The Stadium

Rob Rashell
Director of Instruction
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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Every year at TPC Scottsdale they begin building the 16th hole sometime around the first week in October, roughly four months to build the 15,000 seat arena known as The Stadium. I’m sure everyone who has ever been there or seen it on TV has thought or wondered what it would be like to hit a shot with a full house, ready to boo your shot at a moments notice. When you get your chance, maybe this will help.

1) Worst Case Scenario –  One of the things I think about when I’m going into a situation that I know I’m going to be a bit nervous, golf tournament or otherwise, I always ask myself, “What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?” Ninety nine percent of the people could care less about what the golfers are doing. Even if you top it or miss it everyone will get a good chuckle, grab another beverage and await the next victim. The round of golf will go on and you’d have one hell of an experience to tell your friends about, life goes on. Thinking of the worst in any tough spot can help you relax, free up your mind, and hopefully play a little better.

2) Room for Error – If someone were to ask you before you teed off if you would take a three and move on to the 17th, would you? If the answer is yes, act accordingly and aim that shot right out in the middle of the green, try to make 20-30 footer for birdie, tap it in for par and move on. The crowd probably won’t boo you, they might not cheer you either, but you’ll have made a three with no major difficulties. If you’re going to take on a tough pin position, have your caddie get the umbrella ready for the rain of boos!

3) Handling Nerves – I know most of the golfing world, both amateur and professional, have been over a shot and felt some nerves. Try to enjoy the situation. Our lives are filled with lots of day to day activities that don’t get the heart racing, or make us uncomfortable. I know for me, both on and off the course, being nervous let’s me know I’m probably doing something I should be doing, testing my limits. Being nervous doesn’t guarantee a good shot or a bad shot, I’ve done both under some extreme circumstances. One thing I do know, I’ve learned more from the times I’ve been nervous than the days or circumstances that I’m not. Good luck and have fun at the 16th!  

Rob Rashell is now the Director of Instruction at TPC Scottsdale. You can reach