The Most Important Golf Shot
"The Most Important
Golf Shot" (c)1998 Pat Dolan Golf Pro
For years in many
locker rooms and clubhouses, one of the main topics of discussion has been,
"What is the most important shot in golf?" One side of the argument is for the
tee shot, and the other side is for the putt.
One of the
strongest proponents for the tee shot was Ben Hogan. In the early 1960's, while
a teaching pro at The Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, I discussed
this with Ben, and he felt strongly that a players tee shot was THE most
It was Ben's
fervent belief, that from a mental standpoint, one's whole round depended on
the initial tee shot. He claimed to have rarely witnessed or been part of a
great round that started with an errant tee shot. He believed that when you
begin with an excellent tee shot, your mental attitude would carry forward on
all successive shots.
On the other side,
many argue that the putt is the most important. One such advocate was the
legendary teaching pro Harvey Penick, who strongly believed that the short
game, around the green, was the essence of scoring well. He contended that a
two foot putt counted just as much as a tee shot.
This argument did
not hold water with Ben. Adamantly he stated, "If you are trying to make a two
foot putt for a seven, due to an errant tee shot, who in the hell cares? After
all, a missed two foot putt will generally only cost you one shot, whereas a
missed tee shot can easily cost you two or more shots."
After listening to
Ben's logic, I calmly explained, that in my humble opinion, I thought both
sides were wrong. This definitely got Ben's attention. I hurriedly added, that
while both sides had made good arguments, I considered Willie Ogg's, the
original teaching professional selected and respected by the membership of the
PGA to conduct business school teaching seminars, to have been the best. You
see he told us that the most important shot in golf is always "the next one."
Hogan laughed out
loud and completely agreed. (And some of you thought he was always "the wee
ice-man.") So the next time you overhear the discussion about the most
important shot in golf, just sit back and laugh to yourself because you already
know the Real Truth.
friend to any golfer,
Pat Dolan Golf Pro
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