One of the toughest things about golf is maintaining your cool when things go wrong. It’s certainly my biggest weakness, even at my advanced age.

You do something stupid, like not avoiding a pond, or you miss three shots in a row, including a short putt; I don’t have to tell you. The language gets coarser and clubs start flying. One of the main secrets of winning is keeping your cool. Be patient. And don’t try to get everything back all at once.

I remember watching Jack Nicklaus once in a tournament at Firestone. He hit his drive into the woods. His solution was not to hit a miraculous shot through the woods to the green. What he did was hit an easy punch out of the woods back into the fairway, where he’d have a better chance to hit a higher percentage shot. His third shot landed on the green. He sank the putt, and kept his par.

Too often, when lesser golfers (and I’m talking about touring pros as well as weekend golfers) get into trouble, they try to hit the miracle shot that will get them back in the game if they pull it off. When was the last miracle you prayed for and got? Someone is praying for a miracle every minute. Almost all those prayers are answered “No”, especially golf course miracles.

So be smart. Don’t ask the Almighty to get you out of a jam you put yourself into. Take your medicine. Play the simple recovery shot, and try to get back in the game with two simple shots instead of one miracle shot. I guarantee, you’ll score better.


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