A recent round reminded me that the game of golf consists of 18 holes. A great start rarely ensures a satisfactory final result. I started out with 2 birdies and managed to make the turn at +1, only to fall on my face on the back nine.
Some years ago I started a round with an unusual string of “3, 3, 3” on a course that began par-5, par-4 and then par-3. I don’t think I broke 40 on the front side or 80 for the round.
Of course, I don’t toss away all rounds when I make a fast start. Still, it seems to be that hanging on to a good start is often much harder than rallying to save something. The quick start tends to make many of us more cautious, for fear we will waste the good position we find ourselves in mid-round. I have always felt the expression, “fear of going low” was pretty true for many of us amateurs. Early success can lead to overly cautious play and heightened nerves.
The opposite seems to occur when we need to rally. Since there is no great score to “save”, we relax and just go for it. My most recent win in our club’s tournament series is a great example. I had stumbled my way to a +4 on the opening nine. I was going nowhere and just relaxed on the back. As soon as I thought I had shot myself out of the event, I got on a roll. An inward 34, including a birdie on the final hole, won the event. It was totally unexpected as I had no idea what I had scored for the back nine.
So that is my story for today. Anyone have a tale of triumph or woe to share? Who has tamed the mental side of the game?