Thursday, October 13, 2011

GOLF SWING OVERHAUL: Lower Your Scores. Leave Your Ego Home. Manage Each Round With a Deliberate Plan

A non-golfing scientist once looked at a golf course and remarked. . .”Obviously the object is to keep the ball on the shortest grass possible. . .”  I will go for weeks without playing.  Right now I’m finishing up 3 books.  Then I go play a round and score a 74.  My playing partners play at least twice a week.  They don’t exactly shun me. . .but the mood gets cool in the clubhouse over a beer after 18 holes.
I can understand the macho element of golf.  There are guys who want to hit driver 400 yards.  They drive par 4s.  Then 3 putt. . .or worse.  I hit my driver about 260 now.  I can hit it farther. . .even at 77.  But if you do the math. . .most of the holes are par 4s that average around 400 yards.  On a few holes. . .I may want to hit an iron. . .simply to keep the ball in play.  Some holes you play for a bogey.  What!  That’s right.  There are two courses here in the greater Vancouver, WA area that have a par 4 that I deliberately play to score a bogey 5.  Why?  Because of the way it’s laid out. . .at about 250 yards off the tee. . .they narrow considerably as they dog leg to the left.  One hole is 365 yards. . .and the other is 410.  I hit short of the dog leg on both holes.  If I hit it to the left side. . .sometimes I have to go over the trees with a 5 or 6 iron.  Which is not that difficult a shot.  You can see the hole through the trees. . .so alignment isn’t a big deal.  But if you hit it through the dog leg. . .to the right. . .which many of my playing partners consistently do. . .now you have an almost certain bogey. . .or worse.

You can’t hit the ball over the trees. . .because you’re in the trees.  You have to waste a shot by pitching out to the fairway.  Now you’re hitting 3.  Each of the holes is well bunkered.  Both sides. . .and a long thin one on the back.  I’ve seen my playing partners. . .all play under a 12 handicap. . .take 6 and even 7 on these holes.  I don’t try for the green. . .from behind the trees. . .but deliberately hit short to set up my third shot.  Then I plan on two putting for 5.  I’ve parred the hole several times. . .but that wasn’t how I deliberately played the hole.  I simply made a putt for par.

I’ve played lots of golf with people who have to hit every shot as hard as they can. . .except their putts. . .which are almost always short.  Strange.  I crush my putts. . .trying to hit them 4 or 5 feet past the hole.  Yet I have no problem at all playing short on the fairway.  The grip it and rip it bunch get their joy out of crushing a drive.  I get mine out of the final score.  I get mine my how well I navigate the round.  To me. . .it’s all about scoring as low as I can.  I ask myself. . . what is the best way to play this hole?. . .before ever selecting a club.