Friday, October 21, 2016

Hit the Ball With a Wallop!

cc from en.wikipedia.org

This year has been the year of the persimmon woods and Hogan blades for me, and unfortunately, I've played some pretty sorry golf – not doing justice to my sticks. The best score I shot was a 14 over and the worst was 29 over, and most of the time I was right around 20 over.

I've had more fun playing golf with my old sticks than I've had since the 90s when I played with persimmon woods because I was too poor to buy a new set. The new set I finally bought my senior year were Voits – generic clubs.

My swing is better than ever and my putting stroke, I don't care what the scorecard says. I've also grown very weary of professional golf and the idolatry around it. Truly, the modern game makes me sick. The entire sports world is just a distraction from the Jesuits anyway, completely controlled by freemasons, Jesuits, the Vatican, and ultimately Satan – who they worship. This fact is lost on 99.99% of the idol worshiping fans and players, but Not on me though...

Nevertheless, I just can't help but work on my swing for the next men's club, whether that's next week, month, or year. And, usually, I always figure something out that I think is the secret that'll right the double bogey ship. This time, it's a bit different and I thought I'd share.

Hit the ball with a wallop!

That's right, I'm practicing a new swing where I hit the ball on my full swing with everything I got! I'm so excited to give it a try, because if I ever get a hold of the ball with the swing I've been practicing – it's gonna go 350 yards! Well, maybe just 300, but I'm only 140lbs and using persimmon woods from the 70s!

I'm just tired of hitting it half-hearted and "smooth", wishing and dreaming it will work out. Half of the time I miss hit it anyway off the tee, so why not just try to hit it with a John Daly type of wack!

Practically speaking, this swing actually is really sound, it seems my timing is much better when I just swing as full and hard as I can. Another aspect to this is my mind is just fearless and almost angry, a controlled angry swing that gets my frustrations out. Hey, even if I hit it O.B., it'll still be fun to watch it when I hit it so hard. Wack!


The last time I went out I thought I was ready to shoot well, ended up shooting a 93 (+22 over). That did it for me, cause I was hitting my driver like a complete duffer. Now, I'm just gonna give it a wallop!

I just don't care anymore where it goes, where ever it ends up I'll give it another right wallop and on and on...this should be the most fun I've had in a long while!


Monday, June 13, 2016

Remembering Larry Nelson: Champion at the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont


cc from commons.wikimedia.org Oakmont CC



This week June 16th- 19th, the 116th U.S. Open for golf will be held at the historical Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. This is one of the four Major golf tournaments in professional golf, and in many peoples' minds (including mine) the most prestigious of them all. I wanted to remember one of my favorite U.S. Opens in 1983, when one of my favorite golfers Larry Nelson won.


About Oakmont and the U.S. Open


Oakmont has held more Major golf championships than any other golf course in the U.S., including 8 U.S. Opens and 3 PGA Championships. The course was built in 1903 by designer Henry Fownes, and is considered one of the most difficult courses in America, rated #4 in Golf Digest.

Since 1983, there have been 2 Opens held here, one in 1994 when Ernie Els won, and one in 2007 when Angel Cabrera won. Before 1983, greats such as Johnny Miller won here in 1973, Jack Nicklaus won in 1962, and Ben Hogan won in 1953.

1983 U.S. Open


Personally, I think the U.S. Open is the best golf tournament in the world, and is greater than even the British Open. This is the championship of golf period. The high rough, fast greens, and long courses are always testing the best players in the world to their limits.

In 1983 this was no different, as Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Calvin Peete, and Larry Nelson fought for the title. Mostly the battle was between Tom Watson and Larry Nelson, although this was Seve's second best effort in an Open (4th overall).

Tom had won the Open for the first time in 1982 at Pebble Beach in the famous tournament where he chipped in a birdie at the difficult 17th hole to edge out Jack Nicklaus. It looked as though Tom was going to march right on through the field to win his second Open in a row, yet there was this quiet man called Larry Nelson going on a tear at Oakmont.

