Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #88

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We’ve talked about preparing for playing in brutally hot weather and some tips to take to the course when the weather is over 90 degrees, so this week I wanted to cover what to do after the round is over. It’s important to cool down gradually. Don’t collapse in a 65 degree clubhouse. Continue to drink water. Cool off in the shade or a moderately cool car. When you feel like your temperature has returned to normal, look for something to eat. A cold salad, fruit, raw vegetables, nothing heavy, but it’s ok to have something sweet. Maybe a small ice cream cone, not a large banana split. When you return home, you’ll probably want to get out of your wet clothes and take shower. Then relax before you do any additional taxing physical labor.

You know it’s funny, I’ve played some of my worst rounds in ideal conditions and some of my best rounds in windy conditions. It’s all about the mindset. Maybe your expectations are too high on a 70 degree calm day and vice-versa.

We’ve talked about playing one hole at a time. Remember there are no such thing as warm up holes. My college golf coach could guess what his players shot if we told him our score on the last three holes.

Even if I was warmed up and even when I was much younger, I never tried to go all out on my first drive of the day. I thought of it as a placement drive. If it’s a 350 yard par 4, just hit the ball in the fairway and rely on your short iron play. If you happen to start on a par 3 your goal should be to put the ball somewhere on the green or if you are an 18-handicapper or higher, somewhere around the green, preferably in front to give you an outside chance at par and a good chance at bogie. If you start on a par 5 the tendency is to see how far you can hit it. Most of the time a 200 yard drive in the fairway is better than a 300 yard drive in the rough. If the fairway is narrow, take out a 3-wood, 5-wood or hybrid. Hit the fairway. That will put you in the proper state of mind to start your round.

Most holes and greens have a safe side. I always tried to play a little conservatively at the beginning of the round. Get that par, or at worst a bogie. And remember the breaks really do even out in golf. You’ll remember the bad shots, like that 3-footer you missed on nine to break 40, but think back on the round. You probably made a long putt to make up for it, or hit a bad chip shot that was stopped by the pin, or got a kick out of the woods into the fairway. So take your medicine and move on.

Back in May of 1974 before I had my driver’s license, it was about 30 minutes from getting dark and my mom and sister showed up on the 15th green. I had just double-bogied the hole and was ready to quit for the day. My mom said, quote, “Let’s keep playing. You never know you might make a hole-in-one on the next hole.”

The 16th hole was a 172 yard par 3. I hit a 4-iron right toward the hole. It landed on the front of the green, rolled toward the flag and disappeared. My sister said, “I think that went in!” I had hit so many shots lie that that were either close or came to rest in a depression in the green to make it look as if the ball had gone in the hole, but I ran down the fairway and my heart started beating faster when I didn’t see the ball on the green. It could’ve rolled over. Then I noticed a path in the dew leading right to the hole. It was in for my first hole-in-one! And I finished the round with two pars after that to shoot 75. The breaks do even out.

Hit ’em straight!

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