I think we all can relate to the scenario of when a good hole goes bad. It begins with a fabulous drive that impresses everyone around the tee box. The second shot sails and lands less than 10 feet from the green, leaving just a chip and a putt. So far so good.

Sometimes though, even the best of us hit rough waters when we approach the green. That’s because greens are tricky. Greens require concentration and skill. It takes hours of chipping and putting to fine-tune our short games.

My dad likes to remind me of this each time we play. He tells me, “You can’t ignore the greens. They’ll give you glory or eat you alive, and it’s up to you to practice so you know what you’re doing when you get there.”

When he tells me this, I know he’s right. I’ve known he was right, in fact, since I was 9 years old and he first introduced me to the putting green. I thought to learn to golf took place exclusively on the driving range; my dad insisted that shots around the green were equally, if not more important, than the heavy hitting drives and fairway shots. My dad’s motto has always been that the green is where everything comes together… or falls apart.

Success is rarely a one-shot deal—it’s comprised of many elements that must come together in order for us to achieve the goal we’re shooting for. That means devoting time and attention to each of the elements. On the golf course, this means mastering a variety of clubs and shots that take us from the tee to the green. Every shot counts, especially those chips and putts at the close of each hole.

Every shot counts in life too, and we must work until the end so that our goals happen. Let’s say success in school is the goal. Studying for half our exams isn’t going to do the trick if we’re looking to get a decent GPA. Whether it’s sports, school, relationships, or employment, the fact remains that success in any of these areas calls for us to quite simply put the work in. If we do this, we’ll ultimately end up successful and proud that we gave it our all until that very last putt.