First round of the year? Think positive!

What a great day on the links! Having watched the World Matchplay Championship all weekend, I was bang in the mood for a game. And boy, I wasn’t left disappointed!

I played the Jubilee Course this afternoon and it was an absolute pleasure to be out there. In my opinion there cannot be many better courses around than this gem. Rolling links fairways, crisp pot bunkers and the greens were nothing short of excellent. I am pleased to report that some of the golf was very nice indeed…but I would be lying if there weren’t maybe a few rusty ones still in there!

Going back to the matchplay in Arizona for a moment; we were treated to some outstanding matches and shots over the 5 days, with the players earning the PGA Tour catchphrase “these guys are good.” But it’s fair to say we saw a few not so outstanding shots, holes halved in double bogeys and playing around cacti in the desert. This became even more noticeable when the weather turned cold on the final day with many a missed green, missed putt and thinned chip. These conditions seemed to really rattle the players. I would argue many of you play in worse every weekend and do amazingly well to cope.

Despite the mistakes and tough breaks, it was amazing to see how the top players react. As soon as a bad shot has been struck, it’s forgotten. Quite often I noticed the player would bounce back and actually hit a great shot next, or play the following hole very well.

The reason I enjoyed my game so much today?…I took this mental state on board. Okay, so I hit some loose shots and maybe even lost a ball or two! But I had fun! Let’s not get bogged down by hitting a poor shot. Let’s instead focus on hitting the next one better. If the world’s best players can hit a bad one and NOT let it affect them, then we definitely shouldn’t. Remember, these players practice every day, in perfect conditions with the best equipment and still make mistakes. So the next time you thin a 6 iron on a cold and frosty morning, don’t get down on yourself, just think; “I have seen the best players on the planet do this, and they just shrug it off and make another birdie!” Don’t worry, be happy!


Words by Blair Cross, St Andrews Links Golf Academy pro.

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