By Reed Weatherford
It just so happens that my young daughter has a newfound, yet familiar, passion for watching golf on television. We snuggled up last Sunday the watch The Memorial Tournament held in Columbus, Ohio.
Just recently she has shown a curious interest in both the players and the game, enthusiastically calling out “Rory McIlroy,” “Jason Day” and her favorite. “Jordan Spieth.” She advises them not to hit it in the water or the fish will get their ball while others are gently instructed to avoid the bunkers because the crabs will eat their toes. As a father, it’s awesome to see her take such notice and concern over something she is just beginning to learn.
As Sunday’s final round unfolded, I was eager to watch how William McGirt would handle himself with the a bunched leaderboard. He has been close before but never able to punch his ticket. As McGirt plotted his way around, I could not help but notice how well he was putting. It was clear that he did not have his best from tee to green. For any golfer, his discomfort with his swing was evident but he was making up for his misses with putting that was really fun to watch.
I thought it was very interesting that after McGirt won, Jack Nicklaus applauded him for the way he won — He didn’t get in his own way. He stayed steady and let everyone else implode in front of him. That’s such an important part to the game of golf. About 95 percent of the time golfers struggle because they get in their own way. They over-think, over-analyze, and before they know it they know it, their round of golf is over.
The guys on the PGA tour have mastered the art of staying out of their own way and getting the ball in the hole. Even when they aren’t playing at full capacity, they can still score well because their putting is extraordinary.
So as I tell everyone I teach, it is imperative to stay out of your own way. The challenge and victory is found in the short game. Seventy percent of the shots hit in one round of golf are within 75 yards of the flag. That’s where we all need to practice, focus and become more comfortable.
And from the mouth of a pint-sized future putter: Stay out of the water and bunkers so that your toes and your golf balls will survive.
Play well and play often.
Reed Weatherford is the Head Golf Professional at Sanctuary Golf Club at Cat Island. He can be reaached at 843-524-0300 Ext 105 or Reed.Weatherford@sanctuarygolfcatisland.com.