Golf: Are The Good Shots, Just Luck?

We have all had runs of good golf shots. When I hit a few good shots in a row, one of my favorite sayings is ” I don’t know where they come from, and I don’t know where they go. The reason I say this is because good shots seem to come out of nowhere. You can see this on the pro tour. I remember the 1987 Masters when Corey Pavin was in contention after 2 rounds but blew up in the 3rd round, being 10 over for the round, going into the 18th hole. For whatever reason CBS decided to show him playing the last hole of this horrific round. He hit a beautiful drive around the bend, then hit an iron about 5 feet from the pin and make the putt for a final birdie to shoot 81. These good shots can follow any type of pattern or length. They can be at the beginning of the round, the middle of the round or the end. Good shots may last from one good shot, to hitting good shots for up to 5 to 10 holes. Rarely do they last longer than that, never spilling over into the next day. There is no question that something clicks and all of a sudden, we are hitting good shot after good shot. If we are working on something or trying something new, we think that this is it, having found the lifelong swing fix or swing move. But somewhere along the round the good shots disappear quickly, and we are left with that what happened feeling.

Let’s work backwards and see what the reasons are given for why the good shots disappear. I’m not saying that I believe these are all true, but all have been written up in many golf articles. One of the big reasons that good shots end is if you start out a round really well. Then you start to become too aware of your score and the shots become more significant, which causes tension, and the bad shots start to happen. There can be other times when something seems to unclick so to speak due to the circumstances of the shot. This affects your concentration with a bad shot as a result. No one gives a reason why you lose your concentration, you just do. Sometimes the good shots go all the way to the end of the round. You leave the course invigorated and may be playing the next day. You get to the course all fired up and promptly slice your drive right into the woods, starting out 5 over par for 3 holes. Sometimes the good shots may be brief. You play 11 holes lousy but on the 12th you smash a drive and birdie 2 or the next 4 holes. You get to the 16th tee with all the momentum in the world and proceed to go bogey, bogey, double bogey to end a nice 4 hole round. This may be considered letting adrenaline getting the best of you and again losing your concentration. Is any of this really true? Before we draw any final conclusions, let’s take a look at why we start hitting good shots in the first place.

There are again plenty of reasons given why we start hitting good shots during a round. It could be that the new swing thought or supposed fault that we have corrected is now allowing us to strike the ball better. Some people feel that good shots start to flow when we stop caring so much about where the ball is going. This seems to be true concerning putting. If we have more of a devil may care attitude and do not think about making the putt or the significance of the putt, we have more of a chance of making the putt. Sometimes a shot just fits our eye, feels simple and the result is a good shot that can start the flow of good shots. There are thoughts as to why we may find our game during a round, but the bottom line is this, it is always related to some kind of physical move that we are going to control, that is related to a specific skill set. Some of us may have a better skill set than others, but we are controlling the ball to the best of our ability. Could there be another reason why these shots seem to come and go?

Could just plain old luck be the reason that our games just seem to come and go. Earlier in the blog I wrote that something just clicks, and you begin to hit good shots. Could it be that you have a perfect distance for one of your irons? Could it be that the ball is sitting perfectly whether in the fairway or rough? Could it be that you have an easy target for the first time today? Maybe the wind has died down. You could be hitting a club that you really like to hit. Whatever it may be, once you hit the good or great shot, the brain and body have now connected to this feeling of a good shot. Even that swing flaw you have, somehow has compensated in a way that allowed you to pull off the shot. With that feeling of the great shot you go on to play X number of holes really well. Then your luck simply runs out. Is there a way we can figure out when this is going to happen and how we can deal with it. I think we can, and I will deal with that in the next blog. In order to move forward, you must believe that luck is the primary factor here. It is a little hard to swallow considering how much time is spent practicing and working on one’s game. Even though there is the old saying I would rather be lucky than good, luck always seems to get a bad rap. Many players are embarrassed at being “lucky”. But luck is a huge part of golf and not just in bounces and where the ball ends up. You may need luck just to hit the ball with instruments that Winston Churchill said, ” Were singularly ill-designed for the purpose”. I don’t think you are going to get much of argument about golf clubs, even today.

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