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From Golf Made Simple

How Bad Are Your Bad Shots?

How many bad shots can you expect to hit during a round of golf? Or better yet – how many bad shots are you able to accept during a round of golf? And then to take it one step further – how many bad golf shots can you hit and still play your best round of golf ever?

Have you ever thought about that?

Are the answers one or two? Or are they as high as ten, twenty or fifty?

It all really depends on what level of Golfer you are, but it also depends on what you consider a bad shot.

For example I was on the Golf Course the other day with 2 Golfers that were at similar talent levels.

Golfer One has been playing for less than a year, but has made great strides in that time. On the first hole he hit his Drive down the right side and the golf ball end up in the right rough – this Golfer responded by saying: “Alright, I’ll have to see what I can do from there.”

Golfer Two has been playing for about seven years. He also had made great strides in his first couple of years playing, but has not improved his scores since that time – meaning he’s been shooting in the same range of scores for the past 5 years. His ball lands about the same distance as Golfer One, but his ball stays on the fairway. This Golfer responds by saying “That’s not where I aimed. I wanted to be more in the middle of the fairway.”

And then I got up to hit my tee shot and bombed my drive about 325 yards down the left side, hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway – but enough about me.

Golfer One gets to their golf ball which is about 165 yards to the front of the green and surveys the situation, takes out his 5 iron, catches a little grass behind the golf ball and hits it about 150 yards – 15 yards short of the green. Golfer One looks at us and says – “That didn’t come out as well as I wanted, but I can live with it.”

Golfer Two, who has the same distance, but is in the fairway, also selects his 5 iron and hits a solid shot that lands on the left side of the green, leaving himself with about a 45 foot putt. Golfer Two looks at us and says – “I don’t know why I pulled that shot, I must’ve come over the top. It looks as if my divot is pointing a little to the left. I can’t seem to stop doing that.”

Then I took out my sand wedge and badly pushed the golf ball way to the right side of the green, but it got lucky and caught a slope … and the ball rolled all the way down the slope to two feet from the flag – but enough about me.

Golfer One gets to his golf ball that’s fifteen yards short of the green – surveys the situation, makes his PLAN and hits his sand wedge pretty well. The golf ball rolls towards the hole, almost goes in, but goes about 20 feet past the hole. Golfer One looks at us and says – “Oh, that was close. I thought it could’ve gone in.”

Golfer Two, reads his putt, plumb bobs the break and says “Birdie would be nice here, but I don’t want to be too aggressive and run the ball past the hole like Golfer One.” And proceeds to leave his 45 foot putt, 10 feet short of the hole. Golfer Two looks at us and says – “Geeze, I can’t believe I left that short. I thought I hit that pretty hard. I probably was putting into the grain. I needed that Birdie.”

Golfer One putts from 20 feet past the hole, misses it by about 4 inches to the left, but only a foot by the hole and then taps in for a 5. Golfer One looks at us and says “What a great day to play golf. It sure beats being in the office looking at the four walls. I wish I could this everyday!”

Golfer Two reads his putt, plumb bobs the break, putts the ball directly on line to the hole, but leaves it about 2 inches short and picks it up. Golfer Two looks at us and says – “I can’t believe I three putted this hole for bogey. That’s not how I wanted to start this round. I could’ve been one under par and now I’m already one over. I’m playing terrible!”

And then I pulled my putt, but it hits a bump on the green and the golf ball just barely catches the edge of the hole to make my two foot putt for birdie – but enough about me.

I’ll spare you the details about the next 8 holes because I bet you can see where this is leading – yes, you guessed it – I shot 33. But enough about me! Seriously, what is going to be the trend for Golfer One and Golfer Two over the next 8 holes?

The stats – On the Front Nine: Golfer One – 43; Golfer Two – 45

As we’re walking over to the 10th Tee, Golfer Two adds up his score and sees that it was a 45 – “Ok, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. I’m right there – I just need to get a little more distance on my drives and get a little more accurate with my long irons … and I’ll be able to break 45 on the back. I haven’t broken 90 in so long! I just need to get rid of all those bad swings!”

On the tenth tee, Golfer One again hits an ok drive that lands in the right rough and says “I’m just trying to keep the golf ball in play today.”

Golfer Two again hits another golf ball on the fairway, this time on the left side about the same distance as Golfer One and says – “I’m just so inconsistent – I can’t hit the golf ball where I’m aiming – I wanted to be in the middle of the fairway. This is really starting to get me mad!”

And then I get up and absolutely just hit it on the screws about 330 yards down the right side, the golf ball bounces off the cart path giving me an additional 30 yards and as it lands on the ground it rolls left and onto the fairway – but enough about me.

The stats – On the Back Nine: Golfer One – 44; Golfer Two – 49

Total 18 hole score: Golfer One – 87; Golfer Two – 94

My question to you – based on reading how Golfer One and Golfer Two played on holes One and Ten and then continued to play in a similar manner on the other 16 holes – Was Golfer One a better ballstriker than Golfer Two? Was Golfer One a better putter than Golfer Two?

The answers: I couldn’t see much of a difference and I do this for a living! Actually, if I had to make a decision on who hit the golf ball better — I’d have to say Golfer Two.

So what’s the difference between scoring an 87 and a 94? For many Golfers it’s the understanding that every shot doesn’t need to be perfect and that you can hit 69 bad shots and shoot 87 or you can hit 69 bad shots and shoot 94. The choice is yours.

The Monkey hits many bad shots, doesn’t score as well as they’d like and this leads to their scores plateauing after a couple of years

The Player also hits many bad shots – but the Player knows that it’s their next shot that counts the most


Marc Solomon

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