After three days of solid and impressive play, I don’t think it was a surprise to see Jordan Spieth win green at the 79th Masters Tournament. As mentally well-disciplined as he was last year, he did experience some breakdowns in his systems which were not present in his approach over the weekend. Despite the pressure this 21-year-old faced night after night as he headed to bed with the lead, Spieth appeared to manage the intensity of his second journey at Augusta like a seasoned Pro.
In an article on Masters.com following Saturday’s round, where Spieth broke the 54-hole record, he shared that he was focused on accomplishing two things on Sunday — playing with patience, and making smart decisions. The important thing to understand is that these goals go hand in hand. Smart decision-making shot by shot, and hole by hole doesn’t happen unless a golfer can first approach the game with patience.
Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.” How often do you demonstrate patience in your game when things don’t go as planned? Where Spieth demonstrated a lack of patience during his final round last year, we watched him operate with deliberate thought during his third round especially on #17. He could have allowed his frustration to linger after an erratic shot with his driver, but kept his head in the game to face the challenging pitch shot that followed.
There are two kinds of golfers — passive and purposeful. Passive golfers complain about the trouble with their game and want good things to happen, but they don’t take the action necessary to change things for the better. They might have a big wishbone, but only a small backbone.
Purposeful golfers are driven to do everything to improve their game, and are patient, knowing improvement is a process. They are disciplined to take action even on the days they don’t feel like it. You can’t wait for your game to feel right before you start believing in your ability to succeed or you will never reach your potential. Purposeful and patience golfers start with the belief that they can hit solid shots (because they’ve done it before), and know that their feelings will eventually catch up with their thoughts.
The Benefits of Playing with Patience
Patience limits distractions, focuses your energy on controlling the parts of the game that you can control, drives an expectation of success, and helps you make smart decisions by lowering emotional stress and mental noise. The benefits to the physical and technical side of the game include better swing tempo, less physical tension, and according to GolfChannel.com Academy Instructor, Brad Brewer, patience can help you complete your backswing and increase your power to create a long straight shot.
Jack Nicklaus said that the greatest and toughest part of golf is playing badly well. Patience grows through trial, so it’s important that you see the trials you face in the game as opportunities for growth. Rather than emotionalizing and personalizing every less than ideal shot, a better perspective will lead to more objective and smart decision-making under pressure, as demonstrated by Jordan Spieth.
Playing smart golf is all about pacing yourself in every aspect of the game — from your long-term goals, to your pace of play, pre and post-shot routines, and swing tempo. Rushing through the game is just going through the motions with little intention. If you are a golfer who seeks to make meaningful advancements, you will have to surrender the need for speed and instant gratification. Patience can slow you down without bogging you down so that you have the time and mental space to play smart, play strong, and play in control.
If patience in golf is not one of your virtues then it’s time for a change in your approach to the game so that you can start playing to your potential. CONTACT ME today to learn more. Patience can pave the way to your success.