Off the tee she hit a drive through the fairway, it kicks off the cart path and bounces back towards the fairway but about a foot from the cart path and in need of a drop.
She goes through the routine to find the nearest point of relief, places a tee in the ground, and makes her drop.
Her ball bounces and rolls down the hill.
Jaclyn looks around and I call tell she is in serious thought. I’m thinking to myself, ‘Did her ball move closer to the hole? Did it roll outside of the club length she was given to take her drop?’
She looks upset and I think I know why.
Jaclyn proceeds to go through her pre-shot routine and hits a shot that ends up on the front right of the green about 30 yards from the hole with a difficult pitch shot towards the pin.
After she walks away, I walk over to where she just hit her shot from and my thoughts were confirmed.
Her ball had come to rest in an old divot. She had free relief and she had just dropped her ball into a sand-filled divot.
Fast Forward 3 hours later. We are leaving the evening participant event and I brought up to Jaclyn I only wanted to talk to her about one shot, the one after her free drop on the 7th Hole from the fairway.
So, I asked her what happened when she took the drop from the cart path.
She looked puzzled towards me.
I told her it looked like she was distressed.
She said, “It came to rest in an old divot.”
I asked her if her ball had rolled forward on the drop and she stated, ‘it definitely did not.’
Hence, her drop was proper and the ball in play….
At this moment, Jaclyn had a decision to make.
No one saw what happened but her and I. No one in her group saw her even take the drop.
It would’ve been easy for her to pick up the ball and re-drop, claiming it moved forward, but she didn’t. She dealt with the misfortune, played by the rules, and showed huge amounts of integrity for the game.
THIS is why we do what we do.
THIS is why we teach the Nine Core Values.
THIS is why we teach the Par Level Curriculum lesson on Respecting the Rules.
THIS is why we do exercises in the Birdie Level Curriculum on Dealing with Challenges.
Jaclyn Kenzel may have impressed everyone with her golf skills this week, but THIS is what has impressed me.
This one decision said more about her as a human being than any shot she will hit over the next 2 days.
She is a competitor. She wants to win. She wants to be in the top 23 come Saturday night and get to walk the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links on Sunday.
But she is only willing to do it the right way, without taking shortcuts.