If you’re like every Golfer trying to break 90 consistently, you’re trying to make Par on all 18 holes. And the fact is you shouldn’t try to make Par on any hole.
Now I absolutely know that someone is now saying – “Marc, what do you want me to do? Play for bogey on every hole.” Not at all! You should never play for Bogey. Or someone is saying – “Oh, now I get it, you want us to play for Birdie every hole.” Not at all! You should never play for Birdie either.
What I mean is that you shouldn’t be playing for score at all on any shot or hole!
Golfers that play for Par or Bogie or Birdie make bad decisions. Your PLAN should be based on one shot at a time. First shot – get the ball into play away from the trouble. Second shot – keep the ball in play away from the trouble to put yourself in the best position you can be to make your next shot easier. If that means being on the big part of the green – great. If it means being short of the green – that’s great also. Next shot – keep wth the same PLAN as your second shot. And each subsequent shot should be the same.
If you stick with this PLAN you’ll be playing with a “One Shot at a Time” mentality.
Do you know why most Golfers that score in the 90’s don’t make Birdies or Pars? And it’s not because you’re not giving yourself the opportunities to make it happen.
I was on the golf course a few weeks ago with a Golfer that was hitting the ball better than he ever had before – he hit 5 out of 7 Greens in regulation (two holes he couldn’t reach the green because of the clubs I selected for him). Now this is the average Golfer that averages 2 Greens in Regulation per 18 holes. Yet, on those 5 greens he hit, he only made one Par!
Now you can say that he must work on his putting. That’s the most obvious answer – but it’s not the best answer. As I believe he actually is a pretty good putter – and this coming from me, a guy that’s very critical on putting ability.
The problem was that he knew he was putting for Birdie on each of those five holes. And a Golfer that’s putting for score is a Golfer that doesn’t score well!
“Play for your PLAN – don’t plan for your score!”
Have you ever wondered why on the days that you’re hitting the ball so well, that there’s a chance you’re not going to have your best day of putting? It’s most likely related to you playing for score instead of having your mind 100% focused on putting the ball into what we call The Box. By putting for score, you’re creating too much pressure on yourself to make a putt.
Come on – would’ve Mickelson made double bogey if he didn’t know Par would win the US Open? How about Montgomerie doing the same?
And this is not to pick on Phil – he had to be playing great to be in the position he was in – besides we’ve all done this a thousand times ourselves, just not in front of 10 million people!
How many times have you been putting for Birdie or Par and ended with Bogey or Double Bogey?
Let’s look at the opposite scenario – how many times have you hit the ball badly on the golf course, yet seemed to make every putt into the hole? Why is this? Because you’re hitting the ball so bad that you’ve given up on score – you’re just letting it happen without the pressure of a good score getting in your way.
Now suppose you went out on the golf course one day and were 100% focused on your PLAN – what would happen? Well one, you wouldn’t know your score until you counted it up after you putted your ball into the hole.
This means you wouldn’t know if you’re putting for Birdie or Par or Bogie or Triple Bogey. This means that on a Par 5 you wouldn’t automatically reach for your 3 wood on your second shot to hit the ball as far down the fairway as you can. You’d actually look at the golf course and make a PLAN where you want the ball to be for your next shot.
We’ve had numerous Golfers that just don’t get it – where they don’t care to understand that you shouldn’t play for score. Meaning we’ve had Golfers that came to us trying to break 110, 100 or 90 that believe they need to be on every Par 5 in three shots (though they average hitting less than one Par 5 green in regulation for every 36 holes). And maybe the problem is that they’re trying so hard to be on in three shots that they’re not making the correct decisions to get there.
For example – A 500 yard hole (500 yards to the center of the green means it’s less than 485 yards to the front of the green). Driver 210 yards. 7 iron 140 yards. 7 iron 140 yards. And before you know it – 490 yards later you’re on the green in 3 shots.
But the Monkey won’t play that way!
The Monkey – Driver 210 yards. 3 wood ? yards. We don’t know what your next club is because who knows where you’re going to hit that 3 wood.
The only reason you’d hit your 3 wood off the ground on your second shot from anywhere on the golf course is if you’re playing for score!
How about this – You hit a bad tee shot only about 100 yards on a 400 yard (remember it’s 400 yards to the center of the green, but maybe only 385 yards or less to the front of the green) Par 4. You hit your 5 iron 160 yards. You now only need to hit the ball 125 yards to be on the green in 3 shots after a terrible tee shot.
The Monkey – Driver 100 yards. 3 wood ? yards. Again, we don’t know what your next club is because who knows where you’re going to hit that 3 wood.
The Monkey choose’s clubs they’re inconsistent with and thus they can’t make a consistent PLAN which leads them to make inconsistent scores. The Player uses clubs they’re consistent with and thus can make a consistent PLAN to make consistent scores.
And the funny thing is even if you hit the best 3 wood of your life – you’re still going to have to hit a third shot to get on the green. But until you hit that perfect 3 wood – how many strokes have you wasted in your prior attempts at hitting your 3 wood down the fairway so you can get close enough to the green so you can have an easy wedge that you can get close to the hole so you can one putt for Par?
And using this 3 wood to make up for lost distance, you’re successful on 9 out of 10 attempts? No? Not 9 out of 10? Or is it 7 out of 10 attempts? No? Not 7 out of 10? OK, how about 7 out of every 100 attempts?
So what was your score on the other 93 attempts?
To be a successful Golfer, you should heed the words of Kenny Rogers –
“You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
know when to walk away, know when to run,
You never count your strokes as you’re playing on the golf course,
There will be time enough for counting when the golfings done!”
Monkeys always know what number shot they’re about to play – and that number dictates their club selection and how they’re going to play their next shot regardless of the situation
Players know that the least important part of each hole is their score – they know that with a consistent PLAN, a good score will just happen without thinking about it
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life
Golf Made Simple!