What Does It Take To Be A Scratch Golfer?

My goal to be a scratch golfer will always be at the forefront of my golfing goals. I believe that I need a vision for my future golf game to lower my handicap. On a side note, if you are wondering “A vision is a vivid mental image of what you want your business to be at some point in the future, based on your goals and aspirations.” (Queensland Government) This definition really sums up where I want to go, but how exactly do I get there? Is there a magical process to follow to make my vision come true? What does it take go be a scratch golfer?

Believe me I have researched this topic for quite some time. I have watched many experts claim that they have the solution, yet I am still hovering around a 4.0 index. I know that life events has put up road blocks, but that can be used as an excuse for not moving forward. So, I am going to discard that baggage right now.

Of the many videos I have watched over the years, the video I can relate to the most is by Todd Kolb, Top Golf Digest Instructor. He outlines that swing technique is not the primary focus, but the approach to the game is what really matters. Here is what he had to say:

If you decided not to watch the informative 10 minute video, here is a summary of what he said for a US GOlf TV article:

  • Focus on landing your chip shots about 7 feet from the cup.
  • Make sure you’re driving at least 250 yards if you’re a male golfer (a little less if you’re on the senior tee, a little more if you’re on the back tee). Women golfers should be driving around 225 yards.
  • Improve your strategy so you can better calculate risks and rewards in any scenario.
  • Practice lag putting with a focus on controlling speed.
  • Be patient and understand that every round of golf has its ups and downs. No single bad shot defines the entire day.
  • Decide what you want to focus on today and approach the first tee with total clarity.

The video really hit home and his points speak volumes on my vision and what I should focus on to move towards my goal of being a scratch golfer. However, I believe that he (and many others who have the ideal solution) is that it takes a great deal of practice, time, and dedication to master the above skills. It takes a tenacity of focus to make minor improvements at the lower handicap range. A golfer really has to be dedicated to their game to succeed.

This meme was the inspiration for today’s article.

I have to be willing to work smarter and in some cases longer to be a better player. Until I decide to make that commitment, my view of my future golf game will not change.

Actually deciding to become a scratch golfer is important to achieving my vision for the future. I can make all kinds of promises and convince myself that I am on the right track, but until I actually start doing something different, focused, and sustainable, nothing is going to change. So, the answer to my original question of what does it take to be a scratch golfer. My answer is going the extra mile!

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

6 thoughts on “What Does It Take To Be A Scratch Golfer?

    • Pete,

      That is too bad. At this time I still have snow in my front and back yard. We still have a solid two weeks before even thinking about playing. However, we are on lock down as well. So, we are on a wait and see before things change.

      Cheers Jim


  1. Jim, Kevin brings up a great point. What is the true definition of scratch? Much can depend on the set you play from. Two years ago, I was playing to a 4 and I joined my current club which is a much tougher course than what I was used to playing. I also took instruction on all facets of my game which has made me a better player. My index has gone up to 5.5. Last year I entered my first senior club championship at one of the local public courses. I usually play the blue tees there at 6,700 yards and it’s a good test. During the tournament, we moved up to a combo of the whites/senior tees which was playing around 6,000 yards. I found the course MUCH easier. Was hitting pitching wedges into holes where I used to be hitting 4-irons and my tee shots were well in advance of most of the other seniors.

    This February, we played that Ryder Cup style tournament at Barefoot in Myrtle Beach. I used to play those courses from the blue tees, but in this tournament, we played the whites. Again, much easier on the game.

    So how do you truly measure a scratch?



    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian,

      I try to stick to the handicap index and course rating to be a scratch golfer. On my home course, I would have to average 69 to be a scratch golfer from the white tees. That is very unlikely at this time.

      I would consistently like to shoot par +- a few strokes and then I would consider myself a scratch golfer. Its the below par that is the challenge.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve built yourself a training area in your basement this winter. You aren’t doing what you’ve always been doing. I predict good things for your future game.

    As to moving forward, have you considered getting a pro to look at your swing via video? I believe it’s the Golf Channel that offers that service. You send in a video and a pro instructor sends you feedback. I don’t know what it costs and I don’t think it’s worth as much as having a pro really at your side, but I think it might be something useful to do while we wait for the virus to abate. Something like that might help guide our practice to what might be most helpful to our swings.

    Oh, and this might cheer you up. Another way to look at it is, if you’re a 4 from the whites, you’re probably already scratch from the reds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      I have not considered a video swing analysis by a pro. Something to think about for sure.

      Thanks for the uplifting statement. I am actually going to play from the reds this summer (when the courses open) and we shall see what happens.

      Cheers Jim


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