The Tale of Two Rounds: The Inner Battle of Golf

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to walk you through two completely different tournament rounds – one where I dealt with extreme adversity and another where I dealt with a mind-blowing amount of early success. Naturally, their differences will be obvious. But I think it’s more interesting to explore the commonality that helped me deal with both (and can help you too).

To give you a quick background, I was a fairly mediocre junior golfer. I was the captain of a run-of-the-mill high school team and played one Division Three college golf tournament. I had zero competitive pedigree and acted like a borderline psychopath under pressure. Then I didn’t play in a tournament for about 11 years.

After I started Practical Golf and got my handicap low enough, I chose to make a return to competition at a U.S. Open Qualifier. Over the past six years, I’ve played a lot of qualifiers and tournaments. There have been some nice successes, and I’ve been able to play myself into some of the biggest events against top amateurs and professionals in the New York Metro region and hold my own. I now feel comfortable enough to put my game on the line and not let nerves overtake me completely.

More importantly, there have been way more failures that have taught me a lot about handling pressure and what it takes to become a better golfer.  While tournament golf isn’t for everyone, I genuinely enjoy the pursuit. But the lows can hit you hard and make you question if you want to keep going.

Additionally, it’s given me an enhanced perspective on this game, and I try to use what I’ve learned to help all of you in your quest to improve. While many of you won’t play in events like these, the pressure you feel can be just as real. So I’m going to let you inside both of these rounds and be very honest about everything that went through my head. I don’t do this often, but it will be worth it if we can learn something from it.

Bethpage Black Does it to me Again

Growing up on Long Island, most golfers aspire to tame Bethpage Black. In reality, it’s much more difficult than anyone can imagine. The course is that hard.

But a few years ago, I did it. In the opening round of the Hebron Championship, I shot a 73, which put me in a tie for 4th place. But as I wrote about, the next day brought me swiftly back to earth. A closing quadruple-bogey ended a disappointing day where I shot an 88 and did a free-fall down the leaderboard.

However, I was undeterred. After missing the tournament for a couple of years due to scheduling conflicts, I was excited to tee it up again at Bethpage Black at the Hebron. My new driver changes have me hitting the ball farther and straighter than ever, so I couldn’t help but feel positive about playing well on a course that demands close to perfection off the tee. Certainly, I wasn’t thinking about quadruple bogeys.

Expect the Unexpected

If playing tournament golf has taught

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By: Jon
Title: The Tale of Two Rounds: The Inner Battle of Golf
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Published Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2021 12:41:10 +0000


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