Winning one of the best rounds of golf requires a certain, high level of talent. It takes a level above that to win those rounds when you’re not at your best. Such was the case with John Rahm this weekend at the DP World Championships.
“I honestly can’t believe I hit a 12-under with how bad it hit me off the tee that weekend,” Ram said after his win. “I maximized my rounds… I think I shot at a low level that I could have picked up in a weekend to get this round.”
However, he won anyway, thanks to a good strategy. It’s a good reminder to the rest of us that we don’t have to be at our best to play some great golf, as long as you learn from the recent Ram performance.
1. He can lean on his speed
Yes, it’s a testament to the Ram’s overall ability that its poor driving performance, for it, is still considered average compared to its peers. But this also underscores an important point for the rest of us. The Ram may not have found the sweet spot that day, but his racket speed didn’t fade overnight. Even when he was hitting badly off the tee, missing lanes that cost him a lap, he still finished 15th in the distance highest.
This is the main reason why having a lot of clubhead speed, as Ram does, is a huge advantage for golfers of every level: because it’s a very stable skill. Speed stays with you, during the good rides and during the bad rides. It gives you something, if nothing else, to work with.
“Length always helps,” said Ram. “On this golf course in particular. There were a few shelters I could cover that not many could.”
Of course, speed won’t solve all of your problems, and may make them worse on bad days. On those bad days, it is worth remembering that MThe arcade version won’t kill you. Adults will make mistakes.
This is what Ram did well last week, despite his struggles. Keep his ball in play and out of danger. Preventing that disaster allowed him to limit his losses from the tee, and make up the difference elsewhere. Keeping her on the golf course during the bad days is the number one priority. Anytime you do that, it’s a win.
Golf becomes easy when you feel a great swing, the golf course fits your eyes, and you can turn your game on autopilot. The crazy thing about golf is how rarely that happens. Ram wasn’t in that luxury this past weekend, so he adopted a patience-first mentality. He only allowed himself to look at the pin when he was from the fairway, and when he wasn’t, he cut his losses and moved on.
“Anytime I was in the fairway, I stayed aggressive and my iron felt great. When I went down, and saved my peg game” He said. “I choose my own battles, and I just managed really well.”
It’s a point Sam Weinman and I made on our latest Local Knowledge podcast. Amateur golfers often try to right a mistake they made right away. Be patient, think long term, and you will come out ahead.
4. Take advantage of the easy wins
Finally, on days when one element of your game struggles, you’ll make it in other areas. And again, this does not mean being a hero. It means being the other way around: doing the simple, unsexy things well. Basically, make your own short strokes.
“Within 10 feet I was really, really, really solid,” Ram says. “No matter how you play, you will always get ahead.”