Larry shot a 6 under (65) on Saturday to emerge from the field and enter into the final day at Even. Tom and Seve were in the final group starting Sunday at -1, Calvin Peete started the day also at Even. The 65 was the hottest round of the tournament, and Larry kept up the heat on the final day.

Larry had won the PGA Championship in 1981, and went on to win his third and last major in 1987 with another PGA Championship. Tom came closer than anyone to winning multiple U.S. Opens in the 80s, but only captured the one in 1982.

Larry went on to win the 1983 U.S. Open by one shot after a weather delay caused the last few holes to be postponed til Monday. The lighting was threatening the players, and Tom was the first (as usual) to smartly say he wanted off the course.

The play resumed on Monday morning, and on the first hole Larry played (long par 3 16th), Larry made a monstrous putt for birdie to gain a one stroke advantage. Tom went on to bogey the 17th, giving Larry a two shot advantage finishing up on the 18th.

Larry went on to three putt and bogey the 18th, giving Tom one last chance to tie with a birdie. The tough 18th hole was long par 4, not easy to par much alone birdie, and Tom's birdie chip missed, grazing the hole and rolling over 30 ft away. Miraculously, he putted his par putt in, but it was too late and Larry was the winner by one stroke.

1980s Was Best Decade of Golf


I've watched all the U.S. Opens in the 1980s because of the YouTube channel I've shared below. You too can watch the entire final round of the 1983 U.S. Open from this channel.

Personally, I think the 80s was the greatest decade in golf, because it was the time right before the metal woods came out. The competition was better than ever and the clubs still required genuine skill to strike the ball solid. In my opinion the 80s was the last time golf wasn't ruined by technology and sponsors. This is why I enjoy watching 80s golf more than the tournaments today.

Larry Nelson is one of my favorite players because of his humility, his faith in Jesus Christ, his bravery to serve in Vietnam, and his talent at the game of golf. He was about as pure of a natural talent as there ever was in golf, breaking Par on 18 holes within the first year of picking up golf! This was his shinning moment in golf, and the long putt on the 16th hole from over 40 ft was emblematic of the entire tournament – it was his destiny to win.

Tom was a gracious man in defeat, smiling and saying Larry deserved to win caused he played the best golf. Simply put, but considering Tom played the front 9 of the last day with a -5 under, he had to think the tournament was his.

Indeed, Tom's final day 69 (-2) was brilliant, but Larry's 67 (-4) was simply better. In fact, his 65-67 finish was simply amazing, considering only three players finished under par for the tournament: Larry (-4), Tom (-3), and Gil Morgan (-1). Gil played some last moment heroics to shoot a hard fought 68, but was never really in the mix on the last day. Really, only Seve, Tom, and little known Larry Nelson were in the picture throughout the day.

2016 U.S. Open Golf Winner Predictions


As for this year at Oakmont, we have a whole new pack of players vying for the title. Phil Mickelson is the sentimental favorite, as this is the major he's never won, although he's been painfully close a few times. No one in the golf world would complain seeing Phil win this year, but sometimes wanting something so badly makes it even tougher. Just like Seve and Sam Snead never winning the U.S. Open, although Sam, like Phil, was so very close many times.

Personally, my pick for the this years 2016 U.S. Open is Matt Kuchar. Matt has never won a Major, and is a mature 37 years old. He's been playing as good as anyone this year, and I think he has the right attitude and game to win on Oakmont.

Also look out for Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, as they, after Phil, are likely the most hungry and capable out of the chasing pack. As for a dark horse prediction, I would pick Shane Lowry (chosen after 1st round because I found out Ken Duke wasn't in field), who's has played inspiring golf this year and is more confident than ever.

