Notes From a Round – 3/8/22

Once your golfing skills get under control, that is, you have a reasonable expectation that the shot will come off like you wanted it to, what keeps your score higher than it should be is poor decision-making.

Yesterday I played nine holes and lost five strokes that I shouldn’t have. Two were from shots I absolutely skanked, which happens. But three were from not thinking things through.

Par 4, 413 yards, right-angled dogleg right. My tee shot ended up in the corner with no real shot toward the green. So I took out my 6-iron and set up to hit a fade around the corner at least get me back in the fairway and somewhat closer to the green. Except the fade didn’t come off. The ball went dead straight and sailed out of bounds.

I dropped a ball at the same spot, hit a 8-iron, and from there a 6-iron got the ball on the green for two putts and a 7 that would have been a 5 if I had used my head.

Here’s the rule, then. If, from the fairway, it will take more than one stroke to get the ball on the green, what is the easiest combination of shots that will do the job?

Two holes later, my tee shot on a par 3 ended up about two feet short of the green, on a very tight lie. The pin was about 40 feet away.

I like to chip from off the green. I hardly ever use my putter. So instead of using my putter, I went to my habit and tried to chip with a sand wedge. As I was standing over the ball, I couldn’t quite feel good about what I was about to do. Sure enough, I didn’t get the contact to spin the ball enough, and it rolled about twelve feet past the hole.

Two putts later I had a 4 when an easy 3 had almost been handed to me.

Here’s the rule. If you don’t feel confident about the shot you’re about to hit, stop and try one you feel good about.

So there you have it. Golf is a game you play. Shot-making skills are tools you develop at the range. The course is where you learn which ones to use to shoot low scores.

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