Recently, Craig, and old golfing friend ask me how to manage a round of golf when we are not playing well. This is a great question; on that many amateurs contend with on a routine basis. Thanks Craig, I am grateful for your ask.
Craig is absolutely right that managing our golf game is easy when playing well. Everything seems effortless including our swing and shot decisions. These are the games we enjoy the most and generally are the ones we remember when recounting a golf story. However, when we are fighting our game, managing a round is very difficult.
Craig’s course management question is both easy and difficult. Depending on the struggles of the day, the solution might be unattainable. However, I do have some standard practices that have proven successful over the years. They work for my game and maybe they will work for yours.
- Club up with my short irons. If I am struggling in my round, I make the conscious decision to club up. Where I would normally hit an 8 iron, I hit a 7. By clubbing up, I force myself to swing slower and easier. This generally results in better ball control because I complete all my swing movements.
- Forget The Pin. On approach shots, I forget about shooting for the pin. On approach, I aim for the fat part of the green and the safe shot. Sometimes this leaves me with a longer putt, but I will accept that when struggling with my swing.
- Club down with my long irons. This is opposite to my first suggestion. Clubbing down with my long irons and woods I am able to keep the ball in play. Lets face it, I cannot score well if my ball is not in play. By hitting the ball under control, I can reverse the fortunes of a poor round.
- Change golf balls. Yup, this sounds crazy, but I switch golf balls. I pick out ball I found and hack away. I like using distance balls at this time and as such I do not lose that much distance with my shots. There is no scientific basis for this suggestion, but it is a superstition of mine that seems to work. Common on, we all have them….admit it!
- Forget the score. By forgetting the score, I stop score watching and this removes extra pressure off my game. Not worrying about my score will reduce my chances of taking unnecessary risks. I will not try to make the low percentage shot, but play the smart shot far more often. Eventually, these smart decisions reflect on the score card.
So there you have it Craig, these 5 tips work for me. I think I used them in the many rounds we played together a few years back, but never thought about why. I hope they are helpful and please drop me a line and let me know if any of them worked for you.
Everyone else, do you have something that will help Craig out?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!