Make Time to Be On Time

I hate feeling rushed, thus I hate being late for anything. That overwhelming feeling of being the last to show up for something just adds to my already high anxiety level. That’s what’s so incredibly stupid about it…it’s something I can control. Avoiding the nerves that come with being flustered and rushed are totally avoidable. You also have to have a decent concept of time.

If your tee time is at noon and it takes you 20 minutes to drive to the course, leaving 30 minutes before your tee time doesn’t mean you’ll have 10 minutes to spare. You kiss the wife and kids goodbye and the dogs runs out. You get him back in and notice you’re golf shoes aren’t in the trunk. There’s traffic. You pull in and the bag boy takes his sweet time to unload your bag. You say hello to people in the parking lot. You have to check-in at the pro shop. You go into the bar to grab your drink and a Gatorade for the cooler. It’s now 11:58 and if the cart went 80 mph you’d certainly test it heading to the first tee. You get out, greet the fellas, agree on the bets, put your glove on and grab your driver. And…oh…you haven’t hit one single ball nor stretched a lick.

That first ball travels knee-high and duck hooks into the fescue. “Breakfast ball” you yell even though it’s lunch, but you all agreed on two off the first tee. Your next ball isn’t great, but in play and better than the first. You use the drive to your tee shots to stick your rangefinder where you want it and put your divot tool and a few tees in your pocket. All things you should have done before you teed off, ya know…if you had time. You skull your second shot, an 8 iron, over the green. Chunk your chip just barely onto the putting surface and hit your par putt screaming by the hole. As you reach into your pocket to mark you ball all you find is a few tees. You forgot to put your ball marker in your pocket, and sticking a tee in the green is uncouth. You ask your buddy to borrow a mark and he tosses you a moldy dime from the Civil War. You lip-out your 5 footer and tap in for double. Great start idiot.

Hole #1 is usually an easy par hole and a good start to the round. #2 is a brutal 200 yard par 3 with a skinny green and almost all carry over a hazard with chest-high cattails. You’ll gladly take a 4 on hole #2 and march on any day of the week. But today you’re already +2 thru 1. And now you need to press on a difficult hole and try to make par. You miss a 4 iron just a hair and your ball comes up 2 yards short in the hazard. Decent pitch from the drop area and you 2-putt from 12 feet for another double. +4 after 2 holes, all because you thought you’d have 10 minutes to spare before you teed off. Well 10 minutes gives you exactly enough time to do absolutely nothing. At least you would’ve had your ball marker ready I guess.

Even as a golf professional I am guilty of this. I have never been a range rat and never felt like I “had” to have a full routine on the practice tee before a round of golf. I always used the time on the range before a round to get loose and dial in some confidence for the day. If I hit my fairway woods or wedges particularly bad the last time I played I would work on that to make sure that aspect was better. Unless I am leaving work and squeezing in an emergency evening 9, there’s simply no reason to not arrive at the course 30 minutes early. If nothing else but to simply relax, take a breath, and be on the property and ready to start your round.

This is going to be my New Year’s Resolution for golf; arrive with just a little time to prepare; nothing crazy. No large bucket. Just enough time to hit 15-20 balls, roll a few putts on the practice green, and the biggest thing of all…time to stretch. At age 39 this is more important than anything I’ve mentioned. Why do I feel like holes 5-14 are my best? Because I’m finally loose and in a good rhythm. How much better would you play if you walked onto the first tee already feeling loose with your golf swing in a good place? Oh, and that lucky ball marker from St Andrews your grandpa brought back for you ready in your side pocket.

Enjoy the game and each other,

Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.