No one wants to get a blister. And no one wants a blister that knocks them out of contention for a win or a title. In most cases, those getting blisters are runners, hikers, adventure racers, ultrarunners, walkers—those we think of who doing action sports or extreme sports. Do golfers fit that definition? I’d bet many of you would say no.
So meet Pablo Larrazabal, a golfer playing in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. Temperatures were hot. 104 degrees in the first round. He took the lead in round one, and by the end of round three, he was 11 under par for a three-shot lead going into the final round. He tolerated the heat well.
But he had a problem. His golf shoes didn’t fit his feet. After three days of golf, he had a huge blister on the big toe of his right foot. If you have ever played golf, you know how important your feet are. They are the platform for your swing, and especially the ability to put power in your swing.
Pablo said, “I couldn’t put my shoe on. I couldn’t walk to the car. I couldn’t go to the putting green.” He even said he had blisters everywhere. But he fought his way through the first nine holes, going from 11 under par to only five under par. Instead of leading by three, he fell two behind.
Then he had a talk with himself. He told himself he could play through the blisters.
With two holes to play, he worked his way back into a tie for the lead. With some magical playing, he proceeded to power through holes 17 and 18 and win the championship. He preserved through the blisters and some poor play in the first nine holes for his first win in four years.
I could not find any story of what Pablo did to his blisters or how bad they were.
In the end, he did not comment on his poor choice in footwear or his poor foot care. One commentator suggested that he might want to make sure he finds golf shoes that fit.
I’ve heard that before. I’ve also made that suggestion to many athletes. Unfortunately, some don’t listen. They love their favorite shoes, their favorite brand, and favorite socks—even if they’re not working.
Smart athletes often carry a spare pair of shoes in their gear. And extra socks.
Smart athletes learn how to do blister care—and have the necessary supplies that work for their feet.
I know some of you say you never get blisters. My response to that statement is to be prepared anyway. It’s better to be prepared than to suffer.