I had been having a good round at The Gailes this past week, hitting every fairway and scoring a 41 on the front nine. But on the thirteenth, luck ran out and I drove the ball directly into an island of tall, thick grasses on the right side of the hole’s double fairway (it shares fairway with another going in the opposite direction).
Bad swing; worse result. My ball was sitting down in some of the most dense grass I had ever seen. Not knowing what else to do, I grabbed my six iron, and took my stance, bending my knees far more than usual. My thought was that I needed to dig it out, and bending my knees would help me stay down through the swing.
I took a mighty swing, keeping head down, and my hands and arms moving through. Clubhead caught ball perfectly, and it sailed out into the fairway just a hundred yards or so from the green.
“Brilliant recovery,” said a voice behind me.
I had been concentrating so much that I hadn’t noticed the Ranger approaching in his cart.
“I need it to make up for the one before that,” I said. “It was terrible.”
The Ranger shook his head. “You’ll be a much better golfer if you forget those bad shots and focus on what you do right.”
Then he drove off.
It was a bit of a Bagger Vance moment. I thought about it a bit, and realized that he was right. Thinking about what I did correctly on a good shot is going to get me a lot further than endlessly dissecting every poor one. As a postmortem to a swing, You finished high; do that again likely will lead to more good repetitions than you screwed up because you didn’t finish your swing.
As Bing Crosby sang:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene