What is the strongest part of your golf game? Have you ever really sat down and gave this very important question any thought? Generally, we ask what is the weakest part of your game and many jump to that answer without hesitation. But, trying to ascertain the strongest part of our game is more challenging. It forces us to really examine our game and realize what we think is our strongest game is not. In case you are wondering, our strengths shift throughout the season and it is important to have a process to distinguish where to focus our practice and adjust our course management.
Before explaining my process, it is important to realize that being honest in your assessment is critical to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your game. In this case, what are your strengths and how to use them. Here is what you had to say:
Currently, the strongest part of my game is;
- Irons. Specifically, my 5 iron to pitching wedge. At this time, I am hitting them pure and to yardage. Occasionally, I have a miss hit, but not bad enough to hurt my score.
- Driver. I am hitting the fairway 80% of the time with little fear of missing. If I do miss, it is left – not sure where the draw came from, but I am liking it.
- Sand Wedge. Of all my wedges, I am hitting this short iron the most consistent. I am especially confident from 60 yards.
- Gap and Lob Wedges. I am less confident with these clubs and have a tendency to try and help the ball. As a result, I come up considerably short.
- Putter. This is the worst club in my bag. I am fighting every movement and miss reading just about everything. It has cost me many strokes over the past month!
If you would have asked me this question at the beginning or in the middle of the season, this list would look different. The strengths of my game do shift, sometimes it is because of practice and other times because of confidence. Regardless, the scale is never stagnate. So, now I bet you are wondering how I come up with this list? Well, it is pretty straight forward and I think everyone could use it.
First, I examine and track the execution of my shots over 3 rounds. Sometimes more, but the minimum is 3 rounds. I use this number to accurately assess the strengths of my game. By using a sample group of 3 games, I am able see trends and hopefully, make adjustments to head off any mini slumps.
Second, using the same 3 rounds, how is my attitude during each shot. Am I dreading the shot, do I have the can’ts in my mind, or do I avoid using a certain club all together and default to a club I am confident I can hit. This happens and it is frustrating because I am trying to manufacture a shot that I know is not the correct shot for the situation.
Last, how am I setting up my course management during a round. If I am unconsciously or consciously hitting shots to avoid using a specific club on the next shot, it tells me that the avoided club is not one of my strengths at that time. As an example, I will use a knock down pitching wedge instead of a full gap wedge. This decision has nothing to do with the better shot, but identifying a strength and a weakness.
The above 3 steps are critical to my ability to score well throughout the entire season. I continually focus on the strengths of my game and will play to those during rounds. It helps me keep most of my scores in the 70s. If I am able to apply my process properly, I can string together many low 70s scores. I have yet to break par this year (the first time in 4 years), but I am still confident I have a chance.
Do you analyse your game for its strengths throughout the year? If so, what is our system?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
Written by Jim Burton at The Grateful Golfer blog.