The reliance on electronic measuring devices has exploded over the past 5 years. Virtually every serious golfer has at least one device they carry during each round. Personally, I use a Garmin Approach 6 because of the versatility it offers when playing new courses. On my home course, I do not use my electronic measuring device all the time because I know the distance to the center of the green from most locations.
Now just suppose what would happen if your GPS dies on the golf course at a critical time. Would most players panic or pull out another device. This is a question I posed a couple of days back and I think you would surprised at the answer!
I asked this question on several social mediums and the results were identical. Here is what everyone said they would do:
Interesting that an overwhelming number of golfers said that they would finish their round playing old school. Yet, I am not convinced most actually know what it means to play without electronic assistance.
Playing old school is not overly difficult for me because that is how I was taught to play golf. Over the years, however, I have come to realize that playing old school is slightly more complicated than just pacing of yardage. It involves many other aspects of the course that must be considered before making a shot.
When playing old school, the following are things I consider during my preshot routine and club selection.
- I pace off the distance to the nearest marker. Keep in mind that it is important to judge the angle of approach. If the green is on the same side of the hole as my ball, the distance may be closer than the actual maker.
- I account for the wind by looking at the flag and more importantly, the tops of the trees. The tops of the trees never lie about the wind condition.
- Judging pin location on the green can be difficult. At my course at Osprey Links, they use different colored flags to indicate front, middle or back pin locations. I also use large visual cues like sand traps and grassy knolls and their relation to the pin to determine the exact pin location.
- I play to approach distances more regularly. My course management when playing old school is designed to maximize my skills more when dealing with the unknowns of a new course.
- I take more time to breathe and enjoy my surroundings. I relish playing golf while totally immersed in my round. I seem to be disconnected from my zen when using a GPS sometimes.
That is what I think playing old school is all about. Electronic devices have their place in modern golf and they are here to stay. However, knowing how to play old school may someday save you when your GPS dies at the most inopportune time!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!