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Learn to close the deal when you have the chance

Russell Henley Sony Win 304
Getty Images

PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley introduced himself to the golf world at the Sony Open by playing 72 holes with only two bogeys. Add 26 birdies to that score and it’s not likely that you’re going to lose.

Anytime you put together four rounds as awesome as Henley did this past weekend, you’re doing more than one or two things very well. The difficult part is knowing that you’re playing well and keeping it together to finish the round.

Henley demonstrated that he knew exactly how to handle being in front coming down the stretch by finishing the tournament with five consecutive birdies to secure a three-shot win.

The next time you’re putting together the round (or rounds) of your life, keep these things in mind to prevent things from falling apart down the stretch:

• Immerse yourself in the task at hand, and the task at hand in golf is always your next shot. You’re wasting time and energy thinking about any shot other than the one you’re about to hit. Do this effectively and next thing you know, you’ll look up on the 18th green and they’ll be bringing you the trophy.

• Manage your aggressiveness. Coming down the stretch with a lead in golf can be nerve racking. Nervous energy can trick players into being too aggressive, or back them into being too passive. By staying in the present, you will be able to assess the correct amount of aggressiveness each shot will require. For example, needing a par on the last hole to win a tournament requires a different level of aggressiveness than needing a birdie to win.

• Make confident golf swings. While it’s easier said than done maybe, use Henley’s swing as an example. Once his pre-shot routine is complete, he wastes little time in making his swing. Make the commitment to the shot you’ve decided to hit and execute. Second guessing will drain confidence from any golf swing, so make sure you’re standing over the ball knowing exactly what you want to do.

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