As it often takes multiple opportunities to pass a Magic Number (for example: Phil Mickelson, Michelle Wie, Sergio Garcia, etc.) … it becomes a series of being so close, but then making a bad score on the 18th hole. Or after hitting your Driver great all day … out of nowhere, you start hitting it terrible on the 15th hole. Or needing to make a 6 foot putt on the last hole that just rolls across the edge of the cup without going in.
Regardless of whether your Magic Number is 100, 90, 80, 70, or winning a Major Championship – it’s a memorable accomplishment for the Golfer because you know how difficult it has been to achieve.
We have found that most Golfers struggle to get into this lower score region because as the round progresses … they start to over think. When the Golfer knows they are playing better than normal, they feel as if they need to know what their score is so that they can work-out what they need to make on the next few holes in order to accomplish their goal.
“Thinkers are Stinkers”
This phrase can apply to many circumstances on the golf course: thinking about your swing mechanics; thinking that “I always hit the ball into the water on the right on this hole”; thinking about not putting the ball too far past the hole (and leaving it 6 feet short); thinking about your score, etc.
Unfortunately, because you start thinking – you start stinking. That’s why so many attempts at breaking a Magic Number fail.
We often times get into more of a thinking mode as opposed to sticking with the PLAN that we used on the previous holes. Because for you to be in position to break your Magic Number as you approach the 15th hole – you must’ve been playing your best golf ever the previous 14 holes or you wouldn’t find yourself in this situation.
But, because you may start adding up your score to “strategize” on what you need to make on 15, 16, 17 and 18 … that little bit extra you’re thinking about will affect you more than you can control.
The reason that you’re in the position to break your Magic Number is that you probably weren’t thinking on the previous 14 holes. You we’re probably in the zone or as we say – you were most likely too focused on your PLAN.
You don’t have to think anymore on the 18th hole when you need to make Par than you did on the 3rd hole where you also made a Par. That 15 foot putt on #3 was just as important as the Drive on #18.
Though, it’s human nature to put more pressure on yourself as the round progresses – it’s imperative that you understand that every shot has a value of 1. The chip shot onto the green on #6 is just as important as your 5 iron over the water on #17. However, most Golfers will put more effort into that 5 iron.
But because the Golfer often puts more value on the importantance of getting over that water … the more the fluidity of your swing will be negatively effected. And that thought process is why the Golfer will fail more often than they succeed in hitting a nice shot over the water.
Pressure more often than not causes us to make a poor golf swing or putting stroke. Yet, this is self-induced pressure. Because in the early part of the round when this was just another day on the golf course … you swung smoothly and hit good golf shots.
But as the round progressed, and you noticed how well you were playing … you start to put more pressure on yourself to continue to hit good (or even more perfect) golf shots on every shot!
As a friend of mine once half jokingly said “It’s often better to have your worst hole at the beginning of the round so that you play relaxed the rest of the way through.” While I do not encourage this – what he was saying is that now that your expectations are lowered … you just play without pressure the rest of the way.
And you sometimes end up shooting your best scores and breaking your Magic Number because you’re not over thinking.
“Thinkers are Stinkers”
The Monkey often starts to fall apart when they realize how well they are playing
The Player just continues utilizing the PLAN they used on the previous holes
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life