Its at this time of the year that serious golfers minds turn to the Club Championship. Whilst most players publicly play down their chances of winning , most single figure players are starting to develop ideas of how they COULD win.
However a few years ago a “normal” bloke won the club championship at our club. Week in and week out the same people were shooting the best gross scores in the club events and as Club Champs approached their support teams started to gather around them and their chances were being discussed in the Friday and Saturday 4 balls (Its the Middle East we play Fri-Sat). But one guy was busy on the range. This guy was a successful, down-to-earth but charismatic business man. And he was American. In the build up the event nobody even considered this guy as a contender for the event. He was busy and didn’t play too many events so his form was difficult to gauge.
Come the day of the Club Championship he went about his business hitting fairways and greens and shot a round in the mid-high 70s and found himself in the last group for the 2nd and final day. He was playing with the 2 favourites , both 6’ foot scottish golfers who regularly won the scratch events and played in the clubs scratch league. As he went out onto the tee for the 2nd day the scratch golfers suddenly had caddies on their bags and the advice was flowing.
Sat on the 18th tee it was all tied up. The American made 5 here all day long and may have mentioned it in passing. The leading Scotsman took advice from his caddie and “it was theirs to lose” as there was no way the American could get onto the par 5 in two. They decided that would carry the bunker in the middle of the fairway (265 yards), catch the downslope on the back of the trap and hit a 5 iron into the heart of the green. The American would have to lay up and try and get up-and-down.
Truth was the American would do what he did every hole. Hit the Middle of the fairway, advance the ball his comfortable distance and use his skill around the green to make something happen.
You see the tee shot in this situation was not the key to winning .... you couldn’t win the championship with your tee shot but you could sure as hell lose it .... and that’s exactly what happened. The Scotsman plugged his ball in the face of the fairway bunker. By the time he had splashed it out and advanced it forward the American just need a 5 to win and that’s what he did.
Sat with the winner after the event we all wanted to know what his secret was.
“If you play for 4 hours make sure you practice for 8“ he said.
Now the American only won it once. He went back to work , put on a few kilo’s and didn’t get much time to practice. BUT he did what all club golfers want to do ... developed a plan, applied himself to the task , practiced until it became permanent and then went out on the biggest day of the year with 100% confidence in his ability and executed.
The American had a plan. Whilst everybody treated the club championship as the flagship event, recruited friends , changed processes, tried new things , the American went to the practice area and got better at what he was good at.
Let the record books show that he won his Club Championship !!
Our advice .... gather your data so you know where you are strong and where you are weak. Develop a plan to imbed your strengths and work on your weakness. Give yourself enough time to practice and develop the right state of mind to go execute on the course. Thast how underdogs win the Club Championship.