My first 18 where I had to turn in the score, I mean. That changes everything. No more do-overs, no more experiments. Straight golf. It wasn’t pretty. I shot an 86, and looking over the round, without much effort and a bit of clearer thinking, it could have been a 79.
Here’s how I broke it down. Skanked my drive (skanked, not shanked) on the first tee and tried to get to the green with a 4-iron. The trouble is, a creek runs across the fairway about 30 yards in front of the green. If you skank your 4-iron, you won’t clear the creek. I did, and the ball didn’t. From bad to worse gave me a triple on the first hole. A layup second would have given me an easy bogey.
I settled down and played the next six holes in two over, but on the eighth I made the classic double bogey: three shots on and a three-putt. The problem? I got too cute on the 35-yard chip and the ball checked up way too soon.
A swing flaw resulted in five topped irons overall, one of which went into a water hazard, and three others turned easy pars into unnecessary bogeys.
Throw away all the stats you keep about fairways hit, GIR, number of putts, and all that. Just go over your round and see where you lost strokes. If it’s bad thinking, note what it was and don’t make that error in judgement again. If there’s a swing flaw, fix it.
Most of the time you’ll find your errors came because your head wasn’t in the shot and your skills were thus prevented from coming out. When you learn to play with a calm mind that is clearly in tune with what you’re doing, you won’t dribble away shots that you know should be yours to keep. In the meantime,