It’s all relative, but we’ve all had that “banner” golf round, when everything clicks…when we’re “in the zone”. It may be scoring less than a hundred for the first time or breaking par, but all of us had to keep going right to the 18th to reach that milestone, keep the concentration, the rhythm and the focus.
I was engrossed by Eddie Pepperell at the Open Championship on Sunday. One of England’s brightest new talents, he was having a fabulous day, remorselessly chasing down the leader’s score of -10, “peppering” the pin and rolling in everything he looked at. He reached the 17th tee having just had yet another birdie and now tied for the lead; so far a blemish-free round. Admittedly, the famous St Andrews 17th, the Road Hole, is one of the most fearsome holes in golf, but to these guys the drive isn’t that challenging, albeit requiring about a 300 yard blow there is lots of room both right and especially left where most bale out. Clearly, Eddie suddenly felt he was bullet-proof and picturing a birdie even here taking the lead on his own, he lashed at the driver, came out of the shot and sprayed it right into the grounds of the St Andrews hotel and out of bounds. To my mind, he didn’t put the shot in perspective, recognise the danger or just take stock…he was “pumped up” having tied the lead.
The point is, we are all subject to the same thing, losing focus. Pepperell wasn’t under pressure, he just let adrenalin take over and didn’t take a moment to consider that this was an important shot in his round which required his full attention. The lesson for all of us, whether a par at 18 is required to break 90 or holing a six footer means we shoot 68, is we need to continue what has been a fabulous day’s golf by staying in the moment as much as possible and not get carried away. Probably it will be nerves that we have to deal with, but whatever it is, we must find a way to continue our momentum and go back to basics with our pre-shot routine and good fundamentals; that’s what got us to this position, this moment of glory. Good luck, and reach that milestone!