Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Don't Come Up Short

My usual route for walks takes me by the second green of a nearby golf course. When the wind is behind the golfers, I sometimes find golf balls that have overshot the green and rolled into the yard across the street. But, as I watch, most of the time golfers come up short of the green with their shots. I saw this a number of times, and wondered why it occurred. The answer, I think, is that sometimes these golfers tend to overestimate their ability.

Those of you who play golf can identify with this. The announcer tells us that Tiger Woods or Jordan Spieth just hit a pitching wedge dead to the pin on this 150 yard approach shot. Now there's no way in the world I'm ever going to hit a wedge that far, but the next time I play golf I'll probably remember that. As a result, I'll select a club that would make the ball carry to the green if I hit the best shot I've ever played. But because I'm trying so hard, most of the time I'll either stub my club into the ground or hit the ball way offline. It's so much better to take a less lofted club, swing easy, and see what the result is. I may be on the back of the green, even over it, but I won't be short. Cut back on my self-assessment, swing easy, and watch the result.

Is there a moral to this story? I think there is. All of us are vulnerable to what my golf partner calls "delusions of adequacy." I don't mean we shouldn't shoot for the moon--not at all. But we have to do it with the tools at our disposal. My favorite Texas Rangers baseball player was Rusty Greer. He didn't have major league speed, or power, or any of the other attributes of a star, but he made up for all of that with desire. He worked hard, and as a result he played in the majors for years. He made the best use of what he had. And so should we.

We can make it to the green. We might need to take a 5 iron instead of a wedge, but if we stay within our capabilities and don't fall victim to "delusions of adequacy," there's no limit to what we can accomplish.

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Patricia Bradley said...

So agree! Although I've never played golf. Figured if I couldn't get the ball through the thingy that has a windmill, I'd never make it on a golf course. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

Oh, Patricia, you've reminded me of one of the great lines from Last Man Standing. The "dingy" daughter, Mandy, is talking with her mother about the husband and the athletic daughter.
Mother: They're probably a bit late getting in from golf.
Daughter: I wonder if they got hung up on the windmill. That always gets me.

Thanks for your comment.

Patricia Bradley said...

Oh I LOVE it! And so identify.