Hi! Welcome to my second post! (For those who didn’t read my first post, I am a Birdie level First Tee participant who is writing about her day-to-day golf experiences.) I have been on the golf course a lot this week, and I am looking forward to writing all about it. High school golf has started, and I’m up to my eyes in water hazards. Also, chip shots and pitch shots are driving me crazy (almost literally). All in all, it’s been a great week!
The first high school practice was just… well, practice. I simply went back and forth between the practice green and the driving range. I am going to skip over what happened on Tuesday for that reason, even though I had a lot of fun and hit some great shots.
On Wednesday, I went out on the course and played three holes. The first hole I played started really well – it was a par four, and I was right next to the green in two shots! But my next shot went long and landed in a bunker. As a result, I spent my next four shots in futile efforts to escape. The first three shots took too much sand with them and fell short. The last one did not fall short. Yay! Then I had an uneventful two putt. I walked away with a grand total of ten. So, in summary – my long and short game were good but my approach and bunker shots were not good. Here I’m going to insert a short history of Birdie and approach shots. I had a hard time learning how to chip and an even harder time learning to pitch. I have since gotten to a point somewhere between good and okay. However, I still freeze when faced with one of these shots. As a result, I can execute a practice chip with ease, but I struggle when faced with the reality. Water hazards also cause me to mess up, as the next paragraph will indicate.
The next hole was a par three fraught with water hazards–two regular ones and a single lateral one. My first shot went straight into the first regular water hazard. The hazard was dry, so I retrieved my ball and hit a beautiful shot onto the grass on the other side. My next three shots landed in the second regular water hazard, although normally it would have been easy for me to hit a ball the distance I needed to. Once I finally reached the edge of the green, I chipped my ball all the way across twice and ended with a three putt. Counting all the penalty shots, I got fifteen. Remember, this is a par three. I think I deserve a reward for perseverance!
The last hole I played went much better than the other two (I got a five), and this is relevant because in the past, I would have spent the entire time obsessing over the other two holes I had just played. I would have been thinking, “I’m doomed. How can I ever expect to hit a good shot again in my life? I bet every good shot I have ever hit in my life was just luck!” Which was definitely false, but an easy way of thinking after my first two holes. I have learned that the longer you believe in negative thoughts, the more likely they are to come true. Instead, I focused on how awesome my day had been, how much fun golf was, and all the GOOD shots I had hit that day. It made all the difference.
This brings us to the conclusion of my post. During my incredibly poor shots on Wednesday, I did my best to maintain a good attitude. I consider this the most valuable lesson The First Tee has taught me, and the most important element of my game. As a perfectionist, dealing with anything I perceive as failure does not come easy to me. Here is some advice for anyone out there who is crushed by a bad shot: forget about it. Shots are like days–what happened last Thursday has no effect on today, and what your last shot was like has no effect on the shot you’re hitting right now. If last Thursday was a bad day, you might still be making amends. And if you hit your ball into a bush, you’ll have to hit out of that bush. But you can fix what went wrong. I’m not saying this is easy–in fact, it can be next to impossible–but once you get the hang of forgetting how that last shot went, you can treat every shot like a new beginning.