Sunday, September 12, 2010

Youth Golf: It's a Team Game

Before the golf match, the coach told the team that every shot counts. He told them to keep their cool and do not let one bad shot lead to more bad shots.

Yesterday, my son's team came in second in a big regional tournament. They lost 285 to 287. They lost by a meager two strokes. 

There are six golfers active on a team during a match. The final score is made up of the four lowest scores among the six golfers. Yesterday my son shot a 77 and had the 3rd best score on his team. He shot a 77 despite getting a 9 on the 8th hole. He shot a 46 on the front (Par 35) and a 31 on the back (Par 27). 

After the match, two of the players were needling my son about his 9 on number 8. They reminded him that if he did not blow up on that hole they would have won. The two players needling him the most were the two golfers whose scores did not count at all. 

My son laughed it off while he reminded them that the team would have come in second if they did not even get out of bed. 

The Main Point

During a golf tournament every single player can look back at his or her game and find one or two shots that they could have played better to save a stroke or two. It might have been a errant drive that went OB. It might have been a short putt that lipped out. Of course every player can look back on their game and find one or two lucky shots saved a stroke or two. I might have been a shot through the trees that did not hit a single limb. It might have been a 40 foot putt. Golf is a team game.

Game 122

I walked and watched the entire 18 holes of Nic's match. Well actually, I missed the 8th hole. It started to rain and I ran back to the car to get an umbrella. That's the hole he blew up on. The 8th hole is a tricky par 4 hole with a huge tree that blocks the left side of the green and OB that runs down the right side. The green can be reached in one, but target golf is probably the better play. My son is aggressive at this stage of his golfing career.

He approached the tee with a driver in his hand and rain dripping off his visor. He approached the hole with the intent to put the ball near the green. He pulled his first aggressive drive OB into the woods. He got mad and tried to make up for it with an even bigger drive. He again pulled the drive into the woods. He ended up getting a 9 on the hole. He did not heed the coach's advice and let one bad shot turn into two. He almost let two bad shots turn into three.

He approached to par 4, 236 yard 9th hole still seething. The hole is a dog leg right with trees protecting the green. I was standing under my umbrella next to the green, I did not have time to get to the tee after my run to the car. I got down as low as I could to see Nic on the tee box from under the trees. I could see the swing and then I could hear the ping of the ball making contact with the driver. Then I could hear the ball clipping the top of the trees. I scattered to avoid getting hit with the ball. The ball landed 10 feet to my right and darted passed several trees trunks and rolled up to the green. He was about 10 feet short of the green and 20 feet from the pin. It was a good shot. It was a lucky shot. He later told me that he swung his club as hard as he could still angry about the 8th hole. I told him to remember what his coach had said that every shot counts. He calmed down and had one of the lowest rounds on the back nine.

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