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Dealing with mental, physical golf errors

Letís face it. We are all going to make mistakes while playing the game of golf. Whether it is a mental mistake such as playing a shot to a wrong position or allowing the mind to wonder during the preparation of your pre-shot routine.

Or, it could be a physical mistake such as coming out of a shot (swing) a little early, thus a miss-hit. Just watch the pros on the PGA Tour. They are prone to make mistakes, but you rarely see mistakes made back-to-back.

We have to accept the fact that we will make some type of mistakes during a round of golf. We are not perfect. But, how we react to those mistakes will have a real impact on ourselves and our scores. Junior players can be very emotional.

One good shot and theyíre strutting their stuff. One bad shot and it can be devastating.

Once we realize that there will be some bad shots (whether mental or physical), we can learn how to accept it, shrug it off, and refocus for the next shot. If we find ourselves searching for the answer of why that shot happened, we can be assured that the mistakes will compound, and your score will reflect it.

So, the next time you find yourself in this situation put a little more effort into realizing that two mistakes do not have to be back-to-back and put total confidence and trust on the next shot at hand.

Golf Rule of the Month: water hazards: yellow and red stakes.

By definition, a water hazard is ďany sea, lake, pond, river, ditch, surface drainage ditch or other open water course.Ē It doesnít have to contain water, but it should be marked by yellow stakes or lines. Usually they are impossible and at best difficult to play from. If you canít play it, you must take a penalty stroke and drop behind the point where your ball entered the hazard.

A lateral water hazard is a hazard or part of one that usually sits to the side or parallel to the line of play so that you canít drop behind it. Itís defined by red stakes or lines.

Keith McElroy is program director of Knox Area Junior Golf Association and PGA Professional for the Concord Park Golf Course. He teaches adults and juniors and may be reached at 865-966-9103 or


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