Do you have a good plan when you go out to play and do you stick to your plan no matter what? Or when times things go awry, do you have to alter and improvise on the fly?
In season, I spend a lot of time advising my competitive players on how to manage their games when they get out of position on the golf course.
Normally, that involves a tee shot that goes offline into a dark, bad place. What happens from there is usually a calamity of errors and ill-advised shots that escalate your score and blood pressure.
Recently, I watched several of my players play in a qualifier for the Florida Open. In one group there were two out of seven of my players, so I hung with them for a few holes. They were both even par through 10 holes.
On No. 11, one of them pulled it left on a dogleg left into the trees. The player then made a poor decision and tried to get the ball on the green from jail with a low-percentage shot. What followed were shots that came off tree trunks so solidly that they sounded like home run swings in the Major Leagues. After three of those, he played out wisely, and carded a smooth nine.
I am always amazed when this happens in a tournament, especially since we have covered this scenario numerous times at the academy. I liken a player doing this to someone who, while running through the house, breaks a crystal lamp. They then pick up a vase and break that too. The final act of insanity is that they then throw a chair through a bay window. No one would do actually do that in a house (I hope), but golfers do something similar on the course all the time.
To avoid bad numbers from bad places on the golf course, here are two thoughts to keep in mind when you find your ball out of position.