I spent much of last week at a junior golf tournament. For the most part, these kids played free from distraction and let their talent shine through.

There was no such thing as too much golf and they certainly weren’t about to let fear ruin their fun. They played the game and I was honestly surprised at how well some of them could play.

One young man was different. He was intense and looked like he was playing to a formula rather than hitting the ball to a target.

Take his putting routine;

Looked at putt from behind ball

Stood up, took two steps forward then repeated.

Then plumb lined the putt by holding putter vertically in front of dominant eye.

Then, straddled the putting line, closed one eye and held one or two fingers up (I know this is part of the craze called Aim Point but for the life of me I don’t get it)

Repeated the process but this time moved closer to the hole (was almost standing over the hole).

Backed away and took two or three practice putts. He alternated between looking at the ball and then the hole.

Backed away again and took another look at the hole from behind the ball. And he wasn’t finished just yet.

On most of the putts I saw him take, he’d now adjust the alignment of his ball. He did this by squatting behind the ball and making sure the ball was lined up just right.

Finally, after what seemed like minutes had gone by, he was ready to putt.

And guess what? He missed. He smashed the ball way past the hole and was forced to repeat the process. He seemed lost at sea and had forgotten what he was really doing.

By this time there were three groups on the hole waiting for him to finish. I was shocked that a 14 year old boy could be allowed to get away with this and play so slowly. I couldn’t help but think of the hours each year he’d waste on going through this routine and the frustration he’d cause. And just think of the energy required to keep this up?

Most alarming of all was his putting was horrendous. He just didn’t look like getting a putt to go in. I overheard his mother say, “he’s really struggled with the driver this week. Can’t get the ball in play. That’s what’s killing his score”.


This painful process repeated itself throughout the front nine.

Three putt. Miss. Three putt. Was that a four putt?

The poor kid had lost the plot and eventually let things relax. It was probably due to the fact he’d just taken a quadruple bogey and was finally over all the hard work.

On the 13th there was no bullshit. He stopped AimPoint. He gave up lining his ball. He stopped the rot, he took a quick look at the hole, strolled in and sunk a 10 footer. He raised his arms in mock triumph.

“Finally”, I mumbled to myself. Golf just doesn’t have to be that hard and I hope this young kid sees the learning here…

if he stops trying so bloody hard he’ll play a lot better.