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Course Management

I learned an important lesson today. A lesson that was learned on the (disc) golf course. It's something that many players call 'course management'. The basic idea is that, when faced with a competitive or high-pressure situation (such as a game of golf or a business negotiation), one is better off being realistic about available moves, choices, and the probable outcome of those choices, based upon how well you know yourself. The key thing is to resist the temptation to attempt an improbable shot, even though you've hit it a few times before. Take the shot that you have practiced, don't overshoot beyond your ability. most of the time the result will only be finding yourself behind an even bigger obstacle than when you started. If you can develop a solid game and really hone certain fundamentals until they are second nature, then the improvements, and the distance between you and those 'long shots' will narrow considerably.

It's all about knowing that the only thing you can truly control is yourself (and some people would take issue with that statement I know), and recognize the variables over which you can exercise no control. There will be gusts of wind, and there will be trees, bushes, rocks, and water between you and the target. All you can do is use the skills which you have practiced to put yourself in a position to see that target, and minimize those barriers. Sometimes that might mean that your drive is not going to wrap a perfect S-curve around the hill and give you a birdie look. You've done it before? congratulations, but chances are it's not going to happen most of the times that you try to do that. By taking that risk, you might come out of it with a nice spot 1/5 of the time, but the other 4 times you'll be out of bounds.

The best golfers I've seen understand what their game can do for them. They are usually not the ones who can throw a disc 600 feet. Their drives land (consistently) in good to average spots, but they always nail their second shot. These players, too, are usually deadly when putting within 30 feet.

So, the next time I go onto the course, I'll remember the time I hit that epic drive, or got through those bushes on my upshot, but I'm going to try a lot more course management, reel it in, and get some solid fundamentals going. I'm going to focus on positioning myself in the best place that I can, without having to cross my fingers that I get just the right amount of headwind, or that I hit that tiny hole between those tree trunks.

I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, check this out:

Parque de La Raza Disc Golf 10/9/2009 from Dridge on Vimeo.

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