We played another round together today and I am writing this letter to you because I am getting a little bored with the ease with which I exert control over you. Lets use today as an example. Like many times before, you were swinging the club beautifully while warming up on the range, confidence growing with each swing. At the first hole, I noticed about 12 fellow golfers milling around the pro shop, ready to watch your first shot of the day. So as you made your last few effortless practice swings, I devised today’s strategy for your downfall. And like always, it worked.
Before and during each round of golf I am playing with your mind and your body. I make it almost impossible to hit me with the grace and power you demonstrate in your practice swing. I give you the yips on crucial short putts. I control your thoughts then give you amnesia. Like a dealer, I occasionally give you a free dose of my most powerful drug – a perfect shot. The thrill of such a shot keeps you hooked and me in business.
It confounds you that your rehearsal practice swings are smooth and graceful, but when you attempt to hit me your swing becomes little more than a spasm. It is amazing to this round white author that you have never figured out why this happens. So let me make it simple for you. During the practice swing I am nowhere to be seen, but as you get ready to play a real shot, there I am looking up at you. Can you not see that I am the reason for the sudden change in your golf swing? By the way, I usually leave you alone on the driving range, and wait to mess with you until we start playing. This is why you hit it better at the range than on the course.
On short putts I place thoughts in you mind that make you tense up and miss. These are the “yips” and it is one of my most insidious tricks. This is how it works. Just before you putt, I remind you of how embarrassed and frustrated you will feel after you miss the putt and you just freeze up with fear. Central to this strategy is that you think that you should make these short putts. Therefore when do you make one, you only feel relieved and when you miss you feel like an idiot. Can you see that I have you by the throat when all that is available to you on a short putt is feeling relieved or feeling like an idiot?
One way I work my magic is by manipulating your thoughts then throwing you off the scent. Lets use the example aforementioned first tee scenario. You were swinging the club well while warming up for the round and now it is time to display your prowess in front of the mini-gallery. You address the ball and just before you begin your swing I remind you not to embarrass yourself by slicing me into the trees. I do this with imagery, causing you to actually imagine both the slice and the embarrassment. You then make a tense fearful swing and off I go into the trees. Just after the shot, amnesia kicks in and you forget my pre-swing sabotage as you wonder what went wrong with your swing mechanics
For selfish reasons, I let you experience the thrill and joy of success. It is not generosity that motivates me. I do it to ensure your return to the golf course, my domain. My only request is that you take these remorseless confessions and prepare yourself to mount some sort of defense against my power. You see, my dear golfer, like you I am also interested in a challenge.
Your Titleist Pro V1