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.
Yet, how can a 98 Golfer get down to an 80 Golfer? And trust me – I’m not going to get into the “you have to improve your short game” mantra.
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 around 11 of the 18 holes. So you really don’t have to improve 1 stroke per hole … it’s more about improving over those 7 bad holes. In other words – it’s not an issue of the 98 Golfer playing badly from hole to hole – it’s more of a Blow-up Hole issue.
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 had a similar amount of holes that were 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 of the 18 stroke difference (or 55% of the difference) was made on just three golf holes!
Blow-up holes – what causes them?
Blow-up holes can come from many different things, although let’s just focus on one of them — tee shots that go out of bounds – which means that you should go back to the tee to hit your drive again. That would mean the next golf ball you hit from the tee box would count as your 3rd shot. However, in my estimation, I would guess that over 90 out of every 100 Golfers don’t exactly play by the Rules of Golf – and instead of going back to the tee, they just drop a golf ball somewhere around where their golf ball was lost (playing it as a lateral hazard) – while adding 1 stroke.
So for the majority of Golfers – a bad tee shot counts only as one extra stroke – instead of stroke and distance (meaning going back to the tee and hitting again … which is more like a two stroke penalty). Which means that if you did hit a bad tee shot into the trees – it shouldn’t cause a Double, Triple or Quad Bogey. If you played well from there – it should end up as just a Bogey.
Except … when you do hit that bad tee shot and think to yourself: “Well, I just hit a terrible shot. I lost a golf ball, that’s a one stroke penalty, so I’m now hitting my third shot and I’m still 230 yards from the green. I better hit my 3 wood and try to get on the green and make the putt for par or get as close to the green as I can so that my next shot is an easy wedge.”
Your quote above 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 hear a Golfer say what I wrote above about using their 3 wood (or something to that effect), you know a disaster is about to happen. Or in other words – here’s another Golfer about to have a Blow-up Hole.
Why not just hit your 5 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 4th shot. At the very worst you’ll make a Double Bogey and quite possibly walk away with a Bogey. Because if it’s 230 yards to the center of the green … that means it might only be 210 to 215 yards to the front of the green. A 5 iron that goes only 150 yards leaves you with only 60 to 65 yards to the green.
But no – you hit your 3 wood. And yes, one time out of ten, you’ll hit the green or be within a few yards of it. And 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 the water.
So using that 3 wood on those ten opportunities allow you to hit the green once – which results in either a phenomenal par or two putts for Bogey. However, the other 9 times you play the hole – it results in maybe 1 Bogey, 2 Double Bogey’s, 3 Triple Bogey’s and 3 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 allow them to advance the ball up the fairway and put it in a position that will allow them a great angle to attack the flagstick with either a wedge or 9 iron. Which would mean they would most likely end up with 7 Bogey’s and 3 Double Bogey’s.
The results of those 10 holes: the 98 Golfer in those 10 holes would be 26 over par – while the 80 Golfer would be 13 over par in those 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 the green with their 3 wood – 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 (as previously stated above) 10 strokes of the 18 stroke difference happens on just 3 holes!
So, Mr. & Mrs. 98 Golfer … just think how well you’d be playing if you could just eliminate those 3 Blow-up Holes.
The Monkey often selects which club to hit without first reading the golf course
The Player first reads the golf course to make a PLAN – then selects a club based on being able to play to their strengths
Go ahead, be a Player!