Shooting Low Scores in Golf

I wish I had a magic formula that I could use to ensure that I always shot low golf scores. The fact that I don’t is nothing that causes worry, however only if wishing made it true. I asked the question about your lowest scores ever and I received many awesome responses. I want to thank everyone who took the time to write their score and location because it helps me pass the long hours of my off-season.

It is amazing that about 80% of the respondents shot a personal best in the 60s and 70s. One person question the validity of my results, but I mentioned that this is not a random sample group. This is a focused question asked to many keen, avid golfers. So, the results are in line with my thinking. Now, if I suggested that my results applies to golfing world, then the persons comments would have validity, but I am not.

Shooting a personal best is always fun. Successfully swinging away with no worries is almost spiritual – we are in another plane of existence. Unfortunately, I had several players offer up the biggest road block to low scores……watching their scorecard!

Scorecard watching is a mental challenge that afflicts all golfers.

Yup, this is a dreaded practice that costs many a player low scores. Periodically, I am caught by this menace and fall into its trap. The spiral into poorer results starts around the 14th hole when I realize that I am having an awesome round. When this happens, my mental toughness starts to waver; then my confidence is questioned; then I hope something poor does not happen instead of focusing on playing well. I start to play not to lose.

My most recent case happened when I was standing on the 18th tee with a 1 under score. I had played well during the round and unfortunately started to watch my score card on the par 3 15th hole. After bogeying 15 to sit at 1 under, my mental thought process shifted from what I can do right to what I did not want to happen. And it all came to a head on the 18th tee.

This hole is a short par 4 with a dog-leg left shape. The dead zone is in the trees on the left because I would have an impossible shot to the green. Well, guess where my ball landed, yup blocked out by the trees. So, I decided to play it smart and chip up to the middle of the fairway at about 60 yards and let my short game carry me to an under par score.

My chip out was not bad and I had 75 yards to the pin. Selecting my sand wedge (which is the perfect full swing club), my mental thoughts were not to be short. And again, my mental thoughts won out and I was 5 yards short with a difficult next shot over some rocks. After chipping 12 feet from the pin, I was lying 4 and feeling a sense of great disappointment. And dopey me, I let my emotions take over and after a smooth 2 putt, I walked off the green with a score of 1 over. Talk about being deflated!

All of my woes started when I began thinking about my score and what I needed not to do to be successful. This is exactly the wrong approach for my game. I should have continued thinking about what I was doing right, forget the score, and just play in the moment. Unfortunately, this golf lesson is one that I learned over and over again from time to time.

Moving forward, my advice to you (and to myself) is to stay focused on the moment; play each shot with a positive attitude; and forget the score. It is a negative trap that will lure you away from what you are doing right.

Has scorecard watching ever cost you a great golf score?

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

4 thoughts on “Shooting Low Scores in Golf

  1. Well, I missed that tweet. I shot a 58 once years ago. Of course, that was on a par 3 course. lol 71 is now my personal best. And I learned not to watch my card at all. I don’t record my scores for the first nine until the turn, and I don’t record the back nine until I’m done. That helps a little bit. I do write some notes down along the way though. Things like MFL for missed fairway left, or LU100 for laid up to 100 yards, and 1P for one putt so I can record the game properly in the handicap system later. I do that between holes and that’s all I allow myself to think about the last hole before teeing off again. That has helped a lot. Another thing was never to count the number of birdies or pars in a row I’ve shot. If I think about it, I’m doomed so I don’t want to know. I just want to do whatever I can to think only about the next shot. What’s past needs to stay there. Good or bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kevin

      You offer some great advice about recording stats and not the score. I do both at each tee box. I helps me see areas needing attention. Unfortunately, trying to make an immediate change is difficult as I am not a believer in playing with my swing during a round. I do it sometimes, but generally I play out the round and then analyze.

      Cheers Jim


      • I like to use the course as a range and I practice my game there more often than I practice at the range. It can make for some really bad scores, but if I’m working on something I’m not there for a score so that doesn’t matter. Since playing alone is very easy to do here I can take all the time I want and hit the same shot over and over if I feel the need. On the range it’s sometimes harder to practice under conditions that mimic a real game too. It really depends on what I’m working on as to which I think is best. Sometimes repeating over and over is what I need and the range is perfect for that, but others the course is superior. I don’t have to imagine targets, just choose them.

        But what I wrote in the post above is what I do when I’m tracking my score. That’s when I want to do everything I can to stay in the moment.

        Liked by 1 person

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