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Friday, June 28, 2013

Stop Peeking!

After all that pre-round fretting and worrying I managed to bogey the #2 hole at Stoney Point yesterday, even with a fairly limp 2nd shot.  If I'd kept my head down, I might have collected a par.  Truthfully, I was still fretting about the creek when I took that shot, and I admit that I peeked, just to have the pleasure of watching my ball fly up to its safe place, perfectly set up for a 3rd shot over the creek and onto the green with my trusty 8 iron.

I knew I shouldn't take the peek, but it was irresistible, and it was my downfall from a likely par to a slightly disappointing bogey.


Furthermore, that wasn't the only moment during the round when my head got out of control.

After a satisfying tee shot to the center of the green, I also missed a perfectly makable 2nd putt on a par 3 because I peeked, and ended the hole with another slightly disappointing bogey instead of a par.  I hate 3-putt holes.  I enjoy putting and walk onto the green expecting no more than 2 putts.  Phooey!

And following my best tee shot of the day on a dog-leg par 5 with a lateral water hazard (which has a lovely fountain in the middle, I might add), I peeked again.  Instead of sending my ball across the edge of the hazard and back onto the fairway, perfectly set up for a short 3rd shot onto the green and a likely 2-putt par, I put the ball in the water and ended all hope of conquering that hole.  You'd think I would have learned something from the first peek.

My grandmother used to tell me that my mouth is my worst enemy, but I've come to believe that on the golf course, one way or the other, it's my head.  It bounces, it bobs, it peeks when it should, as Mary Whitt advised me some years ago, STARE AT THE BALL, STARE AT THE BALL, STARE AT WHERE THE BALL USED TO BE and let  others watch it soar and roll and drop into the cup.  Monster Miller tells me she counts -- 1-1000, 2-1000, 3-1000 -- before she looks up, but Mary's Mantra generally works for me.

The challenge is to focus on what I'm doing, not on what I hope to do next.  What I'm doing is hitting the ball, what I hope to do is hit the ball again (unless it's my 2nd putt).