Lessons of the sand trap

Golf is a risk reward sport which parallels life in many ways. Like life, a journey around a golf course presents many challenges, obstacles, hazards and decision points.

Recently, professional golfer Hunter Mahan won the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship in part, by wishing his ball into a sand trap. That’s right, as he watched the flight of his approach shot to one of the greens, you could hear him say “get in the trap”. Don’t they call it a trap because it is someplace to avoid? Most amateur golfers fear their ball landing in a sand trap. Why would Mahan want his ball to go into the trap? What does he know that the amateur does not?

There are things in life that are difficult to learn, yet easy to do once you know how. Learning to ride a bicycle comes to mind. To young children attempting to learn, riding may seem impossible, yet with continued practice, the training wheels come off and away they go. In golf, the sand shot is one of the more difficult shots to learn. Surprisingly, it is one the easiest shots to hit once you understand the fundamentals and put in the necessary practice time to master them.

Seeing his approach shot was going to miss the green to the right, Hunter Mahan was not afraid of his ball landing in the trap. Unlike most amateur golfers, Mahan had the knowledge and the skill to successfully execute the sand shot. He knew it would be a more forgiving shot than a delicate chip from the short grass around the green. Playing from the sand he could create more spin on the ball and stop it closer to the hole. He played it perfectly and made his par.

Similar to a round of golf, as we journey through the game of life, we will encounter challenges, obstacles and hazards. Shooting for our goals, we will not be able to avoid all the sand traps along the way. The next time you find yourself stuck in the sand trap, don’t be afraid. Ask what learning needs to take place in order for you to get out of the sand and continue moving forward towards your goals.

Lesson of the sand trap

  1. Difficult to learn-easy to do.

  2. Knowledge displaces fear.

  3. Learning is the key to overcoming obstacles.