I hear two comments from golfers about their first game of the season: 1) Their first game is always good… but then goes down hill from there. 2) That was terrible.
Golfers start the season full of anticipation, excitement and positivity. A great attitude to have whether you are an indoor golfer playing off-season or a hibernator golfer who did not play in the off-season.
The Hibernator heads out on the course with lower expectations and often a simple plan. They are not trying to manipulate body parts to make the perfect strike. Focused on the target and contact. Getting into balance, making a swing and trying to connect with the golf ball. They don’t hit every shot, but they don’t expect to. This alleviates pressure as they anticipate the next chance to hit the ball – with the same excitement of a kid!
Conversely, Indoor Golfers played or worked on their swing leading up to the season are expecting BIG things out on the course. They have to be careful – the game does not translate automatically from indoors to outdoors.
Indoors you are playing and learning off perfect lies and perfect conditions. Perfectly square to the target 10 feet in front of you, and the same conditions from shot to shot. On the course, the panoramic potential of your ball flight is extremely wide and thus becomes your focus.
High expectations can also lead to disappointment on poor shots, and this leads to added pressure on the next shot.
Indoor Golfers will be rewarded for all their off-season work. However, they were likely only working on a portion of the game. It will take time to develop the skills and feel of target set up, different lies, potential hazards, temperature, time between shots, mental and physical fatigue, etc. It is simply a different game.
The Indoor Golfer can learn from the Hibernator, and vice versa. The Hibernator may need to work on their swing mechanics/skills while maintaining their season start focus and realistic expectations. The Indoor Golfer needs to understand that the target orientation and focus needed on a real course cannot be replicated indoors.
Either way, all experienced golfers know that in any given game, the course can bring you to your knees. Temper your expectations, focus on making solid contact toward your intended target and get on with the next shot… just like a kid!
Scott Orban, PGA Executive Golf Professional
McKenzie Meadows Golf Club