Lurching toward enlightenment is a Cool Golf Thing

There can never be too many reminders that golf is a mental game.
The author (left) in action during his up-and-down college career.

I recently took a nostalgia trip to reassemble my competitive golf resume, dating back my junior golf days of the early 2000s. Thanks to some assiduous record-keeping by junior tours and the Wayback Machine's ability to survey crusty old versions of other golf websites, I made quick progress on the project.

Golfers tend to be forward-thinking, but I found some key insight looking at those old numbers: in the past decade and a half, I haven't become a significantly more skilled golfer. I have been capable of shooting par or better in tournament conditions for half my life; I've just done it somewhat more often, with fewer blowup scores, in recent years. In 2006, I shot an even-par 72 at Pinehurst No. 8 in the first round of the North & South Junior, the most prestigious tournament I'd played to that point. Then, I faded with a 77 at No. 5 and an 84 at No. 2. The next fall, in my third-ever college event, I opened with 69 at tricky Royal Lakes Golf Club outside Atlanta. I shot 78 the next day. Which round do you think I scrutinized more?

Stringing good rounds together is one of the hardest things to do in golf, for any level of player. Good rounds often cause impostor syndrome - "I can't really be that good, can I?" - and we usually regress the next time out. After the inevitable bad follow-up round, our first instinct is to angrily grind away our flaws on the range, even though the golfer who played the good round hasn't gone anywhere. This realization suggests that sound mental golf requires appreciating and internalizing the good rounds. Never has Bobby Jones' quote about the five-and-a-half inch course between a golfer's ears made more sense to me.

1 Min Read
July 3, 2020
Enjoy this supernatural golf scene.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
2 Comments
Commented on

I just learned that author Tim Gavrich is a fellow leftie. And from the picture, a free-swinging one too.

Default User Avatar
Commented on

Great write up. Think we have similar games and our generation is more prone to look to nostalgia with our experiences. Thanks for the story.

More from the author
3 Min Read
May 19, 2022
Decades-long combination of lower-than-usual precipitation and creeping temperatures lead to big changes in desert course upkeep.
7 Min Read
May 17, 2022
The major championship jewel of the Great Plains is Perry Maxwell's masterpiece, recently restored by Gil Hanse.
1 Min Read
May 13, 2022
Drop and give me 18.
1 Min Read
May 11, 2022
These major champions got it done under the most intense pressure. They can help you do the same.
3 Min Read
May 9, 2022
We round up the golf books titles worth your leisure time.
6 Min Read
May 9, 2022
Here's how to play - and stay - where the pros play.
Popular
4 Min Read
May 2, 2022
Playing Del Monte at Pebble Beach Resorts on its 125th birthday reminded us that historical, classical golf is the best golf.
6 Min Read
May 5, 2022
Despite a limited Greek golf culture, this 72-hole golf resort offers everything a golfer could want.
2 Min Read
May 2, 2022
I'm participating in a Youth on Course 100 Hole Hike this summer. Why aren't you?
4 Min Read
May 3, 2022
At the moment, mask and testing mandates are in a state of flux. Many international destinations are relaxing rules to encourage overseas travel. We recently took advantage to visit Greece for the first time.
Load More
Now Reading
Lurching toward enlightenment is a Cool Golf Thing