I'll be paying attention to this years tournament at Oakmont, but because I don't watch television and it's not being played on PGA Tour Live, I might not get to see most of it. Sometimes I can watch some online live with certain channels, although this year it's on FOX. (Watched it on U.S.Open App and website for free).


That's another thing that made 80s' U.S. Opens so great, was the ABC broadcast crew of Jim Marr, Jim McKay, Peter Alliss, Bob Rosburg, Judy Rankin, and Ed Sneed. There's never been a better crew of announcers, although I do enjoy Nick Faldo, Jim Nantz, and Johnny Miller. Either way, enjoy this years U.S. Open in golf, because the way this world is going, there won't be very many more in the future.   



                     1983 U.S. Open Golf


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Saving Double and Triple Bogey on Trouble Holes


My Ben Hogan Persimmon Woods and Blade Irons

 Really, comparing ourselves to professional golfers will mostly just frustrate us, when trying to get better. Truth is, the average golfer has trouble breaking 100 if keeping their score correctly. To be honest, I sometimes still have trouble breaking 100 on certain days, but generally I'm just trying to break 90. While saving par is great, I'm realizing the biggest problem with my game is saving double and even triple bogey.

(I realize saving par means one-putting, but this is more a lesson in adjusting our mentality on danger zone holes.)

A good solid round to me is one where I get nothing worse than a bogey. I'll admit though, this is a rare occurrence. Generally, my rounds will see at least a few more than bogey holes. Hopefully this category isn't full of worse than d. bogeys. This is what I want to talk about here.

On my BGD Shows, I talk about my rounds playing in the River Ridge Men's league. I've played there four times (18 holes) this year 2016, and these are the stats of my worse than bogey holes:

1st round (+15): 2 d. bogeys (2holes) (+4) (27%)

2nd round (+17): 1 d. bogeys, 2 triple bogeys, 1 quad. Bogey (4 holes) (+12) (71%)

3rd round (+29): 6 d. bogeys, 2 triple bogeys, 1 quad bogey (9 holes) (+22) (76%)

4th round (+21): 6 d. bogey, 2 triple bogeys (8 holes) (+18) (86%)

In the first parentheses is my overall score for the 18 holes, the others are self-explanatory. For me, learning to save double and even triple is an important step in playing better golf. As a 15 handicapper, I should be playing somewhat better than a couple of these scores. Nevertheless, these are the best efforts I could manage this year in the competition of men's league.

The Danger Zone


I tend to get myself into real trouble on the course on average about 5-6 holes a round. Mostly this is caused by my tee shots, whether it's a par three, four, or five. Par three because generally there's some water or trouble that I can hit into and have a penalty stroke, and there's not much forgiveness when getting into trouble on Par 3's.

Driving the ball behind a tree, slicing it out of bounds, or finding some water – is many times when I enter the danger zone on a hole. When the strokes I've hit begin to confuse my brain when I'm adding them up, I'm in real danger of losing concentration and then losing another shot or two in the process – which is how a triple and quad bogey are created.

For instance, say I hit the ball OB off the tee with my driver on a par 5, 500 yards, then hit the ball into a tree about 200 yards out with my 3rd shot (the next shot on the tee after penalty stroke). So, now I'm in the danger zone, hitting four from a position where I need to chip out. This is a critical time to adjust my thinking to try and save double or triple.

The hole is a par 5, so I have 300 yards to go, and I have to chip out my 4th shot into the fairway only 10 yards advancing. Now, I'm hitting my 5th shot (par) from 290 yards away. This is when my brain begins to melt trying to figure out what shot I'm hitting and how I'm playing so badly and slowly... But, this is when I should be adjusting my thinking to a new realistic goal for the hole.

Realistically, I can hit the ball a good 190 yards with my 3 iron, and then have a 100 yards in with my 6th shot. That will leave me two putts to save my triple bogey, and if I play it real well I could get a d. bogey with a one putt. This is the adjusted mentality I want to have, to basically save triple bogey on a trouble hole. If I then walk off on that Par 5 with a triple bogey, I'm feeling decent because I was able to salvage the hole after two bad shots.

