The blustery question of what you can control

windy_golfYears ago when I watched the Open Championship, I used to think that the players in the afternoon draw on Thursday must be frustrated that the morning conditions are almost always easier.

We saw in yesterday’s opening round that Dustin Johnson shot 66 in gentler winds and moderate temperatures in the morning. Phil Mickleson played well in the afternoon, but was satisfied with 70. It was the best he could do in the cold, raw wind.

Yes, all players must play in the morning and the afternoon on both Thursday and Friday. But it seems almost unfair that the Thursday morning players can get way ahead. After all, the weather started badly on Friday and is forecasted to get worse.

Consider if you were in the same situation: if the conditions prevented you from shooting a low score in the first round, wouldn’t you feel disadvantaged?

Well, there’s a massive difference in the way amateurs and pros consider these things, and you can learn a lot from the pros. I’ve heard many professionals say they don’t get rattled by the weather because they cannot control it.

Likewise, they cannot control their scores. You may not believe that, but Karl Morris, performance coach for 2010 Open Championship winner Louis Oosthuizen, articulates this lack of control over score nicely. “If you hit the perfect putt on the perfect line with the perfect weight, does it go in 100 percent of the time?” Obviously not. The ball could be knocked off line by an old ball mark or a bug, or slow down rolling over sand.

Therefore, fixating on score, which you cannot control, doesn’t make sense. You’ll help your game by focusing on those things in which you have 100 percent control, such as your pre-shot routine, visualization, and other parts of your process.

Here’s the surpising irony: if you focus on those things that you have absolute control, your scores will ultimately be lower.

To shoot lower scores over the long haul, don’t get hoodwinked into fixating on score, which you cannot control. Instead, focus on what you can control. After every round you’ll know that you did the best you could, whether you played in a raw, biting wind or in a gentle breeze.



About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!