Success in golf is mostly determined by ones confidence. Confidence can be described as the awareness of ability combined with the fruit of experience. In the recent US Open local qualifier my playing competitor, a young junior golfer from Canada, was 7 over par through 9 holes. Mind you the conditions were very difficult. I have been playing these qualifiers for 20 years and the combination of 25 mph winds, thick long rough, undulating greens rolling 13+ on the Stimp meter and a 7000 yard course along with the pressure of tournament golf made these conditions the toughest I have seen and the average score for the day around 80.
As we were about to start the back nine, to my surprise, the young man informed me he would not be playing the back nine. I tried to encourage him to finish but he said it was his parents’ decision who were watching every shot to withdraw. In my opinion this was a terrible decision denying him of nine holes of US open like conditions experience that would have served him well in the future.
At dinner the other night, I told the story to my father who said not only would he have made me finish, but we would have stayed another day to play the course again to get the experience for the next year it was hosted at that club. It’s often been said that there is golf and then there is tournament golf and they are very different. Tournament golf experience is so valuable especially in conditions that were unique as these. Your weakness get exposed and you become aware of what it takes to succeed at that level. I hope it does not become a habit for any golfer to surrender when things get tough. And in the end, if he had shot 4 under on the back nine, improbable but possible, he would have gotten into a playoff for the 2nd alternate spot. Never give up especially in golf because you never know what can happen.