Master the Course

Commit to the shot

By Joe Plecker, PGA
Published on

Webb Simpson's commitment to this chip shot helped him win the 2012 U.S. Open Championship.Getty Images

Ben Hogan once said, "The most important shot in golf is the next one." Could there be any wiser words for playing golf?
Goals in golf are self-evident: hit the ball close to the target, avoid trouble and complete the hole in as few shots as possible.
Reminding ourselves of these basic goals during a round of golf are not helpful and actually hurt our focus. Players of every level are guilty of losing sight of the real factors that make a complete round of golf as good as it can be. Playing your best golf isn't setting up one over-reaching goal; it's creating a separate goal for every shot.
The key is to stay patient and focused
Before every shot, select a target and decide what distance, trajectory and ground reaction you are expecting. Having a more complete idea of every shot you hit will keep you in the moment, not wasting time and energy on what might go wrong, but focusing in on the positive outcome a great shot will produce.
When it's time to pull the trigger, BELIEVE in your strategy and shot.
When you hit a terrible lie, maybe in a hole, in the deep rough, and there seems no way out, simply refocus and set up your plan. Don’t dwell on the negative. Stay committed to your shot.
Elite players play with a high level of INTENTION. They have a plan and a commitment to every shot they hit. It's specific and it's methodical.
For your next round, don't simply think, “hit fairways,” “hit greens;” try to knock it in. Put the plan in your head — and watch it translate to your scorecard.