What Did You Learn in 2011?
By mustang6560 on 11/16/11
With the end of the 2011 golf season in sight, it's time to start reflecting on your accomplishments and your failures so you can be a better player in 2012. Over the next couple weeks, I'm going to run a series of end of the year columns to encourage you to contemplate.

So far, we've discussed whether or not you accomplished your goals in 2011 and what your goals are for 2012. The next question in the series is, "What did you learn in 2011?"

I learned a valuable lesson this season - don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

A month ago, I was playing wolf with a couple friends. One of them was on the winning side every hole so it only really came down to me and my other friend to see who owed who money. On the 17th hole, I was against both friends. All three of us missed our initial approach shot, but I stuck my third shot to about five feet, while the friend I was competing against for second place flew the green.

As we were walking toward the green, I turned to him and said “Man, I was really hoping to push this hole so hole 18 decides everything.” He proceeded to chip to one foot and tapped in for bogey while I missed my slight downhill par putt and also carded a bogey so we pushed. On the par 5 18th hole, my drive got away from me a little to the right so I was forced to punch out laterally from the woods. I was far enough back that even driver off the deck couldn’t get me home in three so I laid up with the hopes of sticking my fourth shot close. It was a great strategy but I didn’t execute down the stretch and I wasn’t able to match their par so I lost.

I feel like I could go back through the entire year and pick out several more examples of me getting ahead of myself on the golf course, which is a dangerous thing to do. I know it’s cliche, but you have to live in the present while you play, only thinking about one shot at a time. Otherwise, you’ll start to lose your focus and things can spiral out of hand quickly from there.

Your turn. What did you learn in 2011?

photo by Mykl Roventine

[ comments ]
Matt McGee says:
I learned that most of my mis-hits can be traced back to being out of rhythm and/or out of balance.
Banker85 says:
i learned that i tend to sway my hips vs. rotating them. I learned that I need to dedicate more time to golf because this year i barely got out and i am going crazy!
mjaber says:
I learned that it is hard to find time to play golf when you have a new daughter.
bkuehn1952 says:
I adopted a new chipping technique that worked well in many situations. Unfortunately, the technique does not work well in all cases. I learned that I must fight my tendency to over-use a successful technique. When the situation does not lend itself to my chipping style, I need to go with a different shot.
dottomm says:
"Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!" <- THIS!
It seems no matter how close my ball is to the hole. If Im make the assumption about my stroke count (Just a tap in for Birdie) I ALWAYS end of missing it. I make myself grind through every hole. Also I don't add up my score until the end of a round.
FallOfTim says:
I learned I'm not getting as much distance from my driver as I used to- nor can I hit is as straight as I want. The holes I hit fairway on off the tee I found I was hitting more GIR and hitting the most birdies/pars. So, moral of story: No need to go big off the tee- sometimes a clean 4 iron will work just fine.

I also learned that Oobgolf is highly addictive and makes me play more golf. I wondering if there is a 12 step program...
FallOfTim says:
Mr_X says:
I started trusting my short game. In years past, I may have holed out from off the green once or twice a year. I holed out from 50+ yards 3 times in 2011. I chipped in at least twice and recorded my first ever birdie out of a green side bunker! Knowing you have the skill to knock it close makes it easier to trust your swing.

And John Daly taught me to always carry more than 6 balls in my bag, just in case.
Dusty23 says:
i learned (again) the importance of short game practice, spent a week during the summer practicing chipping and pitching , went out and shot a 79 that following weekend, must remember to practice
SniderS says:
I learned not to get rid of your motorcycle.
Nojdemo2 says:
I learned that treating every putt like a tap-in works at least as well as going through the full setup routine. For the past few rounds I eye up my line as usual then just walk up, address the ball side-on and hit it. I've holed more putts from 10-20' using this technique than ever before. The sub 10-footers are more reliable and the lag puts are no worse. Weird...
Matt F says:
I learned that when I hit the ball well, I can see the club head make contact with the ball. Now I have to learn to watch the club head make contact with the ball.
legitimatebeef says:
It's nothing really learned, but this year I did face up to the fact that my full swing sucked and that most of what I'd accomplished in golf was mostly attributable to chipping and putting.
Tim Horan says:
I learned that if you don't keep a check on your basics (set-up, alignment, posture and grip) on a regular basis playing once a week with all sorts of activities between rounds abberations creep in. Subtle compensations take hold and before long your all out of shape. Cracked a couple of ribs recently and thought playing gently through it would keep my game in shape. No way, my game went down hill in the tuck position. All the little things my body did to compensate for the rib issue completley flew in the face of the basics. Only a video showed these up.
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