Junior Golf: Golf Happens

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at a phrase that was most recently used last Friday at the Masters, but has undoubtedly been voiced many times previously, particularly when poor results are involved. (photo jennleforge.com)img_0135-1

After having high expectations coming into the 1st major of 2016, Ricky Fowler failed to break 80 on Friday and ended up missing the cut. His initial brief explanation of his 1st 2 rounds was,
“Golf Happens”, a phrase used to describe an extraordinary happening during a round of golf.
Certainly it can be used in a positive reference as for instance, Linda, S3 and I witnessed our 2nd Double Eagle during a college tournament last Monday. Linda and I were parked at #18 green, a par 5 easily reachable in 2 shots for these talented young men. One of S3’s playing partners, Javier, hit his 2nd shot, it landed just left of the center of the green and rolled straight down a ridge and entered the middle of the cup at the perfect speed. What a thrill! And Javier, not quite able to see the hole, learned about his great shot by osmosis. So in this case, in a positive vain, “Golf Happened”. It was an unexpected and unusual occurrence.

This other side of the “Golf Happens/Happened” coin is the unflattering side. And with a ton of tough golf and higher than normal scores for many of the world’s top players, the most shocking “GH” of the weekend was Jordan Spieth’s disastrous final 9 holes. After having a 5-shot lead on the 10th tee, Jordan ended up T-2, 3shots behind the winner. Jordan gave up 8 shots in his last 9 holes, a horrible collapse. Our family is big Jordan fans and we are not being negative. Parents we want you to understand that there will be times that your son will have a terrible hole or maybe a couple and hopefully not a complete 9 hole stretch. (Danny Willett golfweek.com)image

Let’s give Danny Willett some credit as 5-under during the final round at Augusta is a great score, but he had to be as shocked, although likely a bit more pleasantly shocked than everybody else, as he watched Jordan’s performance on the back 9. Danny was in the right place at the right time.

Make no mistake, this 5-shot lead and tournament was Jordan’s to lose and he did. There may be a bunch of folks trying to get into the intricacies of what happened to Jordan’s mental state, or lack of, during this time and I’ll leave that to the pros. As a parent I can tell you that he basically lost his confidence, his trust in his swing. When that happens to S3, sometimes with irons/approach shots, his ball ends up short and right. Sound familiar?

So as we ask ourselves, how does Jordan, after making 4 birdies in a row on holes 6-9, totally lose it on the next 9 holes? Dad and Mom please get this, golf is a tough sport and the mental part is 90% of the game. As tough as the pros are mentally, they are still subject to the frailties of the human mind. And your junior golfer is even more mentally fragile.

1 poor shot may throw your son off his game. The winning part and the toughest part is how quickly can he forget that poor shot and hit a great shot? Your boy might get mad and anger always wins and he may carry that emotion for several holes, which he will probably play poorly, enough to ruin his round, before recovering and starting to play well again. The pros get mad, yes they do, but they deal with it better than the rest of us.

Always encourage your junior golfer, especially after a poor shot or a 3-putt. A big smile, yes 1 he can see and a strong thumb’s up are all he needs! We want the positive “Golf Happens”!

See your on #1 tee looking confident with your swing… Sam

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