How To Stay Consistent Like Cam
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Cameron Smith became the 2022 Champion Golfer of the Year at the Old Course at St. Andrews
Cam Smith took control of the 150th Open Championship with a birdie barrage as he started the back 9 of his final round. He made five birdies in a row and took the lead from Rory McIlroy. This sudden stretch of spectacular play led to a final round 64 and his first major championship victory. This was his second 64 of the tournament and helped him set all sorts of Open Championship records.
Maintaining momentum is important to putting together a round you’ll remember. Although all amateurs won’t go on birdie runs, they can string together pars during a great round. Inevitably playing great takes us out of our comfort zone. How was Cam able to keep his run going? If you were watching closely, you probably caught a few keys like I did that can help you maintain momentum the next time you head to the course.
The first key in maintaining great play is to understand that golf is game of routines.
When we are playing well, we must pay attention to our practices. Our pre-shot routine, thought process, and plan for each shot follow a pattern. The next time you find yourself in a hot streak, take notes on your approach to each shot. Look for details you can write down and repeat. Those specific tangible actions are the best weapon against being inconsistent. Keep in mind, we’re just talking about keeping a birdie or par run going.
The basis of this strategy is meant to help keep a consistent score on your card. It was impressive to see Cam shoot 64 and make five birdies in a row on the back nine. When we take a little larger look, he played the final 23 holes of the Open Championship without a mistake. Too many times when we are playing well, we try to increase our effort. To play great, we need to be consistent.
Don’t try to change anything when you’re in a groove. Just keep everything the same.
One aspect of golf that makes it tremendously difficult, is that we are always trying to do a little more when we are successful. Don’t push in these circumstances. One of the quickest ways to ruin a good run of play is to think with a little more effort, I can do even better. Don’t fall into that trap. If you’re driving the ball great, keep that routine going. Don’t ever try to add a little extra.
Golf baits us into thinking a little more may be even better. Consistency is the key to keeping the streak going. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that more will lead to increased success. When you listen to winning players like Cam Smith they give us hints in their commentary. Listen to their words and watch their actions.
Your personal perspective should be on the best version of your game.
Believe in the good version of yourself. This is the last and most important key. Most amateurs only see the bad version of themselves as a player. What if your internal image was of the person who plays well instead? It makes a huge difference just like noticing your best routine and not trying to do more.
Congratulations to our entire men’s major winning class of 2022 — all of whom were in their 20's. You have all showed us how to be a better version of ourselves. Practice these few key concepts and the next time you play the results will certainly start to define the new you on the golf course.