G-Mac Shows the Keys to a Smart Recovery

TOUR players know when they hit into trouble their first priority is to limit the damage. Average golfers, on the other hand, tend to get rattled by poor shots, so more poor shots ensue. Compounding errors is what fills scorecards with 6s and 7s. The trick is to accept the first mistake, and follow it with a smart, conservative recovery.

Here Graeme McDowell plays out of a native sandy area at Pinehurst during last year’s US Open. Note a few key points about his technique. First, he appears relaxed and confident. It’s a safe bet that he picked a shot he knows he can easily execute. Second, he has clearly made a descending strike and smashed the ball off the sand. This point cannot be over-emphasised: From a bad lie, you must hit the ball first by playing it farther back in your stance and keeping more weight on your front side throughout the swing. Third, you can see by McDowell’s abbreviated follow-through that he has put all the energy down into the ball and not made a wild swing. His steady, balanced finish proves he’s in control – and on his way to an easy par save.

Next time you find yourself in trouble, remember to accept the situation and create a simple plan for getting back in play. One mistake will not hurt you much, but two or three in a row can ruin your day.