Scoring low comes from being solid in ALL parts of your game.
- Driving and tee-shots
- High to mid-irons
- Long-irons and fairway-woods
- Chips, pitches and bunker-play
It is very rare to be “firing” in all parts of your game; if you are solid in each part and have no disaster holes you are going to be close to your handicap. You can be lacking in one part and still break your handicap, and on those days where your standard in all parts (relative to your handicap) is high, you go low – and that’s a beautiful thing.
I’m inspired to write to you today, as I have experienced what I’m talking about, first-hand, over the past month.
There are tips in this lesson that may help your game right away – or – they may start to work in half a dozen or a dozen games from now; no one is control of when you see results…keep your head up, keep working, and you will improve.
After 6 months of playing casual golf – plus some range work (but no competition golf), I have now completed 8 competition rounds over the 5 weeks (no physical practice outside of competitions over the past month).
It has taken a little while to get: each part of my game, my course management, and a host of other things “humming” so I’m back shooting around par.
After a few rounds in the high 70’s and a couple in the 80’s (yep, I was experimenting with a different putting-routine) I have come back to some solid scoring. Last 3 rounds have been: 75, 74 and 72.
(Remember in those rounds where you have had some bad holes and have scored poorly, keep trying – as you can be just one shot away from uncovering a key that can transform that “part” of your game for the next string of rounds you play; this is what happened to me. Never give up, play hard – until the last putt hits the bottom of the cup on the 18th green…you will be rewarded if you always play with this type of attitude).
Proof: yesterday’s 72 came after my worse start in all 8 of those rounds!…Bogey, bogey on two easy opening par 4’s. I sensed, after not sleeping much the night before, and generally being a little tense and fast (with thoughts and lack of patience) that I was not relaxed enough to play decent golf. Golf will find you out if you are: too fast, anxious or unfocused.
But, as one starts to put together some solid shots and walks the course with all the time in-between shots, a calmer state materializes; this happened to me yesterday.
With an improved chipping game, I “popped one in” on the 4th hole for a birdie to go back to + 1 (I also got up-and-down on the ninth with a chip that was just as good). I couldn’t quite get the club selection right on the front 9, but +1 was okay (it is a short, tight nine; danger and opportunities abound).
The second nine is longer and harder. After struggling through the 10th hole, a couple of good shots where struck on the 11th. And looking back now, on the holes from 11 to 16, a certain: short, fit, unattached, golfing, Internet-business-obsessed guy, snuck quietly into the “holiest of places for golfers – the zone”.
Your Time In The Zone Commences, Now…
On 8 and 9 my shots where sharp, but approaches finished long both times (this, after being short a few times; the wind was hard to pick).
I could not hit a better drive on 12, followed by an 9 out of 10, 120 meter wedge to 12 feet, followed by a perfect putt (it was 3 from 3 on that hole for near perfect shots, NOT an every-round occurrence).
Pars on 13 and 14 gave way to another one of those holes where one is relaxed, confident and technically right-on…Drive, 3-wood, pitch, putt = birdie. All is good with the World.
A good 4-iron in to 16 and then two putts left me on 1 under for the day and 3 under for the last 13 holes.
Now, I tightened a little, I had exited the Zone – sadly. (Note, I never think about being in the zone when I’m playing, it is only after (now) that you can look down and see how the entire game transpired.)
I didn’t go through my pre-shot-routine as well as I could have and rushed the drive off 17.
Tip for you when you are in a similar situation: I probably got into “preserve-a-good-round-mode” – symptoms include rushing or taking too long before shots (both are no good, stick to your normal routines). I thought a bit too much about a position up the top of my swing before the 17th and lost the feel for the drive: the vision, the feeling of what swing I was going to make before I made it.
Take 15 seconds off, close your eyes and focus on breathing. Finish the entire 15 seconds; this automatically stops your mind from racing and you will feel more relaxed when your open your eyes. Now, pick your shot and execute.
“Keep seeing, feeling and going for your shots when you are under pressure; use the pressure (energy) to go lower.”
Bogey was the result on 17. I then found myself – after a couple of not-so-good shots on 18 – with a curling putt from 12 feet to avoid a bogey bogey finish (a sad end to such good play).
I did my “homework” on the putt, my routine was metronomic, no extra peeps or time taken; eyes came back to the ball and I putted…the stroke was not fast or slow, it was not interfered with; I can’t recall anything from the last look to when the ball was in its last 2 feet on its path to the hole.
I was physically there putting, but my mind was not there…I wasn’t interfering in the putt…I was on autopilot.
It was a “zoned-in putt” in the midst of two ordinary holes. Walking onto the green I was not confident of holing the putt, and statistics would show that any good player would miss it more than they would make it.
The only thing I can put making this putt down to is R for Routine. Remember that poor drive off 17 and my bogeys on the opening holes? I was rushing, I was “high”, and I wasn’t carrying out the routine properly. The putt on 18 – as I described – was perfect, I “gave in”; I wasn’t fast or slow, I picked my line and speed and “gave in” to my unconscious habits. It was unconscious, because, like I said, I cannot remember the putt (writing this less than 24 hours after). What I can remember is the ball curling in towards the centre of the hole over its last two feet.
As the ball went in I let out a roar accompanied by an energetic fist pump and enthusiastic (bordering on assault) shaking of my playing partners hands; an inspiring end to a fantastic day on the course.
I realized, as I trudged up the long path to the clubhouse, we do not get these feelings or rise to such levels when we are not playing competition golf.
One can’t teach, coach or publish information on “scoring better at golf” (with each round including such emotions, trials and triumphs as described) if one is not playing the game on a weekly basis – and preferably – in competitions.
This why I have to keep sharp, this is why I am committed to serving you – my reader, and committed to my own journey – playing and improving at this great game. I hope my work and tips help you on your quest to improve and enjoy this great game.
Resources to Help You Further
Putting – The Truth About Putting (Videos, eBook, eLessons), join the growing number of success stories
Build a Better Shortgame
In that even par 72, I got up and down 3 times, and another time, I made a chip! (That is a 4 shot saving.)
After you get into better setup positions with chips, pitches and bunker shots – to go with the correct mental keys, you can consistently get up-and-down from anywhere – and be confident doing it. I run through the whole shortgame in my Build a Better Shortgame, Training Program, here.
The Automatic Golf System and The Magic Move Golf Swing Course will help you master the magic-move from the top of the swing (most important move in the golf swing) and help you create a free-flowing swing that is created out of: thinking, seeing, feeling, swinging and then reviewing (it gives you the process that all excellent players use to create good shots and swings – time after time (it has never really been explained – till now).