The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Developing a strategy

One of the things that takes time to learn when one learns to play golf is what to aim for.

A typical reaction is to search for the flag and to try to play the ball directly towards it. It’s an approach that rarely considers where the ball lies and where it will land.

In the beginning, it seems that it doesn’t matter where the ball lands. It seems that the appropriate thing to do is to make a shot that goes as far as possible and to continue from where the ball landed.

But that is forgetting one’s own ability to play as well as the setup of the golf course.

Playing golf means playing the shot that will give the best chances to have an accessible next shot.

It’s not only the bunkers, waterholes, woods or the high grass one may want to avoid. It’s also knowing that some areas of the course are less easy to play and that some spots offer a better or safer shot toward the hole than others.

Playing golf also means having a strategy in mind that consists of the number of shots one assumes one will need and places them on a path toward the hole.

The better players succeed in staying close to that path, most of the time.

The better players also know what shot they can create from the position they are in; they’ll try to do that. They are careful to find ways that allow them to stick to the number of shots they aim for.

It’s a major difference for example to soccer. There it pays to try to shoot at the goal whenever the shot gives a chance to score.

Golfers know that every shot is a point that is lost.

Developing one’s strategy on a golf course is a great teacher helping to learn to read the environment and to pay attention to one’s ability. Adapting one’s strategy to the circumstances is what helps to see how much one learned and how good the day’s performance can be.

That’s what being present is for.


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