Golfing great Ben Hogan has been quoted as saying that he never hit more than seven great shots per round. 2010 Remax World Long Drive Championship runner up Dominick Mazza told his dad after the competition that he felt he only hit one real solid shot in the competition and yet he blasted ball after ball 350 to 404 yards during the multi day competition to finish second.
I was asked recently to help an eight year-old girl, who by the way, has a very nice and strong swing to help her understand that she does not have to be perfect in order to play good golf. I thought this would make for a nice piece for all golfers at every level.
As I contemplated how I would address the issue the dad presented me regarding his eight year old, I began to realize that this is a pretty common challenge for all who play the game. And, to make a further point, I don’t think anyone has really ever had a perfect game. I know at the end of every really great round I have ever had, I could think back and count a few shots I would love to play over. I thought I would broach this subject to another golfer and it just happened to be another young golfer only ten years of age. As I talked to her about the challenge of golf and how difficult it is to hit every shot the way you want or the way you think you should hit it, she gave me some great insight that I want to pass on. She said, “I try to do my best. When I don’t hit a ball well or miss hit it, I don’t like it but I know that it is part of the game and that it will happen. I can accept that and then I just try to do my best the next time.”
My jaw dropped a little and then I broke out in a huge smile. She has the correct attitude. It’s realistic and healthy, and she proved to me that she is winning that part of the game that so many people struggle with. This ten year-old girl said it better than I could have. Perfection is a pursuit that many think they should be able to attain. Look at what Ben Hogan said about each round—and he was regarded as one of the best ball strikers of all time.
Hitting great shots are wonderful. They build confidence and it feels great. But in order to play well, more playable miss hits need to be realized and accepted. The bad ones hurt, but it’s how you handle the poor ones that can determine whether or not you are giving yourself the best possible chance to do well! Adopt the attitude of this brilliant ten year old and you too will play better and have more fun.