Let's take a Par 4, 410 yards for example this time. Say I hit a sliced drive around 230 yards, then I have a very dangerous shot over some trees and a large pond 30 yards in front of the green. I would have to hit the ball 180 yards over some decent sized trees and over the water to hit the green in regulation. I decide to lay up and hit a 110 yard shot in front of the pond.

I then chunk the 70 yard 3rd shot into the pond. Now, I'm hitting four and in the danger zone. Before I was trying to play for bogey maybe a one putt par, but because of the duff I have to adjust my mentality to now save d. bogey. So, the plan is to hit my fourth shot on the green and two putt for a d. bogey. This is saving d. bogey, or even saving bogey if one putt.


The Results of Adjusting our Mentality


The reason I think this lesson will help, is because if we can manage these 5-6 trouble holes with the right perspective, then we can shave a few strokes off our rounds each time. Although, a round may seem to be one tragedy after another, if we look at it realistically, we'll see there's really only a handful of holes that got real ugly.

We have to remember, these trouble holes will comprise 50-85% of our over par score. If were trying to improve our score, these trouble holes are where we need to focus. Not by unrealistically saying they won't be there, but by being ready for them when they come. If they don't come, then great, but when they do come, we'll be ready with the right perspective.

Summary


We know when we're in the danger zone, it's not a mystery when these trouble holes are upon us. These are the holes with the most impact on our score, and if we can salvage them with a double or triple bogey, then we can avoid the quads and more scores – which devastate a round.

Many times, when I'm in the danger zone, my confidence and concentration are weakened and I then become susceptible to a three putt or some poor shot after the damage, which then gets me a triple or quad bogey. If we're to get better, we have to learn to forget quickly the bad shots.

Bad shots come from bad swings, and the more consistent we get with our full swings, the less bad shots we'll hit. Out of the 40 full swings we may take in one round, 35 may be solid strikes, while 5 are either tops, chunks, toes, or heels. Hopefully these 5 bad swings don't cause us a penalty, but they generally do cost us at least one shot. When it goes into a penalty, they cost us generally two.


So, in conclusion, when we go out and play next time, be prepared for those trouble holes and apply an adjusted mentality to salvage a double or triple bogey. This should save us from getting anything worse than a triple, and turn many quads into triples, triples into doubles, and even doubles into bogeys.  



Monday, February 29, 2016

Is Technology Ruining Golf?


clubs I'll use this season


 Of course we have to look at this subject with a balanced point of view. Some technological advances have been a good thing in the game of golf, such as steel shafts and a more durable ball, but at what point is technology ruining golf?

I would say we're now past that point where the advancing technology (involved in making golf balls and clubs) is ruining the game of golf. I'm especially talking about professional golf, where the players have become billboards for advertisements (literally). Let's discuss this topic a little further, as this opinion is almost completely unheard nowadays.

Why Technology in Golf isn't Being Restricted:


Of course technology isn't being restricted, because of the money these golf equipment companies are making off of regular 15-30 handicappers: trying their hardest to look like their favorite pro golfer. And of course, their favorite pro golfer has the latest and “best” equipment in their big bulky bag, which has their name on it. So, we can conclude that it's money that's driving this un-checked advance in technology. Yet, what is this doing to the game of golf?

The Solution Starts With Us:


In the picture above, is some of the clubs which I'm going to use this year as I play my amateur tournaments in Oregon. Ben Hogan irons and woods (with a MacGregor 1-Wood as well). The old beautiful persimmon golf woods! Yes indeed, and the Hogan blades from the 60's or 70's(?). I have the entire set of irons from the 2-9 iron. I'll have to use a few more modern clubs for my wedges and putter, but I'm excited to get these re-griped and ready for play. Wait til they get a hold of me...

