Make Sure Your Break is Beneficial
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Luke List finished his stellar 66 on Sunday approximately two hours before the final group. Since the South Course at Torrey Pines is so challenging, he knew there was still a chance his score could hold up against the leaders. List was happy to be done, but he still had one more challenge of his own to face… what should he do with all this time?
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Luke List had never won on the PGA tour before. In 205 starts he has made 107 cuts and came in second twice. Needless to say, what was happening at the Farmers was foreign. Like Luke, we have all faced delays in our golf playing life. Downtime we didn’t expect. Whether it was waiting around for a playoff or being called off the course for some dangerous weather, there are a couple things you can do to keep your rhythm going.
Don’t get away from the game.
This applies to those waiting for a playoff. Keep track of what is happening on the golf course. Professional hitters in baseball watch the pitcher all game. They don’t just wait until it is their turn to hit. By following along, you can stay mentally sharp. If you let your mind wander too much it can be tough to get back into the moment.
This is especially important during delays. It is very easy to get into a negative frame of mind when waiting around. Most others will complain. Make sure you stay positive. Practice going in and out of focus. Just as you would between shots on the course. Don’t keep asking when you’ll start or what’s happening next. The course officials will tell you when it’s time to play. Until then, find something fun to do.
Stay committed until the end.
If you plan on playing golf, then stick to the plan. Just because you’re waiting around doesn’t mean it’s time to start thinking about something else. Whether it is a delay, or you are waiting for a playoff, as soon as you reroute your focus, the game might as well be over. Golf is a commitment. The more you stick to that principle when you play/compete, the better your results will be.
Keep it loose.
While watching the television coverage, we kept getting video of List hitting practice shots. Make sure your body and mind both remain ready. During delays, this can be more challenging. Find an open area, maybe the course has a fitness room. Anything you can do to stay mobile will benefit you upon return. Pay attention to players like Luke, it’s not about hitting lots of balls. Just keep the body moving and mind sharp.
Just a List knew he would need to be ready for a playoff, he did two very smart things. He hit some drivers. The Par 5 18 th hole used for the playoff requires a great drive. Once you get close to “go-time” make sure you prepare. Then right before he headed to the scorer’s tent to meet with his opponent, he rolled a couple putts. Know what skills you’ll need at the restart and make those a priority.
These PGA Coach’s tips may sound simple, but so are Post-it notes and they really work. It is so easy for us to get distracted by phones and others. Keep committed to your golf until you’re done, and you just might find you’ll be very happy with the results.