Every Stroke Counts

Alot of golfers never get to experience the joys of playing on a golf team, let alone both a high school and college team.

Playing on a high school team is great, and if you take it seriously, it prepares you to raise the bar and move onto a college golf team.

I worked my ass off in high school to have the chance to play college golf, and I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to play for the University of Evansville.

In a team environment, though, the TEAM has to be in your head while your playing.

When your playing a round, your obviously an individual and trying to shoot the lowest score possible. However, sometimes, you are faced with a situation where you have to make a decision. Ultimately, you should make the decision that is best for YOUR score, but with team events, the difference between going to the Regionals can be 1 shot. Do you try and punch the ball through a 1 ft gap while keeping it 2 feet off the ground from 180 yards, or do you punch out in the fairway and accept your possible bogey? Sure, the gutsy shot under the tree through the gap could reward you…but it could also penalize you big time. How will those 3 shots affect your team as a whole.

The Fifth Man

Often in golf tournaments, you have a 5th man and at the end of the round, the team score is the TOP 4 men. Well, there ARE times when the 5th man will be the tie breaker.

I had this happen in a tournament. Our fifth man HELPED us win our tournament because his score was 1 shot better then the other teams fifth man score. Crazy, but it happens.

So whether you are the #1 player or the #5 player, you have to FINISH your round and never give up. If your 5th man gives up because he isn’t playing well and he thinks the other 4 will lead them to victory, he/she should be kicked off the team because that is a poor attitude. That 5th man might determine the outcome.

The reason this is filed in the College section, is because I feel the level of play is higher in college and the level of importance for some tournaments is much more important then at the high school level.

This is obviously still good information for any high school player to read because it still applies, but hopefully it gives you a sense of what to expect in college.

The point of this article is that though you are an individual AND playing for an individual title (i.e; Medalist honors), you still have to consider yourself part of your team to help THEM win. It’s great if you do well, but hopefully your teammates can pull through and give the team a final good score.

Making the best decisions for your round ultimately is the best decision for the team. They work hand in hand. Its those that give up on their rounds or start playing stupid are the ones that cost their teams strokes.

My sophmore year in high school, I was faced with a 7 over par round going into the 18th hole. I get par, I shoot 77. I proceeded to snap hook my drive out of bounds, make triple, shot 80, and we lost by 2 going to State.

I am not blaming myself soley because 2 shots could have been made up by anyone of our 5 players, but the whole day, I was TRYING to stay in contention. I was trying to make my round better. Now, if any one of the other 4 players happen to ‘give up’ during their round because they were pissed, well, that may have cost us our trip to state.

Every stroke counts. The round isn’t over until the ball has dropped in the 18th hole (9th hole if its a 9 hole match). Win for yourself, but also help the team win.