I wonder how I'll play with these compared to my more modern clubs, which are about 15 years out of date anyway? I have a feeling I'll play even better, and oh how pure my hits will feel!

Let's Compare the Golf of Old to Modern Golf:


Anyway, back to the question. Let's look at professional golfers from the 60s to now: 2016. What's happened is the technology has created these golfers now who're averaging well over 300 yards per drive! And when will it stop? 

What this is doing, is making these mammoth courses that honestly aren't even fun to play. Playing a course like Chambers Bay is more like hiking up and down a mountain, and so is Bethpage Black. Then look at the new Pinehurst layouts with their upside down bowl greens, what fun is this?

What the technology is doing is making the courses longer, more sloped, and with greens that are brutally unfair – and we can all say simply not fun anymore to watch or play. The reason why we love golf is because it's a pleasant walk in beautiful surroundings with a challenging task at hand – not equivalent to hiking Mt. Everest and putting on top of a dome stadium!

We can't even compare the old players now with the new because their clubs are so different. Tom Watson, Gary Player and the other greats of the past used the type of woods and irons in the picture, now the players use basically a driver that is 6 times the size... How can we compare the players of old with the new players when the technology is so different, and they have to keep making the classic courses longer and longer?

The courses professionals play on now, are simply making the par 5s into par 4s, and even the par 4s into 3s sometimes. I think most of us golf lovers are getting a bit sick of this “improving”. We know the players now aren't any better than the greats of the past, but we can't really compare their stats because of the technologies that are ruining the game. And we have to wonder: when will it stop?

Conclusion


If there was one player who used Persimmon woods with blade irons, that player would ignite the hearts of golfers around the world – especially if he/she was in contention in a professional event at the highest stage. What a wonderful thing this would do for golf! Golf needs some authenticity in it anymore, as it's become a big corporate wonderland: full of hype and splendor and delivering uninspired winners with the biggest stick...

Didn't we all love Bubba Watson when he shaped that shot at the Masters to win? Bubba is a player who can shape the ball and defies the norm with his unique swing, but can he put down his pink graphite driver and play with authentic clubs that require more ability to hit sweetly? Can any of the pros revert back to the pure clubs and compete? I believe they could.

The golfers today, playing with the clubs of the 70s wouldn't be able to hit the ball any further than the big hitters of the past. And playing with clubs that require more skill actually means the best golfer that week always wins – not so anymore with such a forgiving sweet spot. Now, a player can mishit his club many times in a round and get away with it and go on to win.

Putting has turned into a fun-house scene in the pros, and honestly this isn't fair for the modern players. How can they compare their stats with those in the past when the greens are becoming more impossible? Modern technology can't improve putting, and so they are designing these impossible greens to make up for the long distance players are getting with their “woods” and irons.

Honestly, golf is getting more and more boring the more technology there is with the clubs. I'm only 36 years old, but I spend most of my time watching the old tournaments in the 70s and 80s before technology became out of balance with the classic Par 72 golf courses.


Technology should be restricted back to the clubs of about 1980, but this won't happen as long as golf is run by corporations instead of people who love the game. As for me, I'm going to have great fun playing with my Ben Hogan woods and irons this year – and watch: this be my best year yet! I know at least one thing, I'll play inspired golf for once.  


Sunday, February 7, 2016

About the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour (Professional Golf)

from europrotour.com

The PGA EuroPro Tour is an exciting developmental professional golf tour located in the UK. The 2016 season will be their 7th year running. This is a special pro golf tour because they televise the usual three day 54-hole tournaments. I just learned about the EuroPro Tour about a month ago when I came across a tournament on YouTube, and now I want to share this great tour with you. 

This is basically a third-tier developmental professional golf tour. The next level these golfers are trying to make is the Challenge Tour in Europe (like our Web.com), and then the European Tour. In America this tour would be the equivalent of the Swing Thought Tour or the Oncore Gateway Tour.

