Jack Nicklaus has two important words to remember on the golf course:
He expounded on that a bit last week when he watched the final round of the Honda Classic at PGA National, a short drive from his home at Lost Tree Village in North Palm Beach.
“Be smart, avoid mistakes and let the rest fall by the wayside.”
Sungjae Im proved the smartest on Sunday.
Here’s Jack’s mantra in a little more detail:
“The most important thing you can do is learn who you are — what your abilities are, what your shortcomings are, what your long-suit is. If you can take advantage of your long-suit, and minimize your shortcomings — if you can play smart, play within yourself, you’ll be a good player.”
It’s something we all can take to the course, no matter what our skill level, no matter what handicap level you are.
Have a friend who should consistently shoot in the low 80s, but in most his rounds, he’ll put more than a couple of big numbers on his scorecard. Why? He hasn’t learned to limit the damage.
Jack not only limited the damage, he totally avoided it down the stretch in his amazing career. Sometimes Jack was a little too conservative and it cost him a couple of majors when fellow-competitors pulled off some amazing shots (see Tom Watson pitch-in on the 17th at Pebble Beach).
Learn to play within yourself — avoid those “hero” shots and your scores will improve.