Don’t choke on 18! Try these 4 simple tips to finish your round off in style

March 28, 2020
18th hole with water in front of the green

Every golfer has heard — and told — horror stories of good rounds gone awry on the last. They sting! Every golf wants to finish strong, whether it’s to break 90 for the first time, finish off an archnemesis in match play or just because a post-round beer always sits a little better knowing you walked off No. 18 with a par.

The stakes are higher for the women taking on the finisher at Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Course, which was scheduled to be home to the ANA Inspiration next week, the LPGA’s first major of the year (now rescheduled for Sept. 10-13). No. 18 is a beefy risk-reward par 5 with an island green—and trouble everywhere. In 2009, Brittany Lincicome won with a walk-off eagle. In 2019, Jin Young Ko made birdie to secure the win and the world No. 1 ranking. Even if you’re not finishing off a major, here’s how you can finish off any round in style.

1. Acknowledge the moment.

You don’t have to play it cool. Admit to yourself, your caddie or your friends that you really care about this hole. Doing so can release some inner tension and help you refocus on tackling the task at hand.

2. Stick to your process.

The 18th hole is no time to try something brand-new. Stick with what got you here! Pick a target, visualize your shot and let it rip.

3. Conservative target, aggressive swing.

You don’t always have to finish off a good round by gunning for the pin or taking on a risky bunker. Choose a safe shot—but take an aggressive swing. Tentativeness is every golfer’s enemy.

4. Accept any result.

Golf never goes quite according to plan. You might finish a glorious 18th hole, or things might shoot sideways. Have the courage to accept any result and you’re more likely to like the one you get.

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