The first thing that comes across when watching their televised last day 18-hole coverage, is how quality this tour is overall. The commentary, the breaks, the camera work, interviews – the EuroPro Tour is actually presented much better than the Challenge Tour or even the Web.com Tour. The overall presentation of the events is Par with the PGA Tour's coverage. 

The purse money is the biggest difference on a third tier pro golf tour like the EuroPro Tour. In 2015 the total purse for each 54-hole tournament was about $65k pounds, which worked out to:

1st:   $10,000
2nd:  $6,000 
3rd:   $4,000
4th:  $2,500
5th:  $1700

That is basically the payout to the top 5 finishers, paying to about 20th place and ties. There are 16 events including a season tour championship where the prize money is doubled. Also, the biggest prize is the top five money winners (order of merit) earn their Challenge Tour cards and move up to bigger prize money (more like $200k purses). 

There is a cut at each tournament after 36-holes, where a field of over a hundred are cut in half. The competition is thick, and the skill at the top is as good as anywhere. The courses they play are simply awesome, but also usually very difficult courses around the UK mostly. 

There are only a handful of players who end up making over $18,000 gross every year in winnings, so this isn't a tour where many people are making a living. Yet, there are many journeymen playing on this tour, who likely make a good part-time income from their golf game. 

To join the EuroPro Tour, a golfer has to start by paying about $300 to enter their Q-School. This is a couple staged tournaments, where around a hundred golfers (my estimation) make it through. I say this as a guess, seeing there are around 120 people playing each event before the cut. When they make it through Q-School, players are eligible to play in all the tournaments by paying a $200 entry fee. They have to be in the top 60 in the order of merit to make it to the tour championship. 

The last day of every tournament in 2015 can be seen on their YouTube channel. The videos are about an hour and a half, showing an edited version of the play from the first hole to the last. The commentators, lady who introduces, and the whole camera crew do an excellent job of showing some excellent golf from young pro golfers. Nowhere else have I seen such quality viewing of tournament golf apart from the PGA and European Tours.

For those who love golf, who play on mini-tours, who want to play on mini-tours, or who just like to see the underdog win – the EuroPro Tour is a great place to watch competitive golf. Personally, I find this coverage entertaining and practically useful as I want to play on mini-tours too. It gives me a great opportunity to see what I would face and how these young professional golfers deal with tournament golf. 

Check out the EuroPro Tour, and if you're in the UK you might want to try out for Q-School or go watch an event. Just thought I would share this great treasure I've found online, hope it helps you visualize your dreams and simply have some great golf to watch.  

Website: HotelPlanner.com EuroPro Tour 

YouTube Channel: PGAEuroProTour











Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A List of Golf Major Champions Since 1860



cc from commons.wikimedia.org
James Foulis 1896 U.S. Open Champion



I wanted to share a great resource for learning the champion of each golf major since 1860. This is the modern form of the golf majors, which is:

  • Masters (1934)
  • U.S.Open (1895)
  • British Open (1860)
  • PGA Championship (1916)

Used to be the amateur championship events in America and Britain were considered majors. The number next to each major is the first year they started, and they're listed in order of the time they occur during the year.

The link I'm sharing is a simple website, where all the golf majors are neatly listed along with the course it was played on. When placing the cursor over the names and courses, where they occur in other years will highlight. This is a nice feature because it helps you see how many Majors each player won, and also how many times has a course been used.

Of course, when golf began there was no television, so the memory and tales of those older years are all we have now. The television started picking up golf in 1947 locally, and in 1953 the first golf major was nationally televised. This changed golf for the better for fans and players alike.

Now, we have the Internet, and can find vintage major footage from ABC, CBS, and more. Personally, I like to watch the ABC crew in the 80's covering always the U.S. Open. Still today we're blessed with great golf announcers such as Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo, Lanny Wadkins, Johnny Miller, and more. Many of those great golfers in the 70s and 80's are now commenting and playing on the Champions Golf Tour.

