We’ve all been there quite a few times…topping a drive, spraying approach shots, missing putts, or even all of them in a single hole. The mental side of golf can make or break a hole or sometimes even an entire round for all players alike, including professionals. But the only thing that truly separates a good golfer from a great one is the mental aspect. A good golfer can shoot great scores, but can’t always keep their scores that low. A great golfer doesn’t necessarily shoot better scores, but instead has the ability to make their bad rounds better.
Bryson DeChambeau, known for hitting some of the farthest and most accurate drives on the PGA Tour, topped a drive into a nearby water hazard on the fourth hole at TPC Sawgrass during The Players Championship, leaving everyone—including himself—in shock. However, this wasn’t the end. He then sprayed his next shot far right, ultimately finding the trees a mile away from the green. DeChambeau immediately adjusted and got back on track to pull off a double bogey after the horrific start to the hole and still managed to finish the tournament tied for third at -12.
Although this chain of bad shots arguably stripped DeChambeau of a victory in the tournament, there is plenty to learn from it for all of us and himself.
As famously described by Jack Nicklaus, “the game of golf is 90% mental and 10% physical.” Just about any decent golfer can agree with this statement because if you don’t have the right amount of mental toughness or strength, you will never consistently shoot good scores. Without the ability to accept and move on from bad shots and bounce right back, you can only get so far as a golfer.
As for DeChambeau, he proved the potential of his mental game at TPC Sawgrass. Despite topping a drive into water and then hitting an awful approach shot, he managed to get out with a double bogey and played the rest of his round as if nothing had happened. That is what makes him the outstanding golfer he is. He may hit 350 yard drives or even sink unbelievably long putts, but none of that can be done if his mental game is weak.