Nothing like Mother Nature throwing a couple of curve balls at the guys on the PGA Tour this week and everyone else along the East coast for that matter. The professional tour golfers that grace the links of the PGA, Senior, Nationwide, European and LPGA Tours are very used to weather delays throughout the course of the season. Those that are able to manage the sometimes daunting task of keeping themselves prepared and focused during these times are more likely than not to find themselves on top of the leaderboard at the close of the week's event….whenever that may be.
This week however was one for the record books. Never before, and most likely never again will the PGA Tour see a situation where two natural disasters hit one event. The 5.6 magnitude earthquake the shook DC to New York (and was felt well north and south of that) coupled with Hurricane Irene made for an interesting start to the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Monday finishes due to weather or events shortened to 54 holes are not unheard in professional golf. However, a Hurricane shortened, 54-hole contest that ends on a Saturday can really rattle ones nerves…especially when playoff elimination and a hefty multi-million dollar annuity is up for grabs. With that said, is it really any wonder that the seemingly undaunted, coolest and calm guy on Tour won this week? Dustin Johnson has been through a lifetime of heart aches on Tour during his young career. With all that has happened to Dustin, from the PGA at Whistling Straits to his final round struggles at Pebble Beach, it's enough to make most want to pack it up and ride off into the sunset. But through it all, Dustin Johnson has managed to become even stronger and more confidant in his ability to win. This ability has not just come from his calm demeanor and seemingly almost nonexistent pulse rate or even all the lessons he has learned from the defeats of the past.
In my opinion, what separates Dustin and made him the perfect candidate to pull off the win this week during the most strangest of circumstances, was his ability to continue to be prepared and focused on his game plan throughout the week regardless of what was happing on the outside the ropes. As Ben Crane say's it best, the ability to "Live in the Now" is something that Dustin has seemed to master.
So what does all of this mean to you, Mr. & Mrs. Joe & Jane average golfer? It means that a solid and well thought out routine could be the key to you being more consistent on the golf course. And I'm not just talking about a pre-shot routine here. That is important for sure. I'm talking more about a game plan before you hit the golf course; a plan of attack. Get into the habit of mapping your strategy well in advance of your Saturday morning round with the guys or ladies. Play to your strengths and don't do anything that you really truly and honestly could probably not pull off. The biggest thing is to set a plan and stick to it. If you have to make an adjustment due to circumstances such as weather (or an earthquake) make those adjustments and stick to the new game plan. Even if ice does not run through your veins like Dustin Johnson, your best bet to being consistent on the course is having a consistent plan that you stick to. Your Saturday morning crew may be calling you DJ before you know it.
These principals of routine and consistency are something that I try to instill with my "Pee Wee" golf students in my Little Linksters program through my company Little Linksters, LLC (www.LittleLinksters.com) where we specialize in golf instruction for kids 3-8 years old. I also try to instill these ideas with my older students as well. Again, I'm not just talking solely about a pre-shot routine here, I'm talking complete planning and managing of your entire game…workouts, practice sessions, pre-round preparation and secondary preparatory plans due to changes such as weather. Have a routine and plan and stick to it. You will see your game change for the better for sure.
Brendon Elliott is a PGA Golf Professional in Central Florida. He is the owner of Little Linksters, LLC, and the Little Linksters Golf Academy at Metrowest Golf Club, as well as an instructor at the Metrowest Golf Learning Center in Orlando. Brendon is a 2010 US Kids Top 50 Kids Teacher as well as the 2011 NFPGA Junior Golf Leader Award recipient. To learn more about Brendon log onto www.LittleLinkters.com or www.MetrowestGolf.com
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