By Mike Jennings
“The crowd is just on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last shot. He’s got about 195 yards left, and he’s got a, looks like he’s got about an 8-iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent. Cinderella story, out of nowhere, former greens-keeper, now about to become the Masters champion. [swings, pulverizes yet another flower] It looks like a miracle…it’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” – Bill Murray as Carl Spackler in ‘Caddyshack’
Most people fondly recall this memorable scene with Bill Murray in Caddyshack. Although we have all probably seen it 100 times, it’s still “slap your knee” funny. Most will shake their head at the stupidity of the character, but I have to be honest, I’ll bet almost every golfer has done this at one time or another. In fact, I guarantee you that I cannot count the number of Masters I have won and lost on our putting green.
Come on, what golfer has not dreamed about strolling up the 18th at Augusta and sinking a 10-footer for birdie to earn that first green jacket? In reality, munching on an egg salad sandwich at Amen Corner will probably be about as close as we’ll get to this, but who cares? It’s fun, and it could even help sharpen your golf game.
I would argue that a little “day dreaming” on the golf course can go a long way in helping you improve as a player. The general idea is that by putting yourself in new situations it will encourage more concentration, more excitement and actually make practice much more fun.
Go to the range and give it a try. Imagine you’re playing different holes from a golf course you are familiar with. Maybe pretend you’re hitting your second shot in to the green at #15 at Augusta. Maybe a huge tree is between you and the pin and you have to get over it to win the tournament.
I think you will find that if you really go deep in your imagination and put yourself in these situations you will be surprised how it helps your practice session. Your level of concentration will be better, your effort will be maximized on each shot, and that normally boring time spent on the range beating golf balls will have been replaced with an exciting time challenging your limits as a golfer.
You may never win the Masters or even hit your ball over that imaginary tree, but the commitment to trying may just be the extra nudge you need to improve. Who would have ever guessed that following in the footsteps of Carl could make you a better golfer?
Just remember to take it easy on the flowers, and stop if you start seeing dancing gofers.
Mike Jennings is the head golf professional at Pine Oaks Golf Course. For more information on instruction or events at Pine Oaks, call 423.434.6250.