So here is the story to date: I have decided to set some goals for my golf game this year. Well, actually one goal…to break 80 from the back tees. I don’t think I care which course it’s on, but there’s a monkey on my back that I have to remove. It’s so difficult for me. I really do practice a fair amount for an average golfer. I probably practice 4 hours for every time I play 18 holes. However, no matter how well I strike the ball, I have never broken 80. And here’s the really weird thing…my handicap is 7.2. Not many 7 handicappers don’t ever break 80. For all I know, I may be the only one who hasn’t done it. Just to give you an appreciation of my struggle here’s the story of my last 2 legitimate attempts.
#1 – The State-Am qualifier
This was the first time I played in this tournament. I thought I would be too nervous, but the fact is that I had really worked on my game and I was ready. Still, to break 80 on this course from the tips (which I had only played once) shouldn’t have been in the cards. However, in spite of 2 double bogueys, I found myself at 7 over with 4 to play. I just needed to par out. Then, I had my second 3 putt of the day on 15 for a boguey. I had a bad tee shot on 16, but I recovered nicely and then drained a 20-footer for par. 8 over with 2 to play…and #18 is a par 5. Poor judgment came next. I knew I should protect my score, and 17 was the 3rd hardest hole on the course, but just one birdie away from 79, I knew I’d never forgive myself if I played it safe. Big mistake. A triple-boguey and I was out of it. The irony was that I had a 10 foot birdie putt on #18 that would have been for my 79 instead of an 82. I missed it and shot 83. I was happy with the result and glad I went for it, but probably should have been more patient.
#2 My Last shot at the Bluff
Schneiter’s Bluff is my home course. I know it really well. I would probably bet that when I do break 80, it will be here. I started out well and was 1 under after 5. I was hitting the ball beautifully and putting solidly. However, 3 holes later, I was +5. I couldn’t believe it. Long story shot, I shot 42 and 41 for another stock score of 83.
I just can’t seem to get over the hump. I am driving the ball really well these days and hitting it longer and more solid than ever with my irons. My putting remains fairly solid, at least inside 20 feet. I might 3 putt once during a round, but not all the time. I guess it was my work around the greens that got me at Schneiter’s, but that was just nerves as I work on my short game all the time. If there is one glaring weakness in my game, it’s my long irons. I’ve been working on them though and I don’t expect it to be a weakness for much longer.
So there it is. I’m sitting right on the bubble. At first glance it might seem like I’m not improving (shot an 80 my first time out this year), but I know in my heart I am a much more solid player than my score reflects. This is just a mental hump that I have to get over. Golf is a grind. You have to be completely focused for 4 hours and never let down your guard. It’s exhausting, but that’s what I love about it. It builds mental toughness and character.
With that said, I’ll be posting my attempts at overcoming the mind game that is thwarting my attempts at getting this monkey off my back. I’ll see you on the other side of 80 soon.