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Other Stuff: Pressure –

By Wayne Halm –

On a golf course how well do you perform under pressure?  I have my ups and downs … let me tell you about one of them.

The Kauai Lagoons Golf Course (now called The Ocean Course at Hokuala) called and asked me to show the course to some photographers and travel writers.  This was fairly standard stuff.  I had done it before.

You just show the photographers where they can get some great shots and they take them.  You give the writers some memorable phrases and unique stories and they write around them.  The idea is to make their job easier and the course will get better coverage.  That’s not where the pressure came in.

On these tours I always bring a bag of rental sticks and a box of balls.  We never use them but we are on a golf course and I think it looks better to be armed … this day was different.

We got to the par three 14th hole and things were going great.  The photographers snapped picture after picture and the writers jotted down impressions.  I hardly had to say anything.

Then a photographer asked, “Wayne, will you play this hole so I can get some pictures of you with the ocean and mountain in the background?”

“Sure,” I said.  But a cold knot formed in my stomach … Pressure.

This is the tee shot he wanted me to hit. 162 yards, downhill, with a wind blowing right to left. It is intimidating; there are many ways to screw up this shot, and feeling pressure contributes to all of them. I miss this green about half the time.

This is the tee shot he wanted me to hit. 162 yards, downhill, with a wind blowing right to left. It is intimidating; there are many ways to screw up this shot, and feeling pressure contributes to all of them. I miss this green frequently.

.

Looking good here would up my credibility, but it was a challenge.  I took an 8 iron and lined up carefully.  The cameras start clicking.  I concentrated on making a smooth swing and struck the ball sweetly.  It flew up into the sky on a good line, as it arched down the wind moved it to the left a bit.  The ball landed in the middle of the green, bounced once and stopped about 10 feet from the pin.

Oh yeah!  Relief flooded through me … I had done it!  But I tried not to let if show.  “That worked out pretty well,” I said.

After but one step toward the cart, the photographer said, “Do it again and let me get a shot with the lighthouse in the background.”

Double pressure … could I do it again?  I didn’t want to look bad, but that freezing knot in my stomach certainly thought I would.

I teed up another ball and carefully lined up.  The cameras clicked loudly and often.  I stared at the back of the ball and hit it cleanly and solidly.  We watched it fly up and drift to the left.  The ball landed in the center of the green, bounced once and stopped right next to the first one.

I wanted to be cool, I wanted to act like this happens all the time … but I could feel the big grin growing across my face.  I didn’t trust myself to say anything.  I had done it again!  That would be something to brag about!

The grin didn’t last long.  The photographer said, “Do it one more time, I want to video it.”

Triple pressure!!!  Could I do it a third time?  Could I do it on video?  The knot in my stomach got so cold I expected to see frost on my shirt.  A thought about thousands of people watching the video slipped into my mind …  I shoved it way into the back and tried to remember fundamentals.    

Again I teed up a ball and lined up extremely carefully.  The video camera didn’t make any noise, but I was very aware of it.  I worried that I had taken the club back a little shallower than I intended but it struck the ball solidly and gave that satisfying click.  The ball sailed into the air on a good line, perhaps a bit higher than the last two, it was hard to tell.  It arched over and began to drift left … we all watched and waited.  The ball landed in the center of the green, bounced toward the pin, and stopped inside the other two.

I had done it a third time!  I wanted to whoop and holler but honestly I didn’t have the energy or breath.  I settled for giving the video camera an approving nod and acting like I expected it.

Normally I like to walk photographers out on that green, they can get fantastic shoreline shots from there.  But not on this day, I was afraid they would ask me to putt those balls … and I felt I had already used up my good luck for the day.  Right or wrong – I decided to quit while I was ahead.

I have a 2016 goal of playing golf with 100 people I haven’t met.  To date I have played with 34 new people.  Want to be in that number?

Come play golf with me.

 

The Ocean Course at Hokuala   808-241-6000   www.hokualakauai.com

14 thoughts on “Pressure

    • Aloha Jim,
      Thank you … but I’m not sure about being a pressure player. Sometimes I can drop back to fundamentals, but most of the time not. I think it was two weeks before I hit that green again.
      A Hui Hou,
      Wayne

  1. Wayne, you’re a sturdier man than I! I couldn’t have done that one out of three times, let alone three out of three! 🙂 YOU DA MAN!!

    • Aloha Josh,
      That day gave me a new appreciation for tournament players. How do they handle the pressure of all those eyes and cameras on them week after week? Pressure is a very real thing.
      A Hui Hou,
      Wayne

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