How much better is a Golfer that averages 80 versus a Golfer that averages 98? The easy answer is 18 strokes. However, what goes into those 18 strokes? Well, that is hard to say because there are many different ways to score 80 and many different ways to score 98.
You could look at it as if the 98 Golfer scores one stroke higher on each hole – but that’s usually not the case. More often than not – the 98 Golfer makes similar scores on 12 of the 18 holes. So you really don’t have to improve 1 stroke per hole … it’s more about improving how you play those 6 other holes.
An 80 Golfer could be getting there by making: 7 Bogey’s, 1 Double Bogey, 1 Birdie and 9 Pars.
A 98 Golfer could be getting there by making: 8 Bogey’s, 4 Double Bogey’s, 2 Triple Bogey’s, 1 Quad Bogey and 3 Par’s.
What’s interesting is that these two Golfers have a similar amount of holes that are 1 over par. It seems that the major issue is that the 98 Golfer had three holes that added 10 extra strokes to their score. Which means that 10 strokes of the 18 stroke difference (or 55%) occurred on just three holes!
Blow-up holes – what causes them?
Blow-up holes can come from many different situations, although let’s just focus on one of them — tee shots that go into the trees or other bad areas.
A bad tee shot counts as just as many strokes as a good tee shot. But it’s what happens next that makes the difference between a high 90’s and a low 80’s Golfer. Meaning, if you did hit a bad tee shot into the trees – it shouldn’t cause a Triple or Quad Bogey.
Except … when you do hit a bad tee shot and think to yourself: “Well, I just hit a terrible shot. And I’m still 230 yards from the green. I better hit my 3 wood and try to get on the green so that I can make par.”
Which reminds me of an old Jeff Foxworthy redneck joke: “You know you’re a redneck if anyone in your family died after saying – hey y’all … watch this!”
It’s similar because whenever you see a Golfer try to make up for a bad shot by hitting their 3 wood, you know they’re most likely about to kill their score with a Blow-up Hole.
Why not just hit an iron somewhere short of the green (leaving yourself a great angle to the flag) and then hit your pitching wedge or something similar onto the green for your 3rd shot. You could still make Par … while limiting the pain to a Bogey.
Because if it’s 230 yards to the center of the green … that means it might only be 210 yards to the front of the green. An iron that goes 140 yards leaves you with only 70 yards to the green.
You already messed up … limit your pain … don’t invite more pain!
But you hit your 3 wood. And yes, one time out of ten, you’ll hit the green. Three times out of ten you’ll hit it somewhere in the fairway – anywhere from topping it 30 yards to hitting it 170 yards. Two times out of ten you’ll find a fairway bunker that’s not very inviting. And four times out of ten you’ll be back into the trees or across the fairway into water.
So using your 3 wood on those 10 opportunities allow you to hit the green once. However, the other 9 times you play the hole – it results in 1 Bogey, 3 Double Bogey’s, 3 Triple Bogey’s and 2 Quad Bogey’s.
While the 80 Golfer that hit the same exact tee shot as you did: will first read the golf course before selecting their club. Then he/she will choose a club that will advance the ball into a position that will allow a great angle to attack the flagstick with either a wedge or 9 iron. Which would mean they would most likely end up with 3 Pars, 6 Bogey’s and 1 Double Bogey.
The results of those 10 holes: the 98 Golfer would be 24 over par – while the 80 Golfer would be 8 over par. A 16 stroke difference over 10 holes.
Now, the 80 Golfer may also have a more consistent golf swing than the 98 Golfer does – however, it’s not as big of a difference as most Golfers expect. The biggest difference in their games might be that the 80 Golfer has more realistic expectations on what they can accomplish with their golf swing.
Whereas the 98 Golfer has grand illusions that they’re going to hit a PGA Tour level shot – the 80 Golfer makes a PLAN based on what they see in front of them and then determines how they can play this hole using their strengths.
Now, the above situation is just one of many that happen on the golf course every time you play. And if we put all those situations together – that could add up to why 10 strokes of the 18 stroke difference happens on just 3 holes!
The Monkey often selects which club to hit without first reading the golf course based on their abilities
The Player first reads the golf course to make a PLAN – then selects a club based upon playing to their strengths
Go ahead, become a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life