Golfers are always looking for more distance, so…

Golfers are always looking for more distance, so…

From the Rough

John Mabry writes the "From the Rough" golf column for L Magazine. Here he searches for his ball in the rough at the Highlands Golf Club.

The COVID-19 situation has not hurt golf as much as many activities. Maybe the perfect sport for social distancing.

It comes naturally for me on the course. While others walk the fairways, I like to take a different path to the green, through the woods and tall grasses and sand. Yep. Just doing my part to keep my distance.

Needing all the guidance I can get, I asked the experts for a few simple tips to help me rediscover life in the fairway.

Joseph Canny of the Lincoln City Golf Academy said the best tip he ever received came from his grandfather.

“When I started competing in the game,” Canny said, “he'd always tell me, ‘You gotta dance with the date that brought you.’ This means when it’s time to tee the ball up for a round, know where your swing is and play that shot.

“It’s about knowing who you are that day and playing the best round you can shoot any given day. Don't hyper focus on your potential or ceiling mid-round while attempting to pull shots off that you just don't have that day. It will cost you.

“Simply play the game your swing allows that day.” (Dance with the date that brought you.)

Tom Erlandson at Woodland Hills said his favorite tip came from Dick Tollette, retired master professional at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

“When playing in the wind, which happens occasionally here in Nebraska, use this tip to help with club selection,” Erlandson said. “Estimate the wind velocity. For every mile per hour of wind add a yard if playing into the wind, and subtract a yard when playing downwind. Then make your normal swing and concentrate on contact, not clubhead speed.

“The worst thing you can do, especially when playing into the wind, is to try and swing harder.”

Erlandson provided this example:

“If you are 150 yards from the hole, playing into a 25-mph wind, the shot would be effectively 175 yards. So instead of putting the ball back in your stance and trying to hit it lower (leave that to the pros on TV), just take the club you would normally hit 175 yards and swing normally.”

From Lincoln golf star Steph Kolbas, a plain and simple suggestion:

“Learn. Let go. Have fun.”

And keep your distance.

Stay safe and healthy, golf friends.

Reach John Mabry in the rough or at


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