If you are a serious golfer, most of your rounds are calculated and designed to meet your strengths. I know I definitely focus my efforts on the shots I know I can make and react to situations with shots I know are the best percentage. As a lower handicapper, this approach would be considered routine. My current style of play was honed over years of playing golf with the intent of lowering my scores. Of course all my actions may have limited my game, but overall I do not think so because I feel that my overall game continues to improve. My approach does have some limitations and once my game plateaus or enters a rut, I try to shake my game up by playing golf without care in the world.
When I make the conscious effort to play without abandon, the fun begins. For a few holes I will use different clubs off the tee; then everything I normally do to make the high percentage shots has to change. I am at different distances, locations, and parts of the course I normally walk right past. Because of the greater distances, I do not always grab my long clubs and I focus on my mid irons.
For some of the holes on the same round I will swing as hard as I can with all my clubs. Even my wedges (this never works for me, but I try it anyway) get the full throttle. I will try to hit my irons 15 yards farther just because.
On a few holes I will play different tees. I will flip between the blue and gold tees to see if it makes a different in my yardages. Of course gaining 50 or so yards by hitting off the golds definitely makes the course much shorter and forces me to use irons from locations that make me think about how to play my next shot.
Lastly, I will drop a ball from different yardages without worrying about how I got to that distance. Usually, I use this time to practice my struggling approach shots, but it helps me hone my weak areas of my game. This includes dropping balls around the green to work on my wedge game. these holes are purely practice holes and the score does not matter.
I guess you are wondering why I will go through this fun process in order to improve my golf game. Well, playing this way, without any real care on the results, is just plain fun. The old saying “a change is as a good as rest” works very well for my golf game. When I feel that my game has stalled, I need to do something to shake up both my physical and mental parts of my game. Mostly, playing without any care about the score, my efforts to have fun on the course addresses my mental fatigue from always focusing on every aspect of my golf game.
There is one more point I want to add. Sometimes I will playing a bashing round of golf. This means I will hit the ball as far as I can, as often as I can. This particular game is mixed with great shots and some shots travel very far into the woods. It does matter because all I am doing is trying to change my approach to playing. But wait, that is not all!
During all my efforts to have fun, I do pay attention to what is happening with each shot. Mostly, the information garnered is nothing new, but every once in a while I will discover something that I will develop into my regular game. A perfect example is using my 3 hybrid out of the rough more than the fairway. I can hit both, but I find that if my ball is sitting up slightly in the rough, hitting the 3 hybrid is my club of choice. It seems that I have a fliers lie more often than not and I gain as much distance as I would hitting a 3 wood. This is a situational gain in distance, but one that I pay attention too. Basically, playing golf without a care is fun and also a learning situation.
I play a round or two without care, as described above, through out my golf season. I definitely need to do this and when I do, I am generally alone. This type of round will be fun for me, but not necessarily for my playing partners. Regardless, I will continue to play golf without care from time to time and hopefully I will learn something along the way.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!