All players have a handicap which is an indicator of your playing level. I believe a lot of golfers have the wrong mentality to their tactical approach to scoring.
Case Study – 18 handicappers
An 18-handicap golfer is not expected to make pars or birdies and get on many greens in regulation.
Remember, Bogey is your friend, an occasional par and a few double bogeys are expected.
“In the 1987 Open championship, Nick Faldo parred each hole to win his first Major. Paul Azinger in
the group ahead had four birdies and 6 bogeys to eventually shoot 2 over 73 to finish Runner Up. This
is the only time a Major has been won with 18 pars and proof that pars are a Pro’s best friend in the
heat of battle.”
Many times, you will be in a situation with a 1 in 5 chance of hitting your target or getting the
distance to carry a hazard etc. These are the times when you should play the 80% shot and lay
up. Often what happens when you take on the risk, you will try too hard, don’t pull it off, rack up a
big score and this can stay with you for the rest of the round. When you play percentage golf you
can manage your emotions better and make good decisions and play to your strengths.
Play to your Strengths
If you are good with your short irons but not so much your long game, consider laying up to a
preferred yardage or consider where you can miss a target for the easiest approach shot.
If you are faced with a tough lob shot over a bunker with a 1 in 5 chance to get it to 6 feet or play a
risk-free basic chip shot with a 4 in 5 chance to get it to 15 foot which would you choose?
If you are not confident with your Driver on a tight hole, consider laying up with a fairway or hybrid
and take one more shot to get in on the green. Play for bogey and you will have an outside chance
for par. Chances are you would be happy with bogey anyway!!
Remember for most golfers’ bogey is your friend, par or birdie is a bonus and with the right
mentality and play the percentages, you will keep the bigger numbers off your card and enjoy your
golf more and improve.
The biggest mistake we all make is trying too hard to hit the perfect shot as we think the Pro’s do.
Accept no one always hits “Perfect Shots” and play for “Good Misses”
Author: Paul Skinner, Assistant Professional at Hurstville Golf