Now some of you may need to get your mind out of the gutter. Yet others of you may rather be stuck in a gutter, than utter this horrific, five letter-word. It is a word that is often forbidden on the golf course and referred to by many different names in many different languages. If you have spoken it on the golf course, you  will have been undoubtedly shunned by your playing partners. This word has also been known as,  “The Laterals”, “ The Hosel Rockets”, and “The El Hosels”.

Living in a climate where it snows most of the winter, I was grateful to play in my first pro-am of the year today. Having spent more time on my snowboard than on the golf course over the past 4 months, I was looking forward to playing golf, fully prepared that my game would likely be marginally at best.  I had a good (insert fun) team of amateur players and it was just nice to have the sun shining on our faces.

I hit the ball surprisingly well on the first four holes, and although I missed a few short birdie putts, I managed to be -1 under par. I hit a mediocre tee-shot on the 5th hole and left my second shot short of the green, where I had to play a delicate pitch. That delicate pitch was quickly replaced with a bunker shot as I strait (insert 7-letter S-word here) my 15-yard pitch and after barely avoiding collision with one of my amateur players, rolled into the bunker that was  a45* angle to my right. There was a brief moment, of shock, horror, awe, and thankfully, laughter as one of my team members quite eloquently stated with a Coors Lite in his hand, “Well that was a (insert other 5 letter S-word here) shot! “

This was the beginning of my demise that would last the majority of the round. I could not help but analysis why/how I was able to hit such a shot, and my mental aptitude for the remainder of the round was of minimal success. I was able to hit some good shots, but my focus was on trying to understand what had occurred several holes prior.  At the end of the day, I finished four shots out of the money, and was left thinking about what might have been…

Let this be a lesson to you all. One bad shot, in and of itself, will not kill or ruin the chances of playing a good round of golf. However, if the bad shot lingers in your mind for any amount of time longer than it takes you to reach your next shot, (for me it was 5 seconds and only about 12 yards!), than the negative effects of that shot has a much greater impact than what is recorded on the scorecard. The sooner you can move past focusing on your poor shots, the sooner you will start playing better golf!