Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Grind it out. Your game will improve just by identifying your strengths and weaknesses and then grinding it out.
I will remember my first attempt at our Junior Provincial, your State equivalent Qualifier. I was 14 and paired up with a, I think he was a 12 year old at the time. Maybe I was 15 and he was 13, it doesn’t really matter. He was all of, what seemed like 4 feet tall and 60 pounds at the time.
I distinctly remember him pulling out a ladies Callaway driver on the first tee and thinking cute. I proceeded to pound my drive down the middle a whopping 230-240 yards at the time…big hitter. This kid pops ha drive out 200-210. We both miss the green, he walks away with par and myself a bogey.
This happened hole after hole after hole. There were a lot of par fours that he couldn’t reach in two but it didn’t matter- he kept his ball in play off the tee. He got it up around the green. And more often than not he got it up and down. I did not.
I was mesmerized by this kid. One he knew his game. He knew his strengths and he knew his weaknesses. Two, he grinder the shit out of that course. There were no temper tantrums, no whining, no slumped shoulders, no slammed clubs…he went to work on every hole and nothing deterred him.
There are a lot of takeaways from his game and I spent a majority of my time on and around the practice green after that. I recognized that as a major weakness after playing with him. Also recognized that I didn’t have to hit the ball way-out there to post a decent score. I never was and never have been a long hitter but my short game when I was younger got to be damn good…and I give this kid props for that.
Another part of this kids game was that he never tried to play outside his strengths. He never tried to put 10-15 extra yards on his drives. He played his game, not his playing partners game.
We can all work on that. None of us have the same swing, nor the same shot shape, so why try and play the same game as your playing partners. Figure out what your strengths are and play to them. Find out what your weaknesses are and work on them.
And lastly, grind. This game is not about all the great shots you hit- it’s a lot about how you recover from your not-so-great shots. Treat each hole like it’s own separate project and work it until it’s complete.
Oh, and this kid went on to win the canadian juvenile and junior championship and two provincial championships.