The Masters is a good place to find ideas you can use to improve your golf game. The golf course plays tough; you have a grouping of the best Players in the world gathered together and they’re playing under more pressure than probably any other golf tournament!
One of the great aspects of watching the Masters on television is the number of cameras in the best possible positions – not just to see where the Players hit their balls, but you get to see them PLAN their shots.
If you watched the coverage – how much better did Zach Johnson hit the golf ball compared to Tiger or Retief Goosen? From my observation in front of a large screen television up at the Storey Creek Golf Course in Campbell River, BC, Canada (great golf course) – it didn’t appear that he hit the golf ball much better.
Yes, Tiger hit a couple bad shots, but let’s take away the shot he hit into the water on the Par 5, 15th hole. Other than that shot – how many really bad shots did he play?
Hey, after Tiger made his eagle on the Par 5, 13th – love Tiger or not – you were probably saying something like: “Here he comes. Here comes Tiger!”
Though, what Tiger did on the 15th hole was a classic mistake!
And I’m saying this not to find fault in Tiger – he’s my favorite Player and I don’t believe there’s a Player on this planet that’s his equal. I’m saying this because we’ve all made the same stupid mistake. We’ve all let ego get in the way of making a good golf shot.
Now Tiger got out of there making a pretty awesome Par. Would you have been able to do the same? I know Tiger was hitting his 5 iron to the green – though let’s say it was you and you were hitting your 3 wood to a green 220 yards away that had water in front of it. And please don’t tell me that you’ve never tried to hit your 3 wood over water to a green about that same distance away. We’ve all tried doing that once or twice!
Tiger made 5 because; well, because he’s Tiger. You make a 7. If Tiger lays the golf ball up short of the green in a similar spot as where he dropped after the penalty – he makes 4 (Birdie). If you hit your 5, 6 or 7 iron short of the water – you make 4 or 5 as opposed to a 7.
And someone might say “Well Marc, that’s only a 2 or 3 stroke difference. I’m trying to break 100 (or 90 or 80), 2 or 3 strokes won’t get me where I want to be. I’m looking to improve 8 to 11 strokes!”
The key isn’t just those 2 or 3 strokes on that one hole. The key is that you’re probably making decisions that are just as bad on other holes on the golf course. And those holes don’t have to include water hazards that contribute penalty strokes to your game. You’re probably making some other bad decisions that are causing you to choose the wrong clubs to play shots you shouldn’t be playing and these shots could be adding 6 to 8 additional strokes to your score over 18 holes.
When’s the last time you practiced your PLAN? When’s the last time you played “Worst Ball” on the golf course? When’s the last time you played “Red Tee” for the guys or “Minus 80” for the gals – on the golf course?
Think about it – You’ve spent hours upon hours working on the driving range to improve your golf swing so that you can achieve lower scores. And the more most Golfers spend on the driving range working on their swing – the worse their scores get. It’s like the old golf saying – “The less I practice, the better I get.”
And for some people that’s true!
Are you one of them – are you the Golfer that gets worse the more you practice your swing. If so, maybe you shouldn’t be practicing your swing. Maybe instead of spending your time getting worse on the driving range – you’d be better off on the golf course practicing your PLAN by playing “Worst Ball”?
The Monkey will go to the driving range this week and try to learn Zach Johnson’s swing
The Player will go on the golf course and better develop their PLAN by playing “Worst Ball”
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life