The seventh hole at Bearpath Golf and Country Club is a 380-yard par 4, is the number one handicap on the course and a goal of making par is aggressive for a [player of my ability. The hole features a dogleg and a towering grove of trees on the right side of the fairway. Also, there is out-of-bounds on the left side of the fairway and a bunker straight ahead off of the tee. The green is long, slender and surrounded by water on the right and out-of-bounds on the left.
A couple of weekends ago, I was playing this hole with my friend, Tim Samuelson. My tee shot had hit a tree branch and dropped straight down leaving me an 180-yard shot into a flag tucked in the back right portion of the green next to water. A treacherous shot.
I asked Tim, “What would you do with this shot?” He replied, “I’d play it like a par 4.5 and set that as my goal.” I asked, “What does that mean?”
“Well, I’d a hit a 150 yard shot up short of the green, chip the ball up and one putt for a four. If I two-putt, I make five and take the potential for the big number out of play. So, you see, sort of like a par 4.5” Tim’s a “scratch” golfer so he’s more accustomed to making par than par plus one-half and I liked his goal.
I took his advice and made five.
What I am struck by is how many times in the last few weeks I have thought about this strategy and applied it to other situations. I don’t always have to take the most aggressive line or pursue a target with reckless abandon. Like my Golf 2.0, this strategic thinking is my Life 2.0.
I’ve begun to think more often about intermediate points as a means to give myself a chance to succeed and remove the stress of having to “hit the perfect shot.” Also, I increase my chances to end in a place where the result may not be what I planned for, but still within an acceptable range of performance and moving in the direction of my goals.