Evidence suggests that the best way to achieve a desired result is to set a specific end goal, and then commit to each required task that allows that end goal to become a reality. This could not be more relevant in the case of Kennedy Swedick, who this week will see her goal become a reality when she competes in the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National.
A mere year ago, she watched the championships on the Golf Channel and said to herself, “I would like to do that someday.” Well for most, that might seem like a pipe dream, but for this individual, it was simply a process. A process that consisted of hard work on and off the golf course and some very impressive mental tactics, which make any of her goals seem more obtainable than most.
One of the stories I like to tell when speaking of Kennedy is how she uses a perceptively complicated but ultimately simple tactic to read the greens when putting. I am a firm believer in AimPoint, which is a method used by many of the best players in the world, but also designed to make the green reading process quite simple for all golfers. Basically, instead of looking at a putt with our eyes, we use our feet as the sensory to identify the amount of slope the golf ball will roll over. Once identified, we have a specific “aim point” for which we start the putt. The process is linear, meaning we try to hit the ball on a tangent to the initial part curve. (aka, straight towards a spot and then let the slope effect the putt.) When we add the amount of side tilt to the upward or downward, we end up with a spot that takes both into account. This becomes a very accurate guess on where you should attempt to start a putt.
When explaining this process to Kennedy one day, she simplified it when she said to me: “Oh, it’s like we are plotting coordinates.” I immediately regretted not paying more attention in high school math classes. Although, I was probably speechless when she said this, my math teacher Mrs. Fallon would be proud to know that I was able to understand what Kennedy was explaining. It was simple to her; she simply found out how far right or left to aim, then how far short or long to aim, and there you have it…coordinates. She visualized an X and Y axis with the hole being in the middle. I often say that people often learn better than they are taught, and in this case, I was the one that learned a new and very effective way to explain green reading.
When I think back on that day in the Fall, it dawned on me that this wasn’t the first time that Kennedy had plotted her coordinates. When she saw the Drive, Chip and Putt championship on television last April, I am confident that she looked ahead and identified what it would take for her to be part of that event. Then, she plotted her coordinates to make it a reality. A pretty impressive feat, regardless of the fact she is 10 years old. I know that she has the belief that this event won’t be the culmination of her career, but rather just a stop on her journey. Or maybe in her terms, a calculated coordinate on her positive curve of success.