The first few rounds at the picturesque Harbor Town Golf Links proved trying for the competitors in the RBC Heritage. The par-71 course, which has always placed an emphasis on shot placement and accuracy, was recently revamped and certainly proved as challenging as ever from the tee through the green. Proof of the fact was the cut that fell at 3 over.
The main reason for the high scores was the firm conditions underfoot, especially on the greens. This made for getting the ball close to the hole on the small Harbour Town greens very difficult. Further, balls that would normally hold the green were bouncing through and missing the targets and as a result there was an added emphasis placed on scrambling, chipping and putting.
In my opinion, the watchword for the week would be “patience” as the players would have needed a pretty generous helping thereof to keep themselves in the game -- especially considering the propensity for some marginal shots to end in less than savory situations adjacent to the tiny greens.
There is a real lesson in this for us. Remember always that golf is a game of recovery and the value of each shot is determined by the one that follows it. To be able to recover and convert you have to keep as patient a mindset as possible. If you allow funny bounces or lipped-out putts or anything of the like to affect you, your score will more than likely suffer. Hit each shot on its merits and remain patient as you navigate your way around the golf course. Avoid the attempt to force a result. Golf is a one-shot-at-a-time game and you have to play it that way.
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, please visit his web site, markimmelman.com