O is for Off Day. Learning to manage your game on an off day when golfing in Thailand is one of the most difficult things to do. Anyway, after the anticipation and excitement of planning and spending a large amount of time and money to get to Thailand, the last thing you want is to have a poor golf game ruin your trip. Yet if you can successfully learn to get the most out of your golf when you don’t have you’re “A” game, your scores will be a lot better and your golf trip will be much more successful, I guarantee it!
A large part of all great players’ success, including the to greatest players ever to play the game; Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, is they get the most out of their game when their swings may be off. Nicklaus said, “One of the reasons I won so much was because I learned to win when not playing my best.” He went on, “Each time I went out my swing was different, my tempo was different, and once I accepted this, I improved my golf, and my love for the sport.”
Unfortunately for most golfers in Thailand, a bad day usually means high scores and worse a bad time. The first step to scoring well on a bad day is realizing golf is not a game of perfection. As most if you know, a poor shot can not be taken back. The harder you try to fix your swing on the golf course, the worse it gets. Better players can tell after the first few holes that their swing is a little off, or their timing isn’t quite there.
Even when playing at such challenging Thailand golf clubs like Navatanee in Bangkok or the new Siam Country Club in Pattaya, as soon as you realize your swing is not dead on, play within yourself (well within yourself is even better). You will manage your score and get more enjoyment from your round. For example, if you’re in between clubs, take one or two extra clubs. If you have a difficult approach shot, play to the safe side of the green, or even consider a lay-up. On the many holes where water comes into play, hit away from the hazard rather than trying to cut off as much as possible. Don’t take any risks, just play very conservatively.
Everybody has off days, especially when on vacation and golfing at a new or unfamiliar golf clubs. Unless you have an in-depth understanding of your golf swing and can self diagnose your own swing problems, then you’re not going to fix anything on the course. This is where the more mature golf travelers will shine. If this is you, accept the fact and focus more on your short game. After all it, when playing conservative golf it will be needed on almost every hole. Getting up and down from off the green, rather than perfect swing mechanics, will be the focus for that day. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Grind it out and the golf gods will reward you, even on an off day!