Volume 1, Issue 8 – November 2011
Fellow Citizens of Crazy Town -
Aggressive versus conservative strategy... this is debate you'll consider hundreds, no, thousands of times and in every area of your life.
On the golf course recently... with my ball perched on some well-groomed pine straw on a short par-4, I was confronted with one of those judgment calls. Should I "take my medicine" and knock a wedge back in the fairway, guaranteeing the loss of at least half-a-shot... or play a bold, low-percentage 8-iron baby-cut through a small gap between some tree branches?
Ryan, one of my playing partners, suggested that I should listen to "Bones." Of course he knew Jim MacKay, Phil Mickelson's universally respected looper, was not carrying my bag that day. However, asking me to think like Bones was simply a metaphor, an invitation or suggestion to make the careful play and avoid risking double-bogey or higher. Bones being symbolic of the conservative call is curious in itself… perhaps Bones isn’t really conservative at all… but relative to Mickelson’s tendency for the aggressive play, he can take on the role of a risk-averse voice of reason.
In any case, the point of this is to spend a few minutes thinking about what drives more satisfaction from our golf experiences? Is it shooting a score that might end up two or three strokes better because of careful and conservative play… or is it worth gambling a few extra strokes per round to give yourself the chance at a heroic and memorable shot. You won’t likely remember what you shot in any particular round six months ago… however, I suspect you would remember a spectacular risky shot you executed successfully.
So which is better… hitting that rare one-out-of-ten perfect shot that you created in your mind’s eye or giving yourself every chance to shoot your lowest score possible by playing the percentages? There is undoubtedly a time and a place for both approaches… but for Hizzoner, “shot euphoria” is ultimately more satisfying. Shooting a career round is an amazing accomplishment, however you don’t really have a chance at such a milestone on most days… yet every round gives you several opportunities to turn your imagination into reality… to hold that beautiful butterfly in your hands, if only for a fleeting moment.
Listen to Bones… or ignore Bones… that is the question. So I decided to attempt the risky shot off the pine straw. It was looking great off the club, a pure strike… tracking on line… and then…CRACK!... it struck the last branch of the last tree that the ball needed to clear. It bounded into the wet marsh, but just barely hit-able on the edge of never-neverland. I wedged it pin-high left without soiling my shirt and rolled in a 12-footer for a bogey. Textbook.
Cheers from the HMCT (aka Greg Nathan)
Why “Mayor of Crazy Town?”
I invite you to click here to read the first installment of this blog.