I shared Tom Kite's U.S. Open 1992 victory at Pebble Beach in an article not too long ago, and this is a great video to watch. The wind was treacherous that day, and beat the players into huge rounds over par. All except Kite went by the wayside, and it's amazing to watch. All of the majors are amazing to watch in my opinion, including the new ones.

In this 1992 ABC broadcast, Dave Marr was no longer broadcasting and is replaced by Brent Musburger. This was a bad choice in my opinion, and was the end of the great years of commenting ABC provided throughout the late 70's and 80's with Dave Marr and Tim McKay at the helm. The supporting crew was excellent with Peter Alliss, Jack Whitaker, Judy Rankin, Ed Sneed, Bob Rosburg, and others. This has been my favorite era to watch, and I spend more time watching 80's golf, then I do watching modern golf.


Just some thoughts around this resource I'm sharing. I may just make it a page tab at the top of the page, as this site develops and grows. So far so good. Getting ready for the 2016 year of golf, expecting this to be my best year ever and the majors are always exciting to watch.



Sunday, January 10, 2016

Strategic Approach Toward Golf Game


golfing in Oregon

   Seems lately my mentality toward golf is changing along with the new grip and swing. I've always been dedicated and believing that I could shoot Par golf and become a competitive player in the pros, yet I never knew how I was going to do it until I changed my grip about four months ago. Since, I've been working mostly on my mental game, tuning my strategic approach toward my golf game.

   This strategy is more of a concept than a strict guide of rules, although it does contain specific variables to set as a standard. The point of the strategy is ultimately to shoot Par or better golf, but focuses more on my motivation and perception of how I'm playing. Many times I just loose heart that I can shoot a decent score, after the first disaster hole. This has to change, and the key to my strategic approach is perspective.

Standards of Strategic Approach:


  • Have a Par putt on each hole 10ft or under
  • No worse than a Double Bogey
  • Play smart and within ability, take risks only when calculated in favor
  • Play every shot with importance


Having a par putt on each hole 10ft or under:


   This is the main standard I'm thinking about when I play golf. No matter what the shots look like before the Par putt, get the ball close for the Par putt. This especially helps my mentality when I'm scrambling.

   Most of the time I'm a scrambling golfer, and this is what I have to work with. My wedge play under 40 yards is very good, and my putting is decent sometimes very good. Basically, my short game is a solid part of my golf game.

   I think golfers care too much about having a birdie putt and being on in regulation. Really, we don't need to be on in regulation to make Par. I don't get discouraged like before, when I have to punch out to the fairway because of a misplaced drive. My mentality now is simply to get it on the green with a Par putt of 10ft and have a good chance for Par. If Par doesn't come, then bogey isn't too bad.

No Worse Than Double Bogey:


   Bogeys will come, and too many of them start to add up to a big number, but a bogey isn't going to take you out of a chance to shoot a Par or better round. Being patient and waiting for the birdies to come, while simply trying to get more pars than bogeys – is a good formula for low rounds.

   Avoid anything worse than a Double Bogey during an 18 hole round. If we look at our scorecards and do some data research, we could find on average how many times we make worse than a d. bogey. Is it every 20 holes? 50 holes?

   Paying attention to the frequency of these scores, will show you what you're facing. Knowing how often those ugly holes come around will alert you when playing, to remember that standard. Of course, by making these big scores very rarely, your game will improve.

   You don't want to get d. bogies either, yet they come with more frequency than you'd probably like. The double bogey is really the killer of most golfers who break 90 often. A d. bogey can come by simply misplacing a tee shot and having to punch out, then three putting the green. It's especially threatening, when you have a long birdie shot to the green from 100-180y. Minimizing the d. bogey is key, so paying attention to the frequency of this score is important too. On average do you get a d. bogey every 5 holes? 20 holes?

