Golf tip: Save the bogey

A man practices his form at the Vista Valencia Golf Course driving range on Sunday. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal

Watching the final six holes of the Open Championship from Royal Birkdale was a fun experience. I have never seen a player play a four-hole stretch in five-under par on the back nine to win a major championship.

Yet, that’s exactly what Jordan Spieth did.

However, it wasn’t the birdies or the eagle that stood out to me. What stood out to me was the bogey he made on the 13th hole.

Every player I work with has the same two goals in mind. They want to hit the ball farther, and they want to score lower.

I’m sure that most of you think the same way. However, as I often find myself explaining, the key to becoming a better player and scoring lower in this wonderful game is to limit the severity of your mistakes.

That’s what Spieth managed to do on the 13th hole at Royal Birkdale during the final round.

After hitting what many describe as the worst tee shot of his professional career, Spieth found himself in an unplayable position on the opposite side of a mound separating his fairway from the practice range.

In accordance to the rules of golf, Spieth took his one-shot penalty and dropped his golf ball on the practice range about 50 yards or so behind where his tee shot was found.

He was allowed to do this by keeping the exact line between his ball and the hole. Twenty minutes later, he drained about a 15-foot putt for bogey, and walked off the green only losing one-stroke to Matt Kuchar.

Therefore, he ultimately went on to win the tournament.

I’ll never forget the words from my high school golf coach. Every time any of his players would hit their ball into trouble, he would say “save the bogey.”

It didn’t mean a lot to me at the time, but never did it ring truer than watching the bogey Spieth saved on his way to winning the Claret Jug. Spieth “saved his bogey,” and I’m sure my former coach was sitting at home in New Mexico smiling in approval.

Sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, wrote a book titled “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect.”

It’s true.

Though we all strive for perfection, what truly separates great players from mediocre ones is their ability to handle the bad moments throughout their rounds. Rather than sit back and question yourself for why your tee shot flew off into the rough, you should instead just focus on how to recover with no worse than a bogey on the hole.

I can assure you, if it’s good enough for Spieth, its good enough for you.

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