Follow these 4 steps to bounce back after a bad hole

aerial shot of golf hole

Trouble abounds on the 17th hole at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Courtesy Atlanta Athletic Club

The closing stretch at Atlanta Athletic Club’s Highlands Course — site of last month’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship — is rife with trouble. At the 2011 PGA Championship, Keegan Bradley found that out the hard way. His chip shot at No. 15 ran into the water, leading to a triple bogey and apparently drowning his chances at the title. But Bradley bounced back with a birdie at 16 and poured in a 50-footer on the par-3 17th (above). An hour later, Bradley was a major champ. 

Here’s how you bounce back from a crooked number. 

1. Take 10 steps 

Don’t bottle it up. Instead, follow Tiger Woods’ longtime approach: Let yourself get mad about the shot you’ve just hit for 10 steps. When you take that 11th step, move on. 

Golfers celebrating
15 real golfers share the tip that gave their own game a ‘breakthrough’
By: Luke Kerr-Dineen

2. Regulate your breathing 

It’s good to play excited, but if you’re running hot, your heart rate is likely too elevated. Breathe in for five seconds, hold that breath for five seconds and breathe out for five seconds. Repeat as you walk to the next tee. 

3. Hit your next shot in a vacuum 

It’s easy to roll your eyes when pros talk about taking things “one shot at a time,” but try it out. Keegan Bradley’s poor chip at 15 had nothing to do with his tee shot at 16. Bear down and reset.

 4. Stay optimistic 

After all, you never know when a 50-foot putt is going to drop.

Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier

Golf.com Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.