Play smart and within ability, take risks only when calculated in favor:


   This is a fairly general concept, but very much part of my mental strategy for golf. Knowing my limits will keep me from the d. bogeys and worse, this is the main way I guard against those big scores on one hole. Sometimes, it's necessary to take a risky shot with a low percentage, but most of the time there's a better way to approach a dangerous hole.

   The 180-220 yard long shot approaches are not my strength, even though I have the shot to get those distances. The problem is accuracy and consistency with those long shots. For instance, if there is a Par 4 that is 460 yards long, then I'll play the hole like a Par 5 and try to make birdie (Par), but if I don't then bogey is a good score there. And double bogey is like a bogey there, and so on.

   When there's a Par 5 with O.B. and hazards 525 yards long, then hit the hybrid or long iron of the tee 190 yards. With 335 yards left, hit another hybrid or long iron 190, then have 145 yards left to hit the green with an 8 iron. Basically, it's not always how far you can hit it, rather using the more consistent shots you have the most often, for less risk.


Play every shot with importance


   This is why I'm going to mostly play in tournament or competitive rounds from now on. This way I get used to every shot counting, and the incentive to shoot Par golf will be there to make money and beat other players. Playing every shot with the same importance will mean you've done your best on the course. All I can ask of myself is that I try my hardest on every shot, the outcome will be what it is.

   Playing in upcoming tournaments, my goal is to shoot a respectable score and be within the top 25 of the field. Maybe the best I can do one day is 87 +15, this happens, but it doesn't mean I couldn't go back and shoot a 70 -2. The way I can hit the ball now, I can shoot an under Par round. So, I have to be patient and make room for this to happen, wait for it.

Conclusion


   Having a strategic approach to our golf game gives us a standard to judge how we're doing. There's always going to be the unknown variables we have to accept, which will dictate the final score and results. Our focus is to play the best we can on each shot with a determined professionalism. Whether we shoot 106 and embarrass ourselves totally, or 68 and dazzle everyone – the standard remains the same.

   I've noticed in golf there are simply some days that go well and others that don't. Try to gauge those days and calculate their frequency, the whole point is to know your game. Really, if I'm not putting well then I won't have a good day score wise. The short game is where the score really takes form, and because I scramble so often (12 holes a round average), then I should be putting a total of:

6 holes GIR 2 putt for 12 putts
12 holes scrambling, 6 one putts and 6 two putts for 18 putts
Total putts: 30

   Now, there may be a couple of fringe putts in there too. When I'm putting well, then I can make birdies and salvage bad holes. Putting well makes the difference between an 89 and a 78. And if the Driver, hybrids, and Irons are working well, then this is the money rounds needed to compete. Trying to increase the frequency of these good rounds is goal.

   I've noticed in many of the state wide professional and amateur competitions, generally there aren't very many golfers who can shoot low. There are many who can shoot in the 70's though, the average score is likely 77 or so. The Web.com and PGA tour for instance, have more people at the top shooting Par or better.
   
   Basically, shooting a +5 in most events is a score that will put you in the top 25 of a 70 member field. Most of the time it would put you in the top 15. To win money or prizes more than the cost of the tournament, placing in the top 15 is essential. I'm talking about the mini-tours of professional golf, where an entry fee of $40-$500 can get you in a one to three day tournament. If you could shoot Par in these events on average, then you could make money as a professional golfer.

   Shooting Par golf is the goal, and the bogeys have to be minimized and on good days they are canceled out with birdies. Putting up a formidable round in the 70's is always a good effort in competition.


   Just thought I would share these thoughts, in 2016 I'm planning on playing in about 8 tournaments. While I'm still an amateur, I'll play in a few Oregon Golf Association tournaments, and maybe a Web.com Monday qualifier at the end of summer. Would have to shoot at least a 3 under to qualify for Web.com tournament. Should be interesting, I'll write about it all here.