There is much more to scoring then hitting the ball well. A lot of scoring simply comes from game management and understanding how you can work with what you have. Read on to learn how!
1. Accepting Your Distance
I’ll ask a lot of my clients, “how far do you hit your driver?” and I am never surprised to find out that they over quote themselves by at least 20 yards. For some reason, we fall in love with the idea of hitting the ball far. We also believe that to score, we must hit the ball great distances. This isn’t the truth. Don’t get me wrong, distance can undoubtedly improve your chances of scoring, assuming you have an excellent short game, but hitting 300-yard drives isn’t necessary to post respectable scores. The first key to posting lower scores accepting how far you hit the ball. Don’t assume you will hit it on the screws every time; you won’t. Know your averages and be realistic. Managing your expectations while you play is crucial, don’t over-promise yourself.
2. Planning Your Miss
Just like understanding and accepting your distance, you have to accept that you will NEVER play a perfect round of golf. Nobody ever has. You will hit shots that don’t meet your expectations, and you have to learn to let them go. To do this, you need to learn how to plan your miss. If you were to miss your tee shot to the left, could you still get the ball on the green? If not, then you need to rethink your target off the tee. Same goes for your approach shot, where can you miss the green and still be confident that you can get up and down to save par? If you take this mindset to every shot that you hit, you’ll start to learn to think from the green, back to the tee box, instead of the other way around. Great players approach every hole they play this way. The most significant players add a little more to it; they don’t say “how can I make par” but rather “how can I make birdie.”
3. Don’t Do Too Much
Sometimes we try to do too much. You have to learn to let the game come to you, relax and enjoy it. How many times have you looked at a tucked pin behind a bunker and said, “oh, I have that shot in the bag,” you leave it short, and now you have a touchy shot to save par. Remember that there are multiple games within the game of golf. When you are trying to score on a tucked pin, understand that the approach shot isn’t the one to try to make. Why wouldn’t you hit your approach to the middle of the green and try to make the putt, ensuring that you eliminate the big number? There will be plenty of other opportunities in your round to go score. Be patient and wait for the more accessible flagsticks to get aggressive.
If you can find a way to implement these skills into your game, I promise your scores will begin to trend down. Remember that there is a lot more to a solid golf game then a good swing. Get out there and practice all aspects of the game, work through the golf course like a surgeon, planning every shot, and understanding that there are a lot of tools you can use to get the job done.