One of the biggest issues I come across when playing with members at the club or amateurs in Pro Ams, is that they waste shots by under-clubbing. Generally, this is simply due to the “ego factor” taking over in a specific situation. For example, if someone hits a particular iron on a par 3, they will try to hit the same club as their playing partner because the little devil on their shoulder said, “yeah, you’ve got that shot, go for it, you’re just as good as they are.” However, the little angel on your other shoulder should be saying “take the extra club, swing smooth, it’s a smarter decision.”
Trying to club off someone else can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make. As an observer you have no idea what the other player is trying to do from a power standpoint. You’re also not aware of the shape of the shot or height of the shot. It’s all a guess on your behalf. If you guess wrong, mis-hit your shot, pull it because you swing too hard or push it because you swing too soft, chunk it or thin it, you’re not likely to get the result you expected. So, eat some humble pie, put your ego back in your golf bag, brush the little devil off your shoulder, take the extra club and make your normal stock swing and learn to control the ball. I guarantee your misses will become better or you will surprise yourself and playing partners with a spectacular shot. Moreover, you will trust it next time if you pull it off. Self belief can go a long way.
It’s so important to “play your own game.” At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who hit what, it’s what you write on the scorecard. Play to your strengths; don’t create a weakness in your game by playing someone else’s game.
More columns by Jason Helman
Jason Helman is the Teaching Pro at Wyndance Golf Club in Uxbridge. He earned distinction as the CPGA Teacher of the Year in 2010.