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    Debbie's Blog

Throw Down Your Hat


Throw Down Your Hat!

There we were, in the middle of a business/golf workshop, attentive on the putting green, learning about green reading. We look and listen: The ball tends to break toward downtown Phoenix. See this mound here? — it will push the ball to the left, definitely to the left.

Then something powerful and memorable happened. Suzy studied her putt, struck the ball and sent it toward the hole at least 40’ away.  As it neared the hole it broke to the left, broke more to the left, looked like it would go…but caught the edge of the hole, rolled around the rim and stopped six inches away. Suzy had come so close, only to miss. She was clearly excited – perhaps a bit disappointed, but very excited.

Our instructor, Doug Hammer (now at Troon North Golf Club), moved quickly to build on her enthusiasm. He gave Suzy a high five for a great effort. Then he said, “Okay, what you do now is take off your hat, throw it to the ground, and say in disbelief, ‘How did that NOT go in?’” We all laughed and for the next few minutes practiced throwing off our hats and visors (followed by lots of high fives for our great effort!).

Let yourself have fun playing golf. The way young kids do. They can send an eight-foot putt whizzing 30 feet past the hole, yet jump for joy that they missed the hole by only an inch.

The professional golfers are a little different, of course.

During Sunday’s final round at the 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open the threesome of Brendan Steele, Jeff Overton and William McGirt worked their way around the front 9. Rumblings from their caddies revealed unhappiness with the greens, which were harder and less receptive than on the prior three days.

Coming off a triple bogey on #9, Overton was clearly unhappy, but he chipped in for a birdie on #10 and hope returned. He went to the Par 4 11th hole with a bounce in his step and crushed his drive to the left middle of the fairway, position “A,” because the pin placement was back right. But his approach shot bounced on the hard green and rolled off the back.  Off flew his visor; then, he thrust his hands at the sky and shouted, “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” And then it got worse.

Overton discovered that his ball had come to rest beyond a sprinkler head, which meant he’d have to execute a more challenging chip shot rather than a putt. He made bogey on the hole. His round continued downhill from there.

As an amateur golfer, you can learn a great deal watching the professional players —everything from how to stretch and warm up before you start play, to how to hit virtually any shot. But perhaps they can learn something from you, too. Throwing down your hat, for example. The right way to do it is with a winning smile and a high five.

Hats off to turning golf into gold®!

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