Great Shots Don’t Matter

By John Farnam

In 2016 Golfer Danny Willett became the first Briton to win the Masters in 20 years.
In 2016 Golfer Danny Willett became the first Briton to win the Masters in 20 years.
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( “Positive outcomes don’t necessarily demonstrate superior play. Superior play will lead to positive outcomes more often than will poor play, but even poor players sometimes catch lucky.

It is when you confuse catching lucky with playing well, that demons sneak in!” ~ John Vorhaus

Yesterday, I watched the final round of the four-day 2016 Masters Golf tournament in Augusta, GA.

Not being a golfer myself, I still love watching these consummate professionals play this game at the highest level. Their skill is a wonder to behold!

Jordan Spieth, last year’s winner, was the odds-on favorite, and no wonder! He was ahead of everyone else for the entire tournament. By the last nine holes of the final round, he was so far ahead, I thought, as did many, he was unbeatable!

Then, demons crept in!

And, I felt a kinship with Spieth, as he fell so suddenly, and so ignominiously, from glory, because I, and many of my instructors, have done the same thing- more that once!

The question is:

How much continuous, simultaneous bad news can you handle, and still retain your sanity? At what point do you unwittingly open the window, and let demons sneak in?

At its best, golf, like fighting, is a smooth, coordinated, orchestrated flow of events, a seamless whirlwind of motion.

That is, until you:

  1. Stray from the present tense
  2. Get distracted and allow your concentration to dissipate
  3. Start hesitating
  4. Start getting in your own way
  5. Try to alter an otherwise smooth-flowing technique right in the middle
  6. Allow doubt and vacillation to consume you
  7. Are swept-up in rapidly-compounding disasters and discover that you aren ’t recovering quickly enough!

During the final day of the tournament, there were three holes-in-one (by other contestants), and the media, of course, swooped-in to cover those. And, there were many other spectacular shots that also garnered the attention of the media. These events were as melodramatic as they were irrelevant. None of them materially affected the outcome. They never do!

Then we had the humble Englishman, Danny Willett. A great champion to be sure, or he would not have been there, but I never heard of him until yesterday!

Willett’s game was devoid of “great shots.” He played steady, careful, solid golf. However, he had no bogies either! When Spieth blundered, and the door opened, Willett gracefully walked through, and never looked back!!

And, if you’re wondering if there is a point lurking in the foregoing, it is this:

“It’s not ‘great shots’ that save you. It’s ‘little mistakes’ that kill you!”

True in fighting, as well as golf.

The Hollywood, overdramatized version of events always draws attention to occasional, glamorous (and irrelevant) “great shots.” Like the cavalry arriving in the ‘nick of time,’ great shots always save the day, and we all live happily ever after!


That manufactured nonsense only happens in movies!

When you’re making little mistakes, episodic great shots won’t save you, as we see!

So, we concentrate on correcting mistakes. It’s not glamorous, nor entertaining, nor even interesting, at least to the shallow and self-centered.

In fighting, as in golf, the wise work to eliminate “little mistakes.” The “great shots” will take care of themselves!

“Darling, my legs aren’t so beautiful. I just know what to do with them!” ~ Marlene Dietrich


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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G. Martin

Baseball analogy: The center fielder who makes the great running/diving catch didn’t plan properly and study the batter to position himself so he could make the “routine” catch like he should have!

2nd Amender

Good read……..if I may, I’d like too add…….

“Don’t worry about “shit” that didn’t happen”.