Michelle Leigh ‘Playing Through’

In the words of Sally Little; “to compete more you succeed more” is simply profound and my goal as I set off on my third and fourth round in the IGT tournament at Centurion Country Club.

I started my third round in freezing conditions, but was able to build a sound start making a birdie on the first hole. I managed to finish the front 9 on level par and remaining +1 for the tournament. The back 9 became a challenge with a triple bogey on my 10th hole. I fought back as hard as I could but finished the round on +4. I eventually ended on +4 and it was another week of solid and sound golf.

I noticed many of my fellow professional buddies were too distracted with the early morning conditions and tried to play catch up golf when they fell back on a few bad shots. I want to chat about that in this article.

Michelle leigh

A key component to competing and managing any course is allowing yourself to connect with the environment. Many times I see players competing with the environment, which only aggravates their game more and then actually try to make changes to their swing, putting or work around the green to compensate for the affect the environment is making on their game. The secret is simply to play through the conditions and the results will come eventually. Each player’s success on the day is not measured by the amount of birdies they were able to make, but their ability to embrace the conditions and play through it. As professionals we are always building on our understanding of the environment and to develop the ability to see the course open itself up to us. This eventually leads to those eagles, birdies and great saves.

So as players sometimes it is important to go for a walk through the course at least a day before the tournament, playing some shots, feeling the terrain beneath your shoe, feeling the breeze brushing over your skin in the morning and afternoon and how the sun’s heat changes the flow and feel on the green. These are just some of the experiences we could be denying ourselves when we think we coming out to beat the course. I will let you in onto a very interesting fact and that is, no player has ever conquered a course. In fact, we are able to get a grip instead and stand over the ball and see how the course navigates them through it.

Close your eyes, breathe in and exhale, open your eyes and embrace the environment before you.  The odd bad hole can hurt the scores but the lessons we learn on the course are irreplaceable.  A huge congratulations to Ockert Strydom who won the event on -13.

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