wide fairway and you earn points for how far the ball travels. If you’re out of the grid, zero points. Chip it in the hole, or in the rings that surround the hole and you rack up points; the same for the putts. Each player gets three shots then moves on to the next skill. Driving is first up, and Sydney’s strength has always been her driver. She can bomb it! The first two drives she hit didn’t stay in the grid. Two shots, zero points. She shook them off, stayed with her routine and the third drive stayed in. She moved to chipping and it was as if driving never happened. She focused, stayed with her routine and earned points on each of the three chips! She did exactly the same with the putting. Her final score was 88. She won the chipping category, placed second in the putting category and won the overall contest in her age group!
Both players did a fantastic job of staying present for each and every shot. What a treat it was to watch! Congratulations to Jeff O’Connor, winner of the Ferncroft Country Club’s Men’s Club Championship and Sydney DiGiulio, winner of the Sub-Regional Drive, Chip and Putt Competition! Well Done!!