As much as you, I, Tiger and Andrew Buckle want to believe that we have the ability to hit better golf shots every golf swing we take … reality says it’s not going to happen that way as much as we’d like it to. That dang reality is always getting in the way of a satisfying golf score!
‘Andrew Buckle? Hey, who’s Andrew Buckle?’
Andrew Buckle is a relatively unknown Golfer that hits the golf ball well enough that he’s made it to the PGA Tour. So in-other-words; in reality – if you could hit the golf ball half as consistent him – you’d be in heaven on the golf course.
Andrew is a young Australian (that can hit the golf ball really well) who’s playing his first full year on the PGA Tour. Needless to say – if you’ve been following golf the last 20 years – you don’t need me to tell you that Australia breeds Professional Golfers at the same birth rate as they breed kangaroos.
Andrew played this passed weekend in the PGA Tour event in Texas. And played well enough in the first round of the tournament to score a 1 under par score of 69 – which put him in a good position to make the cut. He then followed the 69 with a 2nd round score of 9 over 79 – 10 strokes higher. Now many Golfers at your local golf courses will get upset when they score just 4 strokes higher on Sunday than they did on Saturday – and here’s a guy that could beat 98% of those Golfers using only 3 golf clubs; yet his game went up-n-down as if it was the Dow Jones the last few weeks. 10 strokes higher for a Tour Player could be equivalent as 20 strokes higher for a high handicap – which just goes to show that even a Tour Player has issues with consistency.
Though let’s get to the heart of what happened to Andrew in that 2nd round. And have you ever done this?
Well, it all started out fine in the 2nd round – Birdie on #1. But that Birdie was followed up by 4 Bogeys on the next 5 holes – which, to a PGA Tour Player, could be considered a Bad Streak. Yet, at that point he was only 3 over for the day and 2 over for the tournament – still in position to shoot a good score and snare a check. Though, as disappointing as those 4 Bogeys might’ve been at the time – they aren’t what caused Andrew to um — ‘Buckle’.
Feeling as though he has to make something happen, he takes a gamble on the next hole – #7. Number #7 is a short par 4 of 316 yards. Most Players hit a 3 iron or hybrid to the fairway and leave themselves with a 100 yard wedge to the green. In fact, Andrew did that in Round 1 and made par. Zach Johnson (the winner of the tournament) used the same strategy and made par in Rounds 1, 2, and 3 – then birdied the hole in round 4.
Though feeling like the Golfer at your local golf club that wants to break 90 or 100 and feels they need to make something happen – “I need to make a Birdie on #7. It’s a short, easy Par 4. I just need to hit my Driver up by the green” – Andrew decided to leave his PLAN on hole #6 and play like a Monkey. And unfortunately, but not coincidentally – he had the same result the Golfer at your local golf course might see when they forget about their PLAN: a quadruple Bogey 8.
What made Andrew … ‘Buckle’ into changing his PLAN is probably the same thing that causes you to change yours. It’s like the person on a diet. Though you know you’re doing well snacking on carrots and celery as you stick to your PLAN of staying away from chocolate, potato chips and if you’re from Freehold, New Jersey – Federici’s Pizza; it only takes one piece of birthday cake to knock you off track.
And once that slip happens – slips start to happen more frequently. This same scenario is often repeated by the Golfer that let’s their guard down and gets away from their PLAN!
Have you ever noticed how “Blow-up Holes” often come in bunches?
Now Andrew is no hack. If you’re on Tour – you have one of the best golf swings in the world and his stats prove that he’s an above average Player on Tour: his scoring average is better than the PGA Tour average; his Driver is longer and more accurate than the PGA Tour average; and his Greens in Regulation, Scrambling and Putting averages are better than the PGA Tour average. He’s an above average Player playing against the best Players in the world!
This guy can play! But it also shows that even though he hits the ball like a golf god – if he doesn’t stick with his PLAN – “Blow-up Holes” happen. And if it happens to a Player that hits the golf ball that well … what does it mean for the Golfer at your local golf course whose motto after the 7th hole often is – “Why am I so inconsistent?”
Now, I’ve had people (that I’ve never met) write me long, extensive emails that insist that I need to explain what their PLAN needs to be on the golf course. And recently, there was this one particular chap from New York City that said something to the affect of: ‘if you don’t send me what my PLAN should look like – I’m going to stop reading Golf Improvement Weekly as well as tell my friends to stop reading. I’ll spend my time on other golf products!”
As I wrote him, I can’t emphasize enough how impossible it is to write a PLAN for someone I’ve never met. Different things make different people tick. And this chap, though persistent in trying to get his way – still didn’t care even though we wrote him an extensive email explaining why it would be impossible to do so since we know nothing about the Strengths and Weaknesses of his golf swing, we have never seen him play on a golf course, we know nothing about his personality and/or how it changes during the 18 holes, nothing about his green reading skills, nothing about his putting or sand bunker skills, etc., etc., etc.
Your PLAN is like your fingerprint – no one else’s will be like yours.
Sticking to your PLAN for 18 holes isn’t easy. Neither is a diet. But both can be worked on so that you’re moving in the right direction. Though, many, many days of hard work on both can be lost very quickly. Just as one potato chip can easily turn into half a bag faster than you can say Frito-Lay – one bad swing can turn into 5 bad holes and another disappointing, wasted opportunity for a good round just as quickly. Especially when you spend the next 4 holes pressing hard so that you can make up for that disappointing quadruple Bogey.
And although the Monkey might’ve said that the reason they made a quadruple Bogey was because they hit a bad drive into the water – the quad wasn’t made because of a bad golf swing. The quad was made because you left your PLAN in the parking lot.
Because just like many golf courses around the world – the 7th hole at La Canterra was designed to put the thought of – “I can make Birdie here” into your head. That’s what Weiskopf and Morrish (the designers at La Canterra) wanted Andrew Buckle to think – that’s why on a short par 4 they put water just close enough down the right side of the hole to cause problems; yet just enough off to the side to say – “Go ahead, give it a try.”
Unfortunately for a Golfer that has a promising future and someone I’m sure you’ll see leading a tournament in the next few years – this Player let his guard down, got away from his PLAN and experienced a costly “Blow-up hole” because of it. We’ve all done it – we all hate that moment – but we all will probably end up doing it again. But if you remember to stick with your PLAN – it’ll happen far less often. So remember – One bad swing doesn’t make a quad – forgetting your PLAN will!
The Monkey tries to make up for a couple of Bogeys by taking more risk the next hole
The Player tries to make up for a couple of Bogeys by being patient and sticking with their PLAN
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life