Almanac Golf: My inner Jordan Spieth

Thank you Jordan Spieth. I feel a lot better about my golf game after watching you yesterday. Everyone who has ever picked up a golf club has ‘taken the gas’ like young Jordan on the 12th at Augusta yesterday. We all have our version of Rae’s Creek that keeps us up at night. Golf is a brutal game.

‘Amen Corner’ for me as a young lad was the stretch incorporating the 15th, 16th and 17th holes at the Wagga City Club. You have played well for 14 holes and know the test is coming. You feel it as soon as you pick your pill up from the 14th cup. Each of the three holes feature water on the right, all within distance of a standard tee shot. A nightmare for a bloke with a weak fade! I thought one tee shot out of three in the drink was a good result. I often walked to the tee on the 18th a broken man, having fully utilised every four letter word in my vocab. My best mates pitching-wedge lives forever in the lake beside the 15th green. It’s like getting hit in the groin playing cricket, very funny to watch if it’s not you, excruciatingly painful if you are the recipient.

I realise I am taking a long bow by comparing the pressure of a tilt at the Green Jacket with my numerous failed quests at winning a pack of Top Flite Hot Dots and the Wagga City Club C grade Saturday Comp. The bounty is different, yet the feeling I am guessing is similar.

You stand over the shot, look at the hazard and tell yourself not to hit it in that vicinity for F*** sake. In most instances you either take another club, use the worst ball in your bag, or in weaker moments aim at the opposite fairway, regardless of if it is 90 metres off target. The grip tightens, the hands sweat and you wish you were back home mowing the lawns. I just want to hit the ball and get it over with. If allowed I would happily walk up to the creek and plonk my ball in it to just get on with things.

Why do I / we care? It doesn’t matter in the scheme of things if I get over the water, yet in the moment it seems like the most important thing in the world. Competitive spirit? Obsession? Ego?

Jordan Spieth is arguably the best golfer in the world at the tender age of 22, yet for 30 minutes yesterday he made a series of poor decisions and skill executions that are hard to explain. The game got him. It was hard to watch, however, it was compelling viewing. He was trapped.

All sports can take a hold of us, yet golf seems to hold a special place in exposing our mental and skill shortcomings. Is it because we have too much time to think? We walk up to a stationary target, set up, look at the target, look back at the ball, have another peak at the target, re-check the grip and then pull the trigger.. This process probably takes 20 seconds. Too much time to think. Taking cricket for example, in my experience, if you have some bloke bowling at 140 clicks trying to knock your head off, you don’t have time to think, you just react. Footy is the same when you have got some bloke covered in tatts and weighing 110kgs on your hammer.

I knew of a guy who once repeatedly struck his drive into an overhanging branch adjourning the fairway. The solution was not to eradicate his slice. In the cover of darkness, much like a member of the navy seals, he snuck into the club with a chainsaw and bluntly took care of business. A brutal execution of his tormentor. Job done with no need to spend thousands on golf lessons.

Putting holds a ‘special’ place in my heart. I can’t putt. I often leave a six-foot putt a foot short, just so I don’t have a 3-footer coming back. 36 plus puts is the norm. I’ve tried more grips and different putters than Bernard Langer. I’ve tried putting with my eyes closed (thanks for the tip Butch Harmon). Judge Smails is a better putter than me.

Judge Smails

Two young kids under 4 means I don’t play much these days. I’m lucky to get out once a month. I recently made the trek to Eynesbury Golf Club in Melbourne. A decent challenge and it’s fair to say Graham Marsh had much better players in mind than me when designing the layout. I played with Brad, my best mate of over 30 years. Match Play. The level of sledging and attempted mental disintegration was off the charts. The lead changed hands several times. We played behind two blokes with matching white pants. Seriously, unless you play off scratch I think wearing white pants should incur a 5 stroke penalty for being a try-hard. I had moments of brilliance, par-ing the first four holes. It is fair to say I got ahead of myself and the game hit back hard. A customary four putt and one shot last seen headed for West Australia.

All this and yet I love the game and will always keep coming back. That one 280 metre drive out of the screws more than makes up for two weak slices I hit into the p-ss. I’ll tell my wife and kids about the 150m five iron I hit to five feet on the par three sixth, rather than the four I put on the scorecard. Nothing beats a four-hour walk on a good track with three mates. The pleasure makes up for the pain.

Jordan Spieth will rise again, just like we all do every Saturday. The game will not beat him, nor will it beat us.



About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Craig, I feel your pain. About 11am every Saturday.

  2. Tony Robb says

    Craig , three mates and i embark on out yearly pilgrimage to contest the Bawley Point Invitational, ( Despite there being no golf course there, my brother has a top joint right on the water) commencing with the 9 whole pro-am tomorrow ( all am, no pro) at the Mollymook beach course then on to Hill Top on the Thursday for more misery than one person deserves in a lifetime. The final days see the tournament move Kangaroo Valley for the first year.
    As a lad growing up in Wagga I first swung a club at the city club that was then in side the race track. Accompanying me was Greg Tooze whose father won the club championship around 100 times. I’ve never played the new course but might pack the bats when I’m down it head office.

  3. craig dodson says

    Glad I’m not alone peter.

    Tony, sounds like a great weekend. Good luck. My father grew up playing the course at the race track site as well. The new couse is hard yards in summer as it drives out. They spent a bit redoing a few years back, however the country club course out lake albert way is more popular these days.

  4. Thesaurus Rex says

    I have never seen a losing pro golfer so visibly shaken as Jordan Spieth, unsteady on his feet, was at the green jacket handover ceremony to new Masters’ champion Willett … not even Greg Norman! Actually Norman looked, comparatively, in his various moments of despair, almost the epitome of composure! Spieth, obviously devastated, will never forget this disaster, especially the 7 on the par 3, but he is good enough & young enough to rise again to the top – but it may take him some time to overcome the demons of this terrible experience.

  5. I am very ordinary at golf. The 3 lessons I had only served to show how much more there was to learn. Yet I am intrigued by it, the occasional shot that I someone manage to hit quite well. A bogey is as good as it gets for me. Just asking how it is possible to hit 20 bad shots and they all land in water, bunker, scrub,… surely by random chance one could land on the green several feet from the hole? I play about once a year and it is some quality time with my son. We usually don’t score, just try to hope that we can each improve.

  6. aussiegus says

    Patterson river country club. Holes 4 5 6. It is so unfortunate that amen corner is so close to the start of the round
    Holes run north south so pick up the prevailing sea breezes ( not a zephyr either) or the raging northerly during the summer
    I am physically shaking as I type
    It is a defeatist attitude that as you come off the first 3 holes at +1 you are thinking if I’m no worse than +6 after these 3 I can survive
    Sad. But we live in hope

  7. Scott Rainbird says

    I am pretty sure Morro went for a swim in the 17th dam one day at school golf…..

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