Golf great Walter Hagen used to say “Three of those and one of these equals par.” What he meant was that you could hit three bad shots and still save par with a good fourth. It was his reminder to never give up on a hole.
I had one of those Hagen rounds today. I was hacking it all over the course, but was determined not to give up on any hole.
But unlike Hagen, for me it was more like “Three of those, plus one of these, and a short putt equals bogey.”
My comical performance on the par five eighth was typical. I hit a drive over the trees onto the adjacent fairway. Then, attempting to get back onto the fairway by going over the trees, I topped the ball and instead bounced it back under the branches. With a long shot at the green over a pond, I hit a five wood fat. I was short and right in some deep rough. My pitch landed just inches from the hole. Tap in. Par.
And so it went.
I don’t keep score while on the course. I record the numbers, but make it a point not to look at the previous hole’s score, or add anything up until after I reach the clubhouse. So at the end of the round, not knowing what my total was, I was sure that I was in triple digits. I felt terrible about my performance. But when I added the scores, I found I had shot an 86.
Hagen was right. Never give up on your round. Just keep grinding away at each hole, and you may end up surprising yourself.