The Day I Feared, Part 1

10 Sep

Golf is a painful and mental game I have said before. Days when you think you can play well, you end up with such a horrendous score, you’d want to not just hang up those clubs but throw them away. Then days when you think it’s going to be just a meh game, you play one fantastic game, the results make you want to play another 18. Immediately.

More than anything else, golf is not just a strategy game but also a mental one. And a Science challenge because there’s club loft, course elevation, ball trajectory plus wind and swing speed to consider. Seriously, one has to be sensible, calm and mentally strong to pick up and recover when things don’t always go as planned.

Last year around early February, I participated in an Iron Challenge tournament at my Club. The challenge called for players to play 18 holes using just irons; no driver off the tee and no woods or hybrids on the fairways. Just irons and of course the putter to hole out.

Mentally I knew I could do it because I had a strategy. Physically I knew I wouldn’t have any issues because I didn’t have any injuries then and I could handle my 4-iron well to get the distance off the tee and on the fairways.

The game went smoothly and as planned. There was no pressure and I had a lot of fun until the last hole. Oh my goodness, the last hole… It didn’t go as planned with the tee off, the lay-up and the third shot to cross the water, followed by probably two more shots and a putt to close with a bogey or double at most on the Par 5, Hole 18. It was treacherous.

I call my Club’s Hole 18 the Pacific Ocean because the water to cross is so vast visually, it always, always plays the mind and creates fear unnecessarily.

So maybe fear got the better of me that morning?

Or maybe the thought of crossing an ocean without any woods in hand suddenly felt too enormous a task to execute because visually, the water being so vast played the mind. I should have had more faith in my long irons but I had a major collapse at that moment because I feared.

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