I suspect I am like many other golfers after a round. We look at the scorecard and begin to analyze our round with a pair of rose-tinted glasses. “If I would have just …” If I could have …” I should have …” It is fun imagining how making better club selections, being more conservative/aggressive and taking a bit more time over that putt would-could-should have resulted in a score several shots better.
Perhaps this exercise is why we often over value the “mental game” versus the physical aspects of golf. We assign many bad results to faulty thinking. The truth of the matter is, at least for me, that the thinking and planning is often fine; it is usually the execution that is sorely lacking.
A good example was from my round last Saturday. Despite a bad break earlier in the round that resulted in a double, I stood on the 15th tee at level par. I was playing extremely well when one considers that I am an 8-10 handicapper. The 15th has OB all down the left side and the fairway slopes considerably to the left. I told myself to keep it right since the right rough is not a bad place to hit from and then promptly duck hooked my tee shot OB. Naturally, my 3rd shot was long, straight and ended up in the center of the fairway. My plan was fine, I just didn’t execute.
Of course, my “analysis” after the round indicated that I should have hit my tee shot on #15 like my second effort, making a 4 instead of a 6. I also missed a handful of 5-10 footers for birdie that could have gone in. Finally, but for a bad bounce on a cart path that put me into the edge of a penalty area, I would not have lost a stroke or two on #6. After all the analytics, if I would have concentrated a bit more, I could have saved several strokes here and there, and I should have shot 69 instead of 74.
In truth, I played about as well as I can Saturday. Yes, a few shots escaped me, but I did so many things right. Still, in my dreams I coulda shot 69!