Phil Mickelson’s miracle shot on 13 on Sunday will go down as one of the great shots of Masters history. It will also be a big setback for the average golfer.
There is no doubt that Phil Mickelson has an overload of talent. He has shown that over years pulling off incredible shots. But he has taken risks that have cost him tournaments, most notably the US Open at Winged Foot.
The problem isn’t that Phil tries those shots and sometimes pulls them off. The problem is that he influences golfers and they begin to think they can do the same. We’d all love to be able to strike the ball like Phil but even most golfers in the field at Augusta on Sunday would have laid up. With Phil’s talent he would have scored a birdie 80% of the time laying up, and he in fact scored a birdie.
Was it a heroic shot? Absolutely. Was it smart? Probably not. The par 5 13th had been giving up lots of birdies. Phil’s mistake is that he brought bogey into play. Luckily for him it didn’t turn out that way, but pine straw is not easy to hit out off. He could easily have ended up in the creek, pitching onto the green for an un-guaranteed par. The conservative route wouldn’t have brought bogey into play unless something disastrous had happened.
If we take a look at the risk vs the reward, it wasn’t a smart play.
Now to the average golfer. The average already has a hard enough time making smart decisions on the course. Most golfers I play with are constantly making decisions that bring double bogey or worse routinely into play. They could not only score much better, but take many headaches out of their rounds if they knew how to make better decisions, but they don’t know. When faced with a choice like Phil’s, many golfers would try the hero shot because if they can just pull it off, they’ll get a nice ego boost. More than likely though, they’ll end up with a big number and wonder why the can’t break 100, 90 or 80. This is where Game Sense comes in. It teaches you how to make the best decisions on the course. Get that understanding and you can expertly avoid trouble and give yourself stress free pars.