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Golf Thoughts

The practice ground is where you learn to hit shots, but golf is about knowing which shots to hit. You shoot lower scores by playing more golf, not by hitting more buckets of balls.

Beware of tips you read in magazines. They may tell you to do something you’re already doing, and then you end up overdoing it.

The most important shot for a recreational golfer is the tee shot. You must put the ball in the fairway.

Straight shots begin with setting up with the clubface aimed at your target. This is not as easy as it sounds. Work on this or get a lesson, because if this is not right, nothing that comes after will make it right.

The easiest way to keep doubles and triples off your scorecard is by playing within your skills. If you are standing over the ball with a “funny feeling about this shot,” back off and try something else. False confidence is not your friend.

Rhythm is king. Good rhythm makes mediocre technique work. Lack of rhythm makes proper technique fall apart. When you try a swing tweak and it doesn’t work, odds are you forgot stay in rhythm.

Good shotmakers have a narrower range of dispersion than other golfers. To narrow your range, train yourself always aim at something when you hit a golf ball. That is not only a direction. There must also be a specific spot on the ground you want the ball to hit.

To get to 80, you must first have a decent swing. If your average score is 83, your swing gives you reasonable assurance that you can get the ball up to the green in the regulation number of strokes. From this point switch the majority of your practice time from the range to the practice green.

Flipping through impact, a common fault, is caused by the left arm slowing down through impact so the hands can take over hitting the ball. If you swing a wedge with your left arm only, and let the arm swing freely, you will understand the correct sensation of the club swinging instead of the hands hitting.

When hitting a short shot that has a certain amount of air time, make sure you hit the ball hard enough. You can turn a down in three (or two!) into a down in four by getting too finessy.

Out On the Course Again

I went out to play with my Men’s Club for the first time since 2014. These last few years have kept me busy with other matters.

Not having played for a long time, I wasn’t sure if anything had changed. On the first green, I asked if I had to replace my ball in front of my marker, or could I put it anywhere I want like the pros do. They said that unfortunately we have to play by the rules. Just checking.

I played OK, shot a 45, two pars and two doubles. I was really good off the tee and on the green, but in between was blotto. I had this ten-yard draw off the tee which was not the shot I wanted, but it got the ball in the fairway so I decided to go with what was working instead of trying to fix it on the fly and make it worse.

I would say I lost four strokes, potentially, by having forgotten how to play the game. You know, hit this shot instead of that one. Or use this club instead of that one. Or hit it here instead of there. Those little things that give you a real chance to get down in two from close in.

The main thing I learned is that you have to practice all your shots to keep them fresh in your mind. Several times I played a pitch near the green when a running shot would have been better. But pitches are all I have been hitting lately, not running shots, so that’s what came to mind.

The difference between 45 and 40 isn’t that great. Just keep the ball in play, which I did, and close the deal in a hurry when you get to the green, which I didn’t. (But if you’re not doing number 1, number 2 won’t help you.)


My next opus, titled, Bob’s Little Golf Book, is in editing now, and will be posted on the blog site in about three weeks. Again, it will be a multi-media extravaganza, and this time free and click-ready from the start.

I’m Taking a Break

Circumstances requiring my time and my full attention require me to take a break from weekly posting at this space for a month or so.

Don’t go away just because there’s no new content for you every Monday morning. Just work on what I’ve given you so far. That will be more than enough to keep you busy until I’m back at it.

Play well and have fun.

I’m Back

My involvement with this blog has fallen off lately. The reason is that I spent the first five weeks of the year finishing writing my next book, The Golfing Self. That wasn’t much creativity left over for this space.

But last Friday morning, I put a tweak on the one sentence that still wasn’t right, and I’m finished. I made contact with the layout artist and we will get that part of production going later this week. The book is due out in April.

So! Starting tomorrow, you’ll be getting the usual supply of insightful instructional posts that is the backbone of The Recreational Golfer. In addition, this year I want to post short comments when ever it strikes me to, so the blog will be much more active than before.

For long-time readers, who are aware of my medical issues, I want you to know I played nine from the red tees last Friday, and the Friday before that. Everything went well. I hope to playing eighteen from the whites by mid-summer.


New Year’s Resolutions

Now I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, you need to understand that right off. Why would you want to wait until the calendar changes to a new year to start doing something that you know is good for you, when you could start any time? If you know it’s right for you, do it now.

Golf is different, though. We have a season that has ended, at least for those of us who live in the cold, rainy north. It’s time to prepare for the opening of the 2011 season, which means New Year’s resolutions are OK.

The point of a resolution is to stop doing what you were doing, and start doing something else that takes you in an entirely different direction. Doing the same thing better doesn’t count. You tried all summer to do the same things better, and where did that get you?

Do something different. Do the thing(s) that you know you should be doing but haven’t had the gumption to try. Those are real resolutions.

I made my resolutions in October, and started working on them. This list includes them and a few things that have to wait for the new year.

1. Play from the red tees in January and February. The shorter course will let my hit scoring shots more often (short irons on down), and shoot better scores. The subconscious mind only knows what  you shot. It doesn’t know the difference between the red tees and the whites. Or the blues. Great for your confidence.

2. Stop playing smart golf. Play the course straight up. If a particular hole demands a shot I don’t have, learn the shot instead of always letting the hole win.

3. Play different courses to get a complete golf challenge. Being good on just one course doesn’t mean you are a complete golfer.

4. Be mentally composed before very shot. Easier said than done, but imperative for playing good golf.

5. Take my game to the course. Meaning, play the shots I want to hit rather than the shots the architect wants me to hit.

6. Look at where I’m hitting into with a clear mind so I see what is really there.

7. Take playing lessons.

Seven is enough. Doesn’t have to be ten. What are yours?