Playing Well When Faced With Adverse Conditions
There are many challenging aspects to the game of golf and many are outside your control, such as weather, course conditions, your score and the leaderboard.
There is one uncontrollable factor that distracts or hurts golfers’ mental game… wind!
Wind gusts and swirling winds affect both the flight of the ball and the path it travels as it rolls. You can do everything right and put a great swing on the ball but the wind often blows the ball in a different place than you intended.
The unpredictability of the wind frustrates and angers many golfers and increases the difficulty of each shot exponentially.
You must stay above the weather in the golf course and not allow the wind to control your emotions.
Focusing on what you can control is a mental skill that you must develop to play great golf. The biggest thing you can control and your most powerful weapon against the wind is your mental attitude.
At the 2016 Masters Tournament, wind gusts caused many shots to veer off path and messed with some golfers mentally.
During Round Three, the winds gusted up to 30 mph making playing conditions extremely difficult. Of the 57 players who played in Round Three, only five managed to shoot under par.
Jordan Spieth, who had a performance collapse on the final day of the tournament, commented on the difficult playing conditions.
SPIETH: “We were trying to adjust with ever-gusting and changing winds. It was just a really difficult day to score.”
No golfer suffered the effects of the wind more than Billy Horschel. Horschel was facing an 8-foot putt for eagle on the 15th hole when the wind ruined his chances to move him to 1-under for the day.
As Horschel was surveying his putt, a gust of wind blew and Horschel watched helplessly as his ball rolled into the water.
Horschel had to go back to where he hit the third shot from, take a one-stroke penalty, and take a drop. Horschel was visibly frustrated as his would-be eagle became a bogey.
HORSCHEL: “I knew that once the ball rolls, once it’s in play, if it starts rolling, you have to play it from where it finishes… I just wasn’t happy…”
“It’s an unfortunate situation where a big old gust came through, my ball was a foot or two from a false front, and it started rolling and the wind kept pushing it to the false front and it went in the water.”
Horschel understood it was an unfortunate event that was uncontrollable and his positive attitude allowed him to re-focus quickly.
HORSCHEL: “Everyone knows I’m an emotional guy. I’m just trying to learn as I get older to harness it a little bit. And, listen, it’s bad luck. It’s nobody’s fault for that happening…”
The “right” attitude to cope with windy conditions:
Attitude is everything. You can’t control the wind but you can control your attitude about the wind.
The “right” attitude doesn’t mean you like the wind; it just means you accept the wind as a potential added hazard on the golf course that affects every golfer on the course.
Tell yourself, “It is what it is” and re-focus on the next shot and how you will play it. Arming yourself with the “right” attitude is your most effective weapon against bad weather.
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