Improving Your Score by Ten Shots

Posted on January 22nd, 2018 by Herb Rubenstein

Willie Park, Junior, author of the 1896 book, The Game of Golf, says that most golfer who do not score well score badly NOT because they are bad golfers on most holes.  He says they (MEANING YOU) most golfers actually play most holes well, but you have a few holes where you hit the ball “where it has no business going” and score a high number, thus ruining your overall score.

Phil Moore, in his book, The Mad Science of Golf, actually has a cure for this, and this cure is often taught y PGA Pro Peter Gyscek, the men’s and women’s golf coach at Washington and Lee University.  He taught it to me and then I read it in Phil Moore’s book.

Park says that one of the worst things a golfer can do is “add pressure” or try to use extra force to hit a golf ball.  We all do it.  Swing for the fences is a common phrase in golf, but in golf, when you hit it over the fence, that is OB, two stroke penalty, and you are looking at double or triple bogey.  Golf is not baseball.  Don’t swing for the fences.  Park says golf is a game of “science and skill,” and he is right.

Moore has figured it out.  First, improve your average shot.  Measure the quality of the shot by how far in distance and direction it ends up from the hole, (which you can do on a golf course or in a simulator indoors).  But also, especially if you are on a golf course, calculate whether where your ends up in a place that “punishes you,” which means in or behind a hazard, tree, or other problem the golf architect put on the course, just for you.  Shots that “punish you” contribute to an avoidable, unwanted high score on the hole.

Once you have improved your average drive (or any shot through lessons, diligent practice, keeping a record of the improvement, etc., then maybe your average drive is now 240 yards and ten yards off line.  Now you have something to work with to play great golf.

The lesson is – do not try to hit a great drive, or even try to hit a great approach shot, or even a great chip. Do not try to draw the ball on a drive to get it around the dogleg left  if your normal shot is a fade.  Do not go after a back pin even with a wedge if your average wedge shot is plus or minus ten yards from your target distance.

Trying to hit your average shot let you not even think much about the shot,  Just get up there, line up the drive so that it will not end up close to a hazard if you hit your average drive, and take a relaxed swing and bingo.  Play your wedge away from the edges of the green, regardless of where the pin is, unless your average wedge is usually five yards or less from your exact target.

If you hit 14 average drives in a round, you will be in a great position to score well, and if you two putt most of the greens, make a few good putts, hit a few good chips and a lot of good approach shots, the lowest you might be able to shoot is possibly 68 to 70.  If you hit 10 great drives and four bad drives, especially if they are wild left or right, you will probably make at least four double bogeys and the lowest you can shoot then is 80. Four shots which are not average can cost you 10 shots over 18 holes.

Now, you might think this blog entry is a mental tip to improve your game.  It is, but it is also a swing tip.  Improve your average shot, in every area of the game, and go out and hit your average shots and your score will be closer to 70 than 80, and your swing will be more reliable than ever.  Using an indoor simulator is a great place to hone your “average” shot and really figure out “what it is (distance and direction wise relative to the target).  Record the “distance from the hole with every club and every shot indoors, and if  you can, even on the course.  Use this statistic (yards long or short of target distance and yards left or right of target direction) and when you improve these stats, your score will improve, and golf will become a lot easier than trying to hit the type of heroic shots that sometimes pay off with a birdie or eagle or saving par, but way too often lead to bogeys, doubles, triples and snowmen.

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