It’s the middle of summer, and for golfers, that means tournament season. We all know golfers are not going to play well every week, whether it’s the pros on the PGA Tour, or the average amateur playing in their club championship. But what I often hear from golfers who didn’t play well in a tournament round is an excuse for their play.
Here are some excuses I hear on a regular basis:
- It was hot.
- It was cold.
- It was windy.
- The greens were slow.
- The greens were fast.
- The greens were bumpy.
- The greens were hard.
- It was wet.
- The rough was thick.
Every week, I hear some or all of these “reasons” golfers didn’t play well.
All of those things may have been true.
But if it was hot, it was hot for everyone. If the greens were slow, they were the same speed for everyone. Somebody is going to shoot the lowest score, and they’re going to win the tournament.
Golf is not a game of good shots. It's a game of bad shots. – Ben Hogan
No golfer plays a round of golf hitting every shot as intended
— Bruce Dowell (@BruceDowellgolf) July 2, 2016
I tell golfers all the time “Golf is an outdoor sport.” It’s not always going to be a nice day. You have to be ready to play the course and the elements. Many golfers cherry-pick the best days to practice or play, and then don’t know how to adjust to the elements.
Golf courses, and their staff, can sometimes be unpredictable; maybe they didn’t mow the greens that morning, or rake the bunkers, or get the golfers teed off right on time. Again, whoever adapts the best has a great chance over those who just accept that the course isn’t favorable for their game.
I tell golfers all the time “Golf is an outdoor sport.”
Years ago, I played in a Pro-Am in my hometown. Professionals from all over the country had played, including some that played PGA Tour and mini-tour events. I was in the scoring area after the round, and a player that had PGA Tour experience was complaining about how slow the greens were.
His comments were more than just small criticisms, he poured it on for everyone to hear. The old superintendent happened to be nearby, so he stopped at the table. He asked the Pro what he shot, and the answer was 73. The superintendent pointed at the board and said “greens must have been good enough for Lee.” We glanced at the board, and saw that a mini-tour guy had shot 61, the course record, a few groups earlier.
I learned at that point that a golfer can’t blame the course conditions for his score. A player must adjust his game to the golf course, because the golf course definitely will not adjust itself to the golfer.
If you’re a player that has used these excuses before, work to adapt to the course you’re playing on a given day. Practice when it’s hot, cold, or windy. Spend time on the practice green before your round, adjusting to the speed of the greens. But also be honest with yourself.
My best golfers will say “I couldn’t adjust to the speed of the greens” or “I need to work on my stamina” so that they know in their minds what they need to do to get better, consistently.
A good attitude and honesty will go a long way in improving your results.