Play golf at the next level? Take this skill with you!
The short game in golf won’t win anyone a championship, but not having a strong short game will lose it for you. The shots inside of 110 yards give or take (pitching, chipping, and putting) will make all of the difference in your ability to play golf at the next level.
I spend the majority of my days involved with all different sports, even though golfers are most of the professionals. So, stay with me on this analogy, but the short game in golf is just like rebounding in basketball.
If you have a team that rebounds effectively, on offense, they give themselves extra scoring chances and most of these are high-percentage shots. A team that is an excellent defensive rebounding limits teams to one shot, thus keeping their opponent’s score down.
There are days offensively in basketball where the shots just do not fall; that’s basketball. BUT, if there is a team that crashes the boards, the law of averages states that those EXTRA shots eventually start to go in.
The short game in golf is like rebounding, because if you can get up & down 70% of the time and make 70% of your putts inside 10 feet. Then you’ll have the skill to compete in golf at the next level.
The short game in golf is DIRECTLY tied with the mental game. At the pro level, it might not be the #1 predictor for success, but it is the engine of momentum. Saving par can provide momentum, or that ill-timed three-putt, can crush it.
Some days your swing just won’t be there and you’ll miss greens. What will matter will be your ability to find a way and still get it in the hole. Getting up & down and saving par accomplishes you staying in the game. AND when those rounds happen when you are on your game and hitting 14 greens, getting up & down keeps your score low rather than throwing away your birdies.
So what does it take to be a great rebounder? The same skill it takes to have a great short game.
It’s all about mindset and attitude. It takes heart and passion. It boils down to how bad do you want the ball? Because great rebounders NEVER ask “was that my ball?”
The short game in golf is also about how bad do you want it? Are you willing and disciplined enough to wear out this part of your game? You have to want success bad enough that you’re willing to do the things you simply don’t want to do. That’s the mental skill needed to play golf at the next level.
Trust me, coaches hate to hear that phrase from their athletes.
Majority of players don’t want to work on rebounding and the short game because they are NOT sexy!
Hitting the ball further is sexy. Carving a 6-iron in to a tight pin is sexy.
But, your time is finite. You’ll have to devote your effort and energy towards becoming great at one part of your game. Hopefully, it’s saving shots!
Have you ever heard a coach say “we REBOUND the basketball too well?” No, just like you’ll NEVER hear a golfer say ” I work too hard on my short game!”
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out all the books on Mental Toughness-