Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable
This past summer Bryson Dechambeau fired an amazing 58 at the Greenbrier. This is an amazing accomplishment in golf and one that we are seeing more and more at many levels of golf. I seem to see multiple stories a year now of players shooting really low scores. Why is this becoming more frequent and how is the bar being raised, or lowered in this case? I believe the interview Bryson gave after he shot his 58 gives some insight as to how.
In his interview Bryson explained that as a junior he would play the front tee boxes and try to break 60. What this did was not only make the course short and easy for a player of Bryson’s caliber and ensure many birdies but it also would get him comfortable with being in a position of shooting really low. Not many players have experienced the feeling of being under par but the lesson to be learned remains the same. I know from personal experience that for several years I would find myself under par mid way through a round but find myself back at par or a couple over at the end of the round. For the life of me I could seem to keep myself under par. Sure I had a couple rounds where I finished under par but I had many more where I would be 3 or 4 under and find myself even or a couple over when I finished.
It wasn’t until Bryson’s interview that I learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I went and played the forward tee box and fired a (-6) 66 at Blue Top Ridge. My very next tournament was the assistants championship at Blue Top Ridge, which was played 1400 yards longer than where I played the forward tee box, where I fired a first round (-1) 71 and a second round (-4) 68 to tie for 1st. I credit these scores and my ability to shoot those scores from playing the forward tees.
This is why I love the Operation 36 model where players start out at 25 yards from the green with the goal of shooting 36 or better. If they achieve this then they move back to 50 yards with the same goal and continue this process until they reach the full tee box. What this model does is the same as what Bryson did as a junior of playing it forward. It gets the player comfortable with shooting lower scores. Now for most everyday players this may mean shooting in the 70’s if you are typically an 80’s shooter or shooting in the 80’s if you are a 90’s shooter and so on. The biggest challenge for most players I have found is the ability to handle pressure and reduce tension. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. So the challenge is simple, play from a shorter distance. I would recommend a good starting point as to play a tee box or yardage that is 1000 yards less than the tee you normally play. If you shoot an amazing score compared to your normal scores, try and do it several times in a row. If you succeed then move back to the next tee box and continue this process until you are back at your normal distance. If you already play the forward tee box then go to the start of each fairway or to the 200 yard marker and play from there. Give this a shot and you will be amazed at the scores you will shoot and how it will affect your overall game.