Lucas Herbert said it in the press room following his first PGA Tour win at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, “My mindset was really important today.”
All golfers end up playing in bad weather. Challenging conditions at times are just part of the game.
It was interesting to note not all players did play their best when the weather was awful while following the tournament. By paying attention to the habits of those who did perform well, we can all learn a lesson or two on how to handle our game when the going gets ugly.
1) The Power of Positive Thinking
The first and most important rule when playing in demanding conditions is to embrace the moment. Lucas Herbert said, “I enjoyed the struggle out there today.” Instead of looking at your weather app, look in the mirror.
This mindset starts with knowing you won’t shoot your career round today. Accept you will struggle and really enjoy every good shot. Don’t mention the conditions at all. Keep them out of your conversations and thoughts. That trick alone will keep your mind positive and sharp. Let your competitors complain. It will only bring their mental state down and give you an advantage.
2) Be Prepared
Follow the Boy Scouts motto and pack for the situation. Bring extra towels, warm clothes and gloves. If you normally walk, take a cart. Stock that buggy up and you’ll be more comfortable. Take personal pride in being the most prepared golfer on the course. Not only will it literally help you play better, but you’ll feel better knowing you’re ready.
3) Play Smart
All players are going to struggle. It won’t take a career day to play well. Look at Herbert’s final round. A smooth two-under par did the trick. On a course where PGA Tour players can make an endless number of birdies, just a couple under was good enough. A round of golf presents many choices. Make conversative club selections, pick safe targets, and nothing risky. Hit it in the trees, punch it back out to the fairway.
If you choose the smartest play for each shot during the entire round you will score better than 80% of the field; guaranteed.
4) Make Every Shot Count
Scramble as if your life depended on every shot. Lucas didn’t hit many greens or fairways, but he did have an excellent short game week. Your short game WILL be the difference-maker. Know this going in and try your very best to hit shots close and make putts. When conditions are tough, everyone misses their target. Those who score well get the job done around the green.
Take extra time when warming up before the round practicing your chipping and putting. Test the sand texture before you play. Give yourself an advantage by paying attention to these details. Others won’t and it will serve you well.
Nobody wants to play in the rain or wind. Believe me, PGA Coaches dislike bad weather as much as anyone. But if you are out there, you can still make the most of the situation.
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