In Better Recreational Golf, I have a small essay on the chapter titled Playing the Game, called Be Your Own Caddy. The point I made was that you need to have a good reason for every shot you hit.
It has to be a shot you know you can hit, that you have confidence in, and one that leaves the ball in a good spot for the next one.
Yet, more often than not, all we think about is how to get the ball from point A to point B, without giving much thought to our selection of exactly where point B should be.
If we had a caddy with us, those two questions would be the topic of some conversation. The caddy would not be satisfied until you had good answers to both of them.
To play your best golf, you have to step into the role of your caddy and discuss things with your other self, the player self, until you both are in agreement.
Now this might not work for everyone, but I believe that if before you take a club out of the bag, you explain to yourself why you want to use this club, and what shot you’re going to hit with it, and to where, you might start thinking a little clearer about the choices you make.
You would consider the lie, the wind, the landing area, and the distance. Then you hit the shot you can hit, rather than the shot you want to hit, or would be good if it works out.
Take your salary, convert it to an hourly rate, and compute how much is costs you, at that rate, to play a round of golf. Add on a quarter of your green fees to that hourly rate, too.
Now ask yourself if you would pay a caddy that much money for the same advice you usually give to yourself. For most of us, I think we would demand a little more.
Hitting shots is only part of golf. Hitting the right shot to the right place is how you use your hard-earned skills to shoot a low score. You do that by being your own caddy.