“Good decisions come from experience
and experience comes from making bad decisions.”
Staying out of Trouble
If the quotation above is not one of the great truisms, I don’t know what is. This is so in nearly every aspect of life and, particularly, in personal relationships and in the game of golf.
My deeper understanding of this truth began one afternoon as I was walking down the fairway with Bill Greene, a keen observer of life and a true gentleman from Virginia. Looking back, I’m inclined to think he had been observing me for a while as he began to tell me this story.
Bill played a round with an old friend and asked him what his best round was so far. His friend told him his score, which I have forgotten. Then Bill asked, “How would you like to beat that score by three strokes?” His friend replied that he sure would. Bill said, “In our next round, let me tell you which club to play and where to hit it, and you will.” They agreed on a date, and when his friend did what Bill asked, he had his new best round by three strokes.
I immediately told Bill I wanted to do the same thing with him, which I think was Bill’s intention all along. He asked me my best score, which I told him, though I needn’t mention it here. So we played another round, and I too had my best round, by more than three strokes.
So how did that happen?
Bill is a master of course management, which I wasn’t. He told me which club to hit and where to hit it. If I chose a six iron, he told me to hit a seven. If I was hoping to fly the bunker, Bill had me hit shorter and to the side to take the bunker completely out of play. And this went on in every shot on every hole, even in putting.
Bill anticipated the result before making the shot and simply avoided trouble, and with his expert guidance so did I. Now you might think that from that moment on, I played every round that way.
So, why is this so simple to understand and yet so hard to do? I think it’s the same reason we get into silly arguments with others, even though we know better, not that that ever happens to me. Yet when I have patience and presence of mind, my golf game and my life go much better.
So for my next round, I plan to have fun, keep it in play, and stay out of trouble. Might as well try that in my conversations too.
Thanks, Bill, a little shared wisdom has gone a long way.