Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Professional golfers are not used to shooting over par when they are in contention. In fact, that is typically what separates the top players from the guys who are in the middle of the pack being able to get the job done when they are in contention.
So, for Matt Kuchar it had to be particularly difficult to have gone to Sunday three weeks in a row within reach of winning a TOUR event only to have his Sunday play be less than stellar and come up short. At the RBC Heritage he held what looked like a safe lead well into Sunday only to see it go away quickly near the middle of the round, and when he 3 putted from less than 5 feet on 17 it had to feel like déjà vu all over again!
But, here is what he did not do, he didn’t give up. Because it actually got worse before it got better. He hit his approach shot on 18 into a greenside bunker and stats showed he had a slim to none chance of holing it out. Yet, that is exactly what he did! He holed the shot in spectacular fashion for the win!
Many of us would have been lamenting our bad luck about how we had let a tournament or our career low round or even just a Saturday side bet get away. Matt, however, looked at the shot and told himself that it really didn’t look all that hard. I am sure he pictured in his mind all of the times that he had had success from similar situations. I am sure he pictured only all of the good things that could happen on the shot. How am I sure about this? Because Matt Kuchar is a champion and that is how champions think!
The majority of the golfing public however, would have seen the grand stands behind the green or the marsh and water to the left. The pictures in their minds would have been of all the possible disasters that could come from their next swing. And, most likely one of those imagined disasters is exactly what would have happened.
Visualizing yourself hitting good shots certainly isn’t all it takes to perform well on the golf course, but it is absolutely a big part of it. The next time you are faced with a challenging shot, or even just the first tee shot of the day, imagine all of the good things that can happen with the shot and I’ll bet you will be more likely to make one of those happen!
Jeff Fisher is Director of Instruction at the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or firstname.lastname@example.org.