The Mental Side of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst

Donald Ross designed the greens at Pinehurst to be crowned, resembling the back of a spoon or a bowl turned upside down. His unusual greens drop off on all sides. Approach shots that narrowly miss their targets could wind up rolling into shaved collection areas some 30 yards from the hole.

The best golf courses are designed to be difficult to play in order to emotionally frustrate a golfer. Ross did such a great job that he had the best golfers in the world talking to themselves even before they started to play. There is a lot of fear associated with his greens and a potential for much anger created by severe hardships if you miss a put and end up many yards away. If the rains don't soften the greens and reduce the fear level, the winner will be the golfer who controls his emotions the best.

Tom Watson realized this when he skipped a practice round. "Right now I feel like I'm doing what I want to do, and I'm not too concerned about my golf swing," he said. "I want to be more mentally prepared playing the golf course than thinking about my golf swing."

"You're not trying to go out there and be a hero and shot 8 under for the week," Couples said. "Once you make a bogey and get upset and play a little aggressive the next hole, you make another bogey. This idea of saying you need to be patient in a US Open, there's no doubt."

Davis Love III, who knows Pinehurst as well as anyone commented, "The guy who is scrambling well will do well there. Because everybody is going to be scrambling." And the golfer who becomes the less frustrated will be the survivor.

P.S.: Winning at golf is more than just getting more distance. It is about SCORING. And here is a book that I can recommend to help you learn more about course management.

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