Rob : My goal today was to shoot in the 70s. Oh yes, and have fun. It was all going good and I was on track to shoot in the 70s. My driver and putting were going very well. Chips and irons mostly going well. Hybrids and 3 woods iffy. But on the last 5 holes things started to go downhill and I went 5 over. Then Dad really messed me up on the 18th hole. He said I was aiming left into the trees so I changed my set up and I drilled it right straight into the greenside bunker. I then took 2 shots getting out of that thing instead of putting for birdie. My take-away from today is that I really can’t lose focus. Also, when short game is good, that can make up for a lot of errors.
As an aside, everyone knows short game is the most important thing, but on the range it is the most fun to hit drivers, hybrids, 3 woods …… In fact probably 70% of practice time is often spent on longer shots. Those that play for pay know that the short game is where they make their money. Being able to hit an approach shot close to the hole, trusting your short iron for that up and down, and getting the ball up to a hard to reach pin comes with a lot of practice but always reflects well on a scorecard.
One consistent vexation targeted at younger junior golf is the overwhelming instances of over-coaching experienced out in the field. This is not only detrimental to pace of play but also, I believe and have said many times in preceding blog entries, to the player who needs to be figuring these things out for himself in order to develop long-lasting self-confidence and the ability to move seamlessly into non-caddy tournaments as he ages up. Anyway, over-coaching was not the problem that Max, on Rob’s bag today, came across – rather it was an overbearance of Daddy-Caddy 1’s purported knowledge of golf rules. Daddy Caddy 1 and his son are new to the tour, and so have not come up through the ranks learning etiquette and rules organically through trial, error and experience. Daddy Caddy 1 is, Max assumes, not a golfer himself but someone who has given himself a quick crash course in the rules and is anxious to show an element of mastery thereof at any given opportunity.
He gave Max trouble over attending the pin for a shot Rob was going to play off the green. Max tried hard to explain the correctness of his action to him even going so far as to give examples of tour pro caddies who will often attend the pin when the pro is chipping green-side.
Then, Playing Partner 2 hit a ball into a hazard. They all saw it go into the hazard, hence it was known or virtually certain the ball was in the hazard. The italicized words are important for the rule. In this case they decided to take the drop as per the hazard rule. Daddy Caddy 1 argued, however, that the rules for a lost ball should have been implemented and continued to fret “I still don’t feel like we got that ruling right” many holes later until another opportunity for his inexperience arose and he managed to convince Playing Partner 2 and his Daddy Caddy (who at this point I think was just so shell-shocked) that because Playing Partner 2 declared his ball unplayable in the hazard -and then proceeded to drop a few times outside the hazard (the ball kept rolling back in) as per ‘playing out of a hazard’ rule – that the kid should have a 10 on his scorecard for that hole due to all the drops ……. No! You cannot declare a ball in a hazard unplayable.
As a further aside, Caddies – if you have a concern regarding a rule don’t wait until the hole is done then “proclaim” your take on the situation as the correct one. Discuss it in real time. Further, if there is a question that cannot be agreed on, play 2 balls and make a note on the scorecard. Let the officials decide the situation at the end of the day.
Apart from the frustration with the inexperienced Daddy Caddy 1 Max enjoyed his round with Rob and his take-aways from the day were two happy little conversations :
Rob: How am I playing?
Max: Your drives are good. Your putting is going really well. In general you are playing very nicely.
Rob: Good, that’s what I wanted to hear.
Then, after a 5 foot birdie putt miss –
Rob: That’s more disappointing than having a huge fish get off your line right in front of you!
Yeah, it takes every kind of people, to make what life’s about.