Are you more likely to hit a bad tee shot after making a double bogey (or worse) on the previous hole? Or are you more likely to hit a bad tee shot after making a birdie on the previous hole?
It is amazing how many Golfers I have seen make a great birdie (or miraculous par) on one hole and then get up on the next tee box and hit their worst drive of the day. Why is it that after having a terrific hole would you follow it up with a terrible tee shot?
A lot of it has to do with your comfort zone on the golf course.
If you typically don’t make a lot of birdies (or miraculous pars), you most likely never follow up this great hole with another great hole. You’re much more likely to follow it up with a double bogey or worse.
This is because you have exited your comfort level relating to score … or in other words, you are out of your Score Zone. For example: a Golfer that averages 95 goes out and gets a bogey on hole #1, a par on hole #2, a bogey on #3 and then a birdie on #4.
This Golfer is now playing better than what can be considered his/her normal Score Zone. Whereas this Golfer would normally be 4 to 6 over par after 4 holes … he/she is now only 1 over par after 4 holes.
“This could be the round I finally break into the 80’s!”
As he/she steps onto the 5th tee – something changes and they end up hitting a terrible tee shot en route to taking a triple bogey to go 4 over par after 5 holes. Followed by a double bogey to go 6 over after 6 holes, another double to go 8 over after 7 holes. Followed by a bogey on #8 and #9 to shoot your normal 46.
“I just lost my swing. I can’t even hit a golf ball now!”
Why does this scenario (or similar scenarios relating to someone trying to break 100 or 80) continually happen? Why can’t most Golfers take advantage of that birdie on #4 to be only 1 over par and run with it? Even if you made a bogey on each of the remaining 5 holes – you’d still score an impressive 42.
“Play for your PLAN … don’t plan for your score”
Often times our rounds of golf start without any real expectations – so score isn’t at the forefront of our thoughts. It’s more about going out and having a good time, making a few good swings or just getting away from it all. And when Golfers start their round off with one of the above thoughts, they often surprise themselves by starting to play very well.
Then, out of nowhere, a birdie. “Wow, this could be my round.” Which now changes everything. From a relaxed, no expectations, let me just look at where I want to hit and swing type of round … to now thinking about “I am just 1 over after 4 holes. If I can just par these next 5 holes … that would be a 37. And who knows how good I could get from there. Maybe, with a little more practice, I could get to a level where I can start thinking about playing on the Senior Tour.”
Whack … “FORE!! Dang it! How could I make such a bad golf swing after making birdie? Now I have to waste a penalty stroke for being in the water. Alright, so 1 in (the water), two out (penalty stroke), hitting three. I need to get this close so that I have a par putt to stay 1 over par.”
“I have 172 yards to the flag. I could probably get my hybrid there and if I hit a draw along the edge of the water, it should hit the green and bounce left towards the hole.”
Whack … “Dang it! I can’t believe this. How could I just hit such a bad shot into the water again? What has happened to my golf swing?”
3 in, 4 out, hitting 5. 5 on the green, 2 putts … triple bogey!
What happened to your golf swing? How did you go from 1 over after 4 holes to 4 over after 5 holes … on your way to 6 over after 6 holes and eventually finishing the front 9 with your typical 46?
It’s all about being able to get past your comfort level. Because many people start to sense they’re playing better than normal and start to let score creep into their mind. Once you’re thinking about your score on the golf course – you have zero chance of having a good score.
Yes, you want to have your best score. However, your best score will happen when you’re not thinking about score.
Just as we often hear from a Golfer that shoots 59 or lower, these Golfers do not know what their score is. They really don’t know how many pars or birdies they have made. They often know they are playing well … but they have no idea that they are 13 under par or need a birdie on the 18th hole to shoot 59.
All they do is continue to make a PLAN for each shot and go with the momentum.
The Golfers trying to break 90 or 100 often start to think about making pars on holes 6, 7, 8, and 9 before they even finish playing the 5th hole.
The Monkey is stopping scoring momentum by always thinking about score
The Player keeps that momentum going because he/she knows “Play for your PLAN … don’t plan for your score”
Go ahead, Be a Player!