You've heard it yelled out numerous times on the PGA Tour (by that one annoying guy) during competition; MASHED POTATOES!
Today I would like to give you my version of Mashed Potatoes.
I am using the term in regards to my brain; it's as though you can't remember how to tie your shoes, let alone hit a driver past the forward tees.
My last two rounds were 105 and 96 - ouch, right? I am not going to give you an excuse about these scores, but an explanation on how my brain and body did not function.
The day before my first round, I was hitting my clubs well on the range. Next to me was a guy that resembled Billy Horshel (his look and swing). His presence was motivation for me focus on my form, and it was working. I was a range hero on that day.
As you know, this does not frequently transfer to the course. In fact, it was the complete opposite of what I was doing on the range. The fact that I was hitting proper shots on the range made it difficult for me to use my old pattern. This change led to a tug of war between mind and body. My body wanted me to hit my 'go to' swing while my brain wanted to play range superhero.
This anecdote brings me to mashed potatoes.
The mind and body go to mush as if you never picked up a club a day in your life. The golf gods give you nothing, and the person you thought you became on the range is nowhere to be seen.
Admit it: you have been there.
I decided to keep range hero at play to no avail. Shot after shot, each seemed worse than that last. My mind was getting beat down! Confidence drained with every swing of the club.
What do you do in this situation? Do you quit?
Heck no, and if you're like me, you'll keep beating yourself up because you are a masochist.
Golf and I have a very dysfunctional relationship. Even when I am playing horrible, I still think there is a slight chance that I can salvage our relationship. On the day I shot a 105, I thought about quitting the game entirely - but no, I had to put myself through another day of pain.
Then there was my 96, which included a 12 on one hole, but I labored on and all of a sudden I felt my brain becoming a connected network of thought and action. My saving grace was my match play game against my Dad; it made me focus on each hole, no matter how bad the last and wouldn't you know it, I started playing decent.
I felt that deep passion for competition come alive. My Dad had me on the ropes going into the last four holes. He was 4-up with four to go, and I had to win each hole to force a playoff hole.
The first of four holes was an error on my Dad's part; he sent his ball into the water, all I had to do was play smart. I pulled out my five wood to layup short of the hazard which ended pushed right of the hazard. My ball was next to a tree for my approach shot, pulled a 4-iron for a knockdown shot that landed left of the green, my Dad continued to struggle. I would win the hole with a bogey five. We carried on to the next one.
My comeback would end on the 17th hole. After a good run, I would end losing 3&1 on the day.
The point being, I got that competitive feeling back. I am always reminded to take it, shot by shot, hole by hole.
If you are in a rut, try playing match play. It can help the mind forget about the overall score, and you will ultimately play better.