There are many times on the golf course where I have made the decision to tighten my game. The decision to adopt this course of action is not taken lightly, but it does require a conscious choice and some specific steps to accomplish my intent. I am not trying to be glib and evasive, but I am trying to convey that closing ranks on the golf course is a challenge in on its own. Thus, I have a process or method (of course I do….right) that helps me manage my game and lower my overall golf score.
The exact timing for tightening my game comes down the stretch. Usually, the last four holes offers a situation where I am either in contention to win a tournament or break par. These two pressure situations require a tremendous amount mental fortitude to stay focused on the moment. Each shot has its own complexities and my approach helps reduce the white noise of making errors. My approach is simple and hinges on my mental focus.
In my case, closing the ranks means to club up on most shots, focus on the safer line, and remain confident that I can make every shot in my game. I ensure I commit to every shot and remain moderately aggressive. However, I do not take any unnecessary chances and I always aim for the fat part of the green. I figure that I can two putt from just about anywhere and when I am playing well, that confidence does to falter. That is my method to close my ranks.
I bet you are wondering what is different to this process from the way I normally play. Well, it is pretty close to the same, but my course management is less risky and I only hit shots I know I can hit. This part of my process is purely mental and I have learned through trial and error that it can win or lose my round.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
2 thoughts on “Closing Ranks To Finish Strong On The Golf Course”
I don’t play tournament golf so I won’t comment on the best strategy to take the dub, but if I’m scaring par, I’m not likely to all the sudden change my tactics. I’m sticking with what’s been working to get me there. That 7 under I shot near the end of last year wasn’t from closing the ranks and playing it safe. I was in the zone and I played like I was. I went for it unless there was a very good reason not to. I can think of many good reasons to take the safe shot, but being close to shooting par isn’t one of them and really has nothing to do with the decision process in my game at all. To my way of thinking, to really take it one shot at a time, there is no score. All there is is a decision tree that starts out with can I see a path to the flag and can I get there fairly safely the way I’m playing. A yes to both means I’m going right at it. I know my standard miss. I’m going to be smart enough to try and protect against that leading to disaster of course. But, that’s in the here and now. It’s not about score. It’s about the shot. Makes more sense to me to lock out that score from my thinking than close down options on the course. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize if I’m playing well or not, that factors into the decision, just not in that way. Can I make the shot today is valid, is it a good idea to take the shot today is valid, but what will it do for my score isn’t. I mean, if you’re scared to go low, you never will. What was it they said in the movie…”you have to let it come to you”. And I would think closing the ranks closes the door on it.
Reading that back I may have your words a bit confused. Clubbing up certainly isn’t a crime. I do it all the time and probably more often when I’m at my best. But that middle of the green thing always gets me. If a flag is 6 paces from the right and a deep bunker is over there, then I’ll aim 6 pace left of the flag. If that happens to be center green that’s fine, but if it’s closer to the flag than it is to center, that’s BETTER. I’ve given room to stave off disaster, but not so much as to severely limit my chance at one putting. There are degrees and I probably took the farthest path when you meant something less drastic. But thinking score while playing is I think a mistake. I’d rather not know until after the round is over if I could. It doesn’t work that way, but I do try and make it work that way as best I can.
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What you said is very valid. My experience in tournaments is very different. When going done the stretch and in contention, par is a great score. I try to let other players make the mistakes and can to on to win (it has happened a few times). As far a under par, I generally take this approach to calm myself down. I know we are not suppose to look at the score, but lets be real, all experienced golfers know what their score is…..all the time. There really is no wrong answer here, each of us approaches the round to fit our games. It is a great discussion though because I love hearing how other experience players approach stressful situations.