Golf is a fun game and it can test your mental state like none other! It was not that long ago where I crushed a driver over 300 yards, and I was on top of the world. I remember my golf partner Larry stating he wished he could hit a drive that far. Larry is in his upper 50’s, and he has a slow and methodical swing. Every single ball he hit was directly down the middle of the fairway. His swing could not have been more than 80 MPH. It looked like it was half of how hard I swing the club. He would hit his drives consistently 220-235 yards every time. This hole was a par 4 – 410 yards. I had 105 yards left to go, Larry had 185 yards to go. I pulled out my “A” wedge and Larry grabbed his 5 wood. Larry took a ¾ swing and hit his ball on the green, in regulation. I nodded in appreciation of his shot. I swung a ‘full’ “A” wedge and mine went right, right into a bunker aside the green. Larry two-putted for par. I managed to get out of the sand and two-putted for bogey. Needless to say, the advantage I had off of the tee box lasted only momentarily.
While shooting Steel Challenge, there will always be someone who can shoot a particular stage a lot ‘faster’ than you can, but you can ‘beat them up the middle’ by being consistent. Go one-for-one on your string. If you can shoot Smoke and Hope in 1.85 seconds on a string and your ‘Edge’ is 1.80, get your four strings of 1.85 for a total time of 7.40 and try for a fifth and final of a 1.65 in hopes to drop your total time to a personal best of 7.20 seconds. More than likely a B or A class shooter with a same “Edge” will shoot Smoke and Hope with a first string of 1.85 seconds, a second string where they say to themselves “I can really speed up” and they have a make-up shot or two and shoot a 2.35, a third string of 2.30, just like the last. On the fourth string they decide they are going to really focus on the target and then their sights and shoot a conservative five shots and shoot a 2.10 even. Then on the fifth and final they say to themselves: “I have the fundamentals, and I am going to shoot a strong run just shy of the edge.” Then, they shoot a 1.95 just a little off their pace of their first run. Instead of a 7.20-7.40; four solid runs just shy of their “Edge” they shoot; 1.85, 2.35, 2.30, 2.10, 1.95 for a total time of = 8.20.
I had this exact conversation about Smoke and Hope with one of the best Rimfire Rifle shooters in the world after he watched (and heckled) me at a major match. Below are the exact times from the match for Smoke and Hope:
The four strings I kept were all within .04 seconds of one another or 2.3% deviation. At the time of this match, my “Edge” on this stage was 1.65, and I made sure, in my mind, I had a 5% buffer or so from my “Edge” to be consistent to get the stage win. So, how did the match end up? Although I had two malfunctions on one stage, I ended up placing 2nd place in Rimfire Rifle. I was able to win Rifle Master at this match.
Just as Larry did with me in Golf, I returned the favor to my competition out on the gun range; I beat him up the middle. Sure, shooting a 1.63 is great, but you have to be careful.. consistency will sneak up on you!
Until next time, see you out on the range soon!