Excerpted from chapter 1 The Game of Golf & The Art of Business
As we approached his ball, Bob was still clearly wound up. He
had put it into the fairway, and I know he wanted to par the
opening hole to build momentum for the day. I was afraid that this
goal was going to affect his judgment.
Bob’s ball was just past the 200 yard marker in the center of the
fairway. 196 to the center of the green. He had already pulled out
“OK, let’s analyze the situation here,” I said. But Bob was
already looking toward the green. I say looking “toward” because
the green was obscured by the 50 foot maple trees in the “elbow” of
the dogleg. In Bob’s mind, he hit his driver 230 yards and his 3-
wood 205-215. In reality, he averaged about 15 yards less than that
with those clubs. He imagined that he could hit the green from here
with his 5-wood.
“Let’s take a moment and think this through,” I began. “You
don’t have a clear shot at the green. Those trees are fifty feet high,
so you’ll have to clear them, which raises the trajectory and
shortens the distance. While you may not be able to see it from
here, the fairway narrows as it approaches the green like the neck
of a bottle. The green is narrow, and is at a thirty to forty degree
angle to you. It’s got bunkers on either side.”
“OK…” Bob trailed, practice swinging the 5-wood. “So, what
are you suggesting?”
“Bob, the odds of you clearing those trees and carrying about
190 yards over the rough and right side bunker to the front of that
green are, well, they’re low odds..”
“You want me to lay up? There goes my chance to start the
round with a par.”
“I’m just being honest here, Bob. You will almost certainly take
two strokes to get onto that green from here. What do you want the
second shot to be? A punch shot out of jail in those trees that has
to come in hot and bite to a stop on the green? A wedge out of the
sand? A lob wedge from the rough around the neck of the green?”
“What do you suggest?”
“Well, let’s divide by two.”
I explained. “Since you have to take two strokes to get on that
green—unless you can hit the one out of twenty shot here with the
5-wood—let’s cut the distance in half and take two equal swings.
Why force a 170 with the wood and then manage a 30% swing
with a wedge to get on? Aren’t you most comfortable with a full
“Yeah, I hate the partial swing stuff.”
“OK, so you’ve got 196 yards to center of the green. Let’s cut
that in half: 98 yards. Two full swings with the pitching wedge.”
Bob looked disappointed. “I’m center of the first fairway at
Bethpage Black. You want me to hit a pitching wedge for my
second shot? That’s not the way to start my day.”
“Bob, don’t let the first hole jitters get to you. Two full swings.
First one puts you center of the fairway, past the dogleg with less
than 100 yards to go. Second full pitching wedge puts you center of
the green. Putting for par.”
Bob was tense. This is not how he saw his day beginning. I
knew that this was a far better beginning then he would have if I let
him hit that 5 wood and it ended up God-knows-where.
“You know, I do this all the time at work,” said Bob.
“Come out of the gate too amped up. That’s what my partners
say. I want to jump to a head start with every new client or project.
Phil always tells me to remember it’s a marathon—not a sprint.”
“Phil’s right,” I said, smiling. “Listen to Phil, and listen to me.
We have eighteen holes out here today. There will be par
opportunities. This isn’t one of them. Be patient.”
He thought for a moment, but the group behind us was waiting
on the tee. He shook his head, put the 5-wood back in the bag, and
pulled out his pitching wedge. The tension left him as he addressed
the ball. He took nice, full, and relaxed swing.
And he hit it through the dogleg to the center of the fairway,
landing almost on top of the 100 yard marker. “You’ve got me
playing lay-up golf on a dream course, Scott.”
“I’m getting you off to the start of your best round ever, Bob.
Don’t let the first hole jitters rattle you. Let’s think our way around
Bob had a great look at the green. The constricted neck of the
fairway was lined up directly in front of him, and he had the whole
length of the narrow green to work with. The bunkers on either
side were out of play unless he sliced or pulled it badly. Bob’s
second pitching wedge—his third shot of the hole—was a perfect
clone of the first: 100 yards straight as a ruler.
What do you think happens to Bob? Get the rest of the book at http://www.grandrapidsgolflesson.com/books/