Golf Reality Check

Golf Reality Check

Jordan Spieth won the Fedex cup last week – and over 22 million. You would think that winning 2 majors in a year, getting to number one in the world and capping it off with a Fedex win would mean the guy is infallible.

Check out this video of one of Jordan’s rounds


Lesson for all

The illusion of perfect play is simply that – an illusion. Even when a player wins a tournament, he/she will have many poor shots along the way. How you deal with that adversity will determine how you are as a player.

  • How do you react to a bad shot? Is it “Game over” for you once you hit one duffed shot? Or do you pick yourself up and move on, accepting that it will inevitably happen?
  • Are you able to grind it out, as I wrote in my popular article on Grit (click here)?
  • Do you still stick to the process, or do you go searching?
  • How well do you manage your confidence and expectation levels?




I see so many amateurs get bent out of shape when they hit one bad shot, and the entire round is at a loss. The reality is, no matter how much you prepare, no matter how good you are, you are still going to hit less-than-desirable shots.

Rather than prepare for a perfect round, prepare to accept whatever happens. Take the hits, and get on with the job.

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  • Zach

    I recently was thinking about this topic, and wanted to share some of my experiences. I just played in a tournament, and had an experience that definitely changed the way that I think on the course.

    I teed off with a guy who I knew was a solid player, and thanks to the shotgun start, we teed off on an island green par 3. Had 185 over water, and I watched as he dunked his first shot in the middle of the water. Instead of what I expected, he just said: “Oh, the air must be a bit thin today.. Oh well,” and then proceeded to get it up and down from the 130 yard drop zone. I put my ball on the green and two putted for par.

    Turns out, he ended up shooting a smooth 69 (3 under), while I posted a 73. I went home and started thinking about what I would have done in that scenario, and realized that there was a small chance that I would have recovered from such a startling first hole. That night, I started to visualize myself staying completely calm after a bad start, and turning the round into a good one.

    In the third round of the tournament, I had exactly that… a bad start. I made bogey on the first, and nearly dunked a ball on the par 3 second. I was standing over my chip shot lying on the bank of the water on the second hole, and I remembered what my playing partner the first day had done. I took several deep breathes, and told myself that I was going to turn it around. I chipped it to 6 feet, and made the right to lefter for a par.

    Staying calm through this rough start allowed me to go on and shoot 72 despite the nervy start, which wasn’t exactly the round of the day, but a good recovery given the circumstances.

    That day, I got the confidence that no matter what I make on the first few holes, there will always be time to make it up later in the round. It has allowed me to stay so much more calm on that first tee!

    • admin

      Great stuff Zach.

      One epiphany for myself came after knocking the first three shots out of bounds and going on to finish second in the tournament. It was one of the biggest lessons I have ever learned, for so many reasons.

  • Sean

    Hey Adam,

    I just wanted to let you know I’m 1/2 way through your book & I’ve already seen huge improvements in teaching external process \ result along with the principles from this article to my competitive golfers that lose their cool. I never realized I mainly taught internal focus due to my golf fitness background. Thanks for making me a better golf Performance coach! This stuff is gold!

    • admin

      Thanks Sean – very glad to hear the info is making a nice addition.

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