Fifteen-year-old Oliver Betschart strolls down the fairway wearing a makeshift bracelet on his left wrist.
A gift from his sister, the bracelet has the words ‘Next shot’ wrapped around it. It’s the perfect piece of jewelry for a golfer to wear during a round.
“It’s just kind of a reminder to me, don’t focus on anything else except the shot that I have in the present moment,” Betschart said Wednesday. “That’s all from that, it’s just a reminder.”
Indeed, the young Bermudan will have to focus on himself and the ‘Next shot’ this week at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship, the PGA Tour event he qualified for a few weeks ago.
After all, the most important shot in golf is the next one.
“Just got to focus on myself and playing against the course, not against my competitors really,” Betschart added.
“Just playing my game, doing everything that I can. I realize that all the players out here probably outdrive me from anywhere between 70 to 30 yards, so I’ve got to apply the other strengths of my game.”
His short game is most certainly a strength, as Betschart can get up and down from anywhere. But he says his putting is his best attribute, thanks to a new putter that he switched to a few months ago.
The MYPUTTER that he has been using has lowered his scores substantially. His Swiss-made flat stick has helped him go from carding over-par scores to consistently shooting two to three-under-par.
Which helps explain why he is making his PGA Tour debut this week.
Luckily for Betschart, his introduction to pro-tournament golf comes at a place quite familiar to him, the Port Royal Golf Club on the western edge of the island.
“I‘ve played this course over thousands of times now, so I know a bit more strategy,” Betschart said. “I definitely have a bit of an advantage now, having played the course a bunch of times, and I just play my game, play how I’ve been doing now for the last few years.”
His favorite hole at Port Royal is the 3rd, a picturesque par-3 that measures only 148 yards. A pond guards the front of the green, but that never seems to bother Betschart, who recorded his first ace on this hole when he was just seven years old.
But he—or anyone this week, for that matter—will likely not have a hole-in-one at the daunting 16th hole, a beast of a par-3 along the ocean that is almost 250 yards.
“[Sixteen] is definitely the hardest hole,” the young Bermudan said. “Wind or no wind, it is very tricky from back on those tees.”
Even the world’s best players will have nerves when standing on that tee, but Betschart is not worried about what club he will hit on the 16th hole.
Not yet, at least.
“I‘m trying not to look too far ahead into the future,” Betschart said. “It’s just focusing on that first tee shot on Thursday. Just staying focused and staying in the moment.”
Staying in the moment is the hardest thing for any golfer to do, regardless of age. But thankfully for Betschart, he has a reminder on his wrist that will help calm him down and keep him focused.
The ‘Next shot’ is always the most important.