I had a very solid practice session yesterday afternoon following my 3.5 hour drive from Leland to The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, NC. The one-two punch of heat and humidity were overwhelming — 95 degree air temps and 65% humidity — especially when walking a very hilly golf course. Who knew the Charlotte area was so undulating! Despite the brutal playing conditions, I hit the ball beautifully on a somewhat familiar golf course and putted just as well. Course conditions were less desirable than expected, but only because of the harsh winter that many of the courses in North Carolina endured. Fairways and tees experienced serious winter kill but the greens were as good as they could be for being bent grass during a scorching summer. Although slow, they rolled rather true.
Unfortunately, my solid prep work the past week and planning did not carry over earlier today for my round one performance. I felt great going in to the first tee shot but somewhere along the line, my mind got away from me. As a result, I was only able to post a score of even par 70. All things considered, I was able to scramble very well today and most of my misses (which was nearly every shot) were within reason.
Although I am displeased with my lack of commitment to each and every shot (barring any putts) I was able to learn a lot about my style of play and what I am great at. So lets break this down…
I played with 2 other guys, one that shot 76 (+6) and the other 64 (-6). The biggest difference I noticed between us was the three of our mental games and the way we handled ourselves on the golf course. Mr. 76 was Mr. Negative and I could tell he never committed to a single swing or target the entire round. Not only that, every time he missed a shot or made bogey, he let it affect him in a very negative way. He slammed a few clubs out there and in general acted very unprofessionally. I am sure that this mindset made his score much worse, as he was not able to let go of the previous shot or previous hole. On the other hand, Mr. 64 was calm, cool and collected the entire day. He never hit a shot without committing to exactly the shot shape and distance he had in his mind. This did, at times, lead to very lengthy and deliberate routines which were sometimes painful to watch. As a result though, his commitment to every swing led to a very solid start to his tournament. The thing is, I know I can play just as well if not better than him if I can learn to commit in a similar way. In any case, I learned 2 main things about myself from watching these two players:
#1) I don’t let bad shots affect my mind set or my body language. This is something I have worked very hard on in the past. I am very proud of this!!
#2) I have commitment issues…I worry too much about the result and what will happen if I make a bad swing. This is a very large issue that I need to shake myself of in order to realize my full potential.
Tomorrow I will try very hard to believe in myself on every swing, stay in the present and not let my mind worry about the future. If I can do that, I KNOW I can perform much better than I did today. I was happy with literally just one iron shot that I hit today out of all my drives and all my approach shots. That was because I saw the shot, committed to the distance and shot shape and trusted my swing to deliver the results. Every other swing out there was guided in some way.
If I can learn to TRUST, I know I have the skills I need to succeed. I am confident that after a few more events under my belt, I will start seeing some really good results. This is just Round 1 of the next few years!
I know I will commit to more shots tomorrow than today and regardless of what happens (made/missed cut) I will be happy with my performance. Come back soon for my second round update! Round 2 begins 1:30pm.
Great things are coming! Thanks for following me on this journey.
6 thoughts on “Round 1 Southern Open”
Scott, excellent post! Commitment is the key. Your post also contained the answer to how do you gain commitment. You can’t control the outcome – you can control what you do to affect the outcome. E+R=O. The event + your reaction to it = what the outcome will be. See the result as you are prepare to hit it. Commit to that shot. You’ll make a lot more than you’ll miss. See the shot. Literally see the result. Your mind will control you body. Then it is a matter of practicing and shot selection….and you’ve got that dedication necessary. It’s a lot more fun too! Have fun and stay hydrated!
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Thanks for reading the post and thanks for the very wise words. I will definitely digest them and allow my preparation to fuel my thoughts. It’s early in the process and although I sounded somewhat negative in the post, I’m pleased that even on a non-commitment day I was able to shoot even par. I can tell already you will be my future mental game coach!
One down. Remember, even the best that ever played the game won less than 10% of the tournaments he played. It’s just as your post on 8 July stated – being committed to the process doesn’t ensure the outcome. There will be more outcomes.
Practice what you are good at – it’s fair to say that going from GOOD to BETTER to BEST holds a lot more promise than going from worst to best. Still practice what you’re weakest at right now…but focus on the positives – take what you do well and make it better. Be Scott Newell, Pro. Do it Scott’s way.
Good post Scott. Even par is a great opening day. And how fortunate for you to be paired with 2 very different young men, with 2 very different outcomes.
Commit and accept the result.
I remember you telling me during a lesson or at a benefit tourney to always take the shorter club and hit it hard. There’s a reason it goes further than the longer club in that situation – commitment. Golf, life and business – not much difference. Commit, accept the result, commit again – over and over. In business I called it execution excellence. We preached it every day. It allowed us to outperform lumbering giants many times our size, even when our strategy, our products our funds were not the best. And commitment is the essential cog in life too. The foundation of the family, even when all members aren’t committed.
So go get ’em today. “Hit the shorter club.” Lots of water.
We are very proud of you!
Pops & Peggy
I loved hearing about your play. My family teases me because I really do love to compete. Letting go of the last shot and visualizing the next is what all of life is about. It’s always the way you handle things…good or bad…that makes you a winner. Try to block ” Mr Negatives” out of your head and learn from the best player you see. Keep yourself relaxed so you can have your best swings ever. Keep cool…..like my grandkids know you are!!!
Nancy & Mike Schulte
My family always teases me because I love to compete. It was very interesting to read your post. It’s true in golf and life that you win because of the way you handle the situations that come your way. Ignore “Mr Negative” and learn from the better player. Shake off the last shot, focus on the next shot and stay cool……like my grandkids know you are!
Nancy $ Mike Schulte