Nine Holes, No Pins

TrueFX

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I enjoy playing golf with friends. In fact, there is little else that I would rather be doing. Yet, while playing with friends, I am always laser focused on my game and the outcome. It is just who I am. I have such high standards for myself in everything that I do, when it comes to my turn to hit nothing else matters aside from hitting the perfect golf shot. I can't turn it off.

With that said, today was something special.

I showed up at my club at about 4:45 and the cart barn kids had already picked up the flags. I had initially planned to walk 9 holes as fast as I could to get some exercise and beat the kids to the pins.

With the pins already up, I no longer had to rush through my round. Walking to the first tee I told myself, "You know what, I'm out here alone today. I don't have to worry about pace of play, ensuring my playing partners are done in time for dinner, or darkness. How about I just take my time and try to relax. It's not like I'm keeping score anyways, I don't know where the pins are."

I then proceeded to play the most enjoyable 9 holes of my life! I stepped up to each tee box with my hybrid and picked a spot in the fairway. Normally I would look down range to find the pin and start thinking about how far I would have to hit the ball to have a good shot at a par or birdie. Today, I didn't look past my landing spot in the fairway. Why should I? I admit, I didn't hit many fairways, but I also didn't hit any snap hooks and didn't loose a single ball.

Next, I casually walked to my ball. Any other day I would be walking to my ball all the while thinking about trees blocking my shot to the pin, bunkers around the pin or what club I need to hit to land right on the pin. Not today. Today, I strolled down the fairway without a care in the world. Upon arriving at my ball, I guesstimated the distance to the middle of the green based on the 150 / 100 markers. Pulled a club that I know could get to the middle, took a few practice swings, picked a spot on the green and hit the ball. I didn't miss hit a single ball all day. Sure, I didn't always hit the green, but I hit good golf shots and was very pleased with the results.

Similar to my tee shot, my walk to the green following my approach shot was very relaxing. I wasn't criticizing how far I was from the hole. I wasn't worried about being short sided. I wasn't contemplating the impossible chip I had ahead of me. How could I? I had no idea where the hole even was. Again, I truly enjoyed strolling to the ball without a care in the world.

Believe it or not, I had one of the best ball striking and scoring 9 holes of my life! And on top of that, there wasn't a lick of stress, anxiety, or golf related thoughts in my mind the entire round. This, is how golf should be played! I have never enjoyed a round like I enjoyed this one. It was like some kind of golf nirvana. Not a care in the world. I'm going to try and play with this mindset as much as I can moving forward.
 

dazeedmonds

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Sounds like an excellent time!

I try to play like that at least once a week in the summer, and once every couple of rounds in the winter, just go out and have fun. I don't keep score, and if I don't like a shot I drop another one and try it again. It makes the game much more enjoyable, especially if I'm having a bad spell where I can't hit the ball right.
 

brianmk24

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Sounds like a great time out there..very relaxed!
 

Spivey

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Dude, very nice! Just concentrating on fairways and center of the greens - it works for you!!
BTW, it is 82* here.
 

War Eagle

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Sometimes, you have to remember why you play the game... For fun.

When it became more than that for me, I knew I needed to start having fun again.
 

TrueFX

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Sometimes, you have to remember why you play the game... For fun.

When it became more than that for me, I knew I needed to start having fun again.
I need to learn to relax. Today's round was so pleasant.
 

Snickerdog

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Playing relaxed and a bit carefree will always make the round more enjoyable. Glad you had a great time.
 

Golf 'N Gator

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Dude, very nice! Just concentrating on fairways and center of the greens - it works for you!!
BTW, it is 82* here.
Very nice indeed! It is 28 degrees here.......and snow covered.
 

Misike

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That's great. Golf is really fun when you let yourself enjoy it. Glad you had a good round.
 

rollin

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Its amazing to me what happens when it doesn't count vs when it does. The mental game is huge. On the rare times I am all alone and screw up a shot like an approach I may often drop a second and like magic usually hit a beauty. And that really pisses me off because I feel like "why couldn't I do that on the first one?" when it counted. Heck, even at the range how many times many swing the club with no ball and have a nice smooth swing and yet then place a ball down and all a sudden that nice swing goes away. Or how about swinging a good practice swing on the course but then step up to the ball and that nice practice swing is a distant memory lol. Or sink a 5foot putt for double like the easiest thing in the world yet for a birdie its a mile away. Ohhh the mental game, what a tangled web we weave :)

If having it just mean something is enough to cause mental mistakes vs when it means nothing then just Imagine doing these things with 500 on lookers and tv cameras with a million or so viewers and for a 100 G's. .
 

golfinnut

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HEAT!
You would be surprised how much internal "pressure" you put on yourself when you look at the pin. That psychological feeling that "I've get to get this close ... it's on the back tier, take enough club" really puts undue pressure on yourself. If you were to not look at the flag all the time and shoot at the middle of the green .... especially on small greens .... imagine what could happen.
Let's say the green is 20 yards deep & 10 yards across, from front to back & side to side ... so you shoot for the middle of the green at 10 yards. Just for sake of this example, you get no roll and it sticks right away. You have no more than 20 foot putt from front to back & 15 footer from side to side. Point being ... you can pretty much two putt or one putt from there no problem. (If you can't then you are practicing the wrong thing.)
Try playing a round the same way, by not looking at pins and shooting for the middle of the green. See how you do. Of course this won't work too well on courses like a Pete Dye design or Jack Nicklaus .... where the greens are acres & acres.
But you may be pleasantly surprised how more consistent you may become. And relaxing as you have already seen. :)

Not a Sermon .... Just a Thought
 

Agent Jay

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Sometimes, just being out walking with the sticks, listening to them clink and just going for the middle of the green, no matter what, is the best way to play.

Glad you had fun!
 

Matthew

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You would be surprised how much internal "pressure" you put on yourself when you look at the pin. That psychological feeling that "I've get to get this close ... it's on the back tier, take enough club" really puts undue pressure on yourself. If you were to not look at the flag all the time and shoot at the middle of the green .... especially on small greens .... imagine what could happen.
Let's say the green is 20 yards deep & 10 yards across, from front to back & side to side ... so you shoot for the middle of the green at 10 yards. Just for sake of this example, you get no roll and it sticks right away. You have no more than 20 foot putt from front to back & 15 footer from side to side. Point being ... you can pretty much two putt or one putt from there no problem. (If you can't then you are practicing the wrong thing.)
Try playing a round the same way, by not looking at pins and shooting for the middle of the green. See how you do. Of course this won't work too well on courses like a Pete Dye design or Jack Nicklaus .... where the greens are acres & acres.
But you may be pleasantly surprised how more consistent you may become. And relaxing as you have already seen. :)

Not a Sermon .... Just a Thought
I tried the same approach this past weekend. Just tried to hit the middle of the green and work with it from there. I had a good day of ball striking and gave myself chances to score.

Why don't we do this more often?
 

OITW

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That's awesome! Some of the best rounds are always like that, just you and the course. Glad you it was a great experience for you.
 

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