Tackle the Signature Hole

Tackle the Signature Hole

Teeing Off on the Iconic 17th

As I stood on the tee box of the 17th hole at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, my heart was racing. This was the signature hole, the one I had come to conquer. The one that had haunted my dreams and defined my golfing frustrations. I took a deep breath, tried to push out the voice in my head that whispered, “Don’t screw this up,” and waggled my driver over the golf ball.

The 17th at Eagle Ridge is a par 3 that plays 180 yards from the back tees. But the real challenge lies not in the distance, but in the intimidating carry over a vast expanse of water. A lone, solitary bunker guards the front of the green, daring you to take it on. I had played this hole a dozen times before, and my track record was less than stellar. Skulled shots into the drink, chunked swings that barely made it halfway, and the occasional shank that sent my ball ricocheting off the clubhouse – you name it, I had done it.

[1] As the golf coach from Golf.com once said, “I’m not a horrible golfer, but I play great holes HORRIBLY.” And the 17th at Eagle Ridge was the epitome of a “great hole” that had my number. But not today. Today, I was determined to conquer my nemesis once and for all.

Overcoming the Mental Hurdles

I stepped up to the tee, trying to silence the negative thoughts racing through my mind. [1] “Dr. Parent, a renowned golf mental coach, had given me some valuable insights on why players struggle with signature holes. He explained that the term “signature” is synonymous with “special,” and that creates unnecessary pressure.

“We give ourselves about a dozen different instructions of what to do and not do and twist ourselves up into a pretzel,” he had said. The “crescendo of hope and fear” makes us go crazy, causing us to shift into a mindset of “how can I not screw this up?” rather than “how can I hit a great shot here?”

I took another deep breath, feeling my muscles relax as I let go of the need to perform perfectly. Instead of overthinking it, I focused on my pre-shot routine – visualizing the perfect shot, taking a smooth practice swing, and committing fully to the target. As I pulled the trigger, I felt a sense of freedom and flow, rather than the usual tension and fear.

Sticking the Landing

The ball soared high into the air, cutting through the gentle breeze with a beautiful, piercing trajectory. I watched it arc gracefully over the water, landing softly on the green and rolling to a stop just 15 feet from the pin. I couldn’t believe it – I had finally conquered the 17th at Eagle Ridge!

As I walked up to the green, a huge grin spread across my face. My caddie, Dave, looked at me in disbelief. “What club did you hit?” he asked, just as he had done that fateful day at Augusta National.

“A 7-iron,” I replied, unable to contain my excitement. “And I stuck the landing!”

[1] Dr. Parent’s advice had been the key. By letting go of the need to perform perfectly and embracing the freedom to just swing, I had unlocked the secret to taming this signature hole. No more skulls, chunks, or shanks – just a clean, confident strike that sent the ball sailing exactly where I wanted it to go.

As I lined up my putt and rolled in the birdie, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of redemption. The 17th at Eagle Ridge had been my nemesis for far too long, but today, I had finally conquered it. It was a moment of pure golfing bliss – the kind that makes all the frustration and heartbreak worth it.

Lessons Learned

Looking back, I realize that my struggles with the 17th hole were not unique. [1] Any golfer who has had the chance to play a highly rated course has felt the anticipation and pressure of taking on a “signature” hole. The desire to perform well on these iconic layouts can be both exhilarating and debilitating.

But Dr. Parent’s advice has shown me that the key to conquering these challenges lies not in trying to control the outcome, but in letting go and trusting your swing. By focusing on the process rather than the result, I was able to free up my body and mind, and unleash the kind of shot I knew I was capable of all along.

As I walked off the 17th green, I couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of confidence and excitement for the rest of my round. The 17th had been my white whale for so long, but now that I had finally slayed it, I knew that anything was possible.

[1] “Trying to control the swing and outcome lead to manipulation,” Dr. Parent had said. “For the swing, it means mechanical thoughts that interfere with flow. Not such a good idea to give yourself a lesson while you swing. For outcome, it means helping the ball move toward your target or preventing it from going where you don’t want to go.”

By letting go of that need for control and embracing the freedom to just swing, I had unlocked the secret to taming this signature hole. And who knows – maybe the next time I face off against a daunting par 3 over water, I’ll be able to channel that same sense of calm and confidence, and walk away with another hard-earned victory.

Gearing Up for the Challenge

Of course, conquering the 17th at Eagle Ridge was just the beginning of my quest to master the course. As I moved on to the rest of my round, I couldn’t help but feel a newfound sense of excitement and determination.

I knew that the challenges ahead would be no less daunting. The fairways were tight, the greens were lightning-fast, and the hazards seemed to lurk around every corner. But after proving that I could tame the signature hole, I felt a surge of confidence that I could handle anything Eagle Ridge had to throw at me.

As I stepped up to the 18th tee, I couldn’t help but smile. This was the final test, the ultimate challenge that would put my skills and mental fortitude to the ultimate test. But this time, I wasn’t afraid. I was ready.

[1] “Accept that #$&! happens,” Dr. Parent had advised. “Being able to ‘pre-accept’ a bad outcome will help you from stressing too much about trying to prevent a catastrophe and commit to your plan.”

I took a deep breath, visualized the perfect tee shot, and unleashed a smooth, powerful swing. The ball sailed high into the air, cutting through the late-afternoon sun as it arced gracefully towards the green. As it landed softly and rolled to a stop just a few feet from the pin, I pumped my fist in triumph.

Eagle Ridge had thrown its best at me, and I had emerged victorious. This was my moment, my hard-earned triumph over the course that had once seemed insurmountable. And as I walked off the 18th green, I knew that I would be back, hungry for more.


Tackling the signature hole at Eagle Ridge Golf Club had been a journey filled with frustration, heartbreak, and, ultimately, redemption. But through it all, I had learned a valuable lesson – that the key to conquering these iconic layouts lies not in trying to control the outcome, but in letting go and trusting your swing.

[1] By embracing Dr. Parent’s advice and shifting my mindset from “how can I not screw this up?” to “how can I hit a great shot here?”, I was able to free up my body and mind, and unleash the kind of shot I knew I was capable of all along. And in doing so, I had finally conquered my nemesis, the 17th hole at Eagle Ridge.

As I reflect on this experience, I can’t help but feel a renewed sense of excitement and determination for the challenges that lie ahead. Eagle Ridge has tested me in ways I never could have imagined, but I’ve emerged stronger, more confident, and more in tune with the mental game of golf.

So whether you’re tackling the 17th at Eagle Ridge or any other signature hole, remember the lessons I’ve learned. Let go of the need for control, embrace the freedom to just swing, and trust in the process. Because when you do, the results can be truly extraordinary.


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