Saving Strokes on the Golf Course

Everyone looks for places to save stokes on the golf course. It is natural to want lower scores at the end of the round. Unfortunately, if we are not paying attention to the opportunities when the arise, then it is an opportunity missed. Right now, most of you are shaking your head and looking back to your last round just realizing that a couple of missed opportunities. Yet, as I reminisce on my last round, I think of the moments when my poor decision cost me strokes. So, I ask you: is saving strokes on the golf course about missed opportunities or making your own opportunities?

Personally, I am in the second camp. There are lucky bounces from time to time that offer unforeseen changes to lower your score, but those are few and far between. As I loop the course, if find my play can create the changes for saving strokes. The trick is to identify and take advantage of the situation when it happens.

On my last round, I was playing the uphill par 5 at Osprey Links Golf Course. This hole is a challenge because although it is only 485 yards, the risk / reward is very high. One poor shot and my chances at par turn into a bogey or worse. Off the tee, my ball left and longer than anticipated. I was on the 14th fairway, but in good shape. My shot as to punch out to the right and be about 250 yards from the green (which brings par into question) or go over the trees to about 100 yards (bringing birdie into play).  I decided to take the more risky shot and go over the trees to about 100 yards. After two putts, I walked away with a tap in par.

The sand traps at my home course are soaked and hard packed. The weather prevented the grounds crew from working on them, so playing out of the trap is challenging. My shot entailed hitting the ball off a hard-pan lie. My normal blast shot out of the sand will definitely not work. So now is the opportunity to hit a different club to make a bad situation better. I grabbed my gap wedge, played the ball forward in my stance and picked the ball off the sand. The less amount of sand the after my shot the better. My ball popped out and stopped within a reasonable putting distance.

There are many ways to save strokes on the golf course. The important part is to identify the opportunities and to take advantage of them to lower our golf score. I am not talking about high risk/reward shots, but making the right shot at the right time. This skill comes with experience, but it is something that I continue to hone.

Do you take advantage of opportunities when they arrive on the golf course?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


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