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What’s Your PLAN On The Golf Course?

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Your ball is in the trees again and you have a couple of options. You could “punch-out” sideways to the fairway or you could try to squeeze the ball between the two trees about 15 yards in front of you.

“But there’s plenty of room between those trees. I can get it through there. Besides, if I hit it out sideways back into the fairway – I’ll still have over 200 yards to the green!”

So what are the next words you usually say after you try to squeeze your shot through the small gap in the trees? “I knew I should’ve just chipped it back into the fairway!”

Double and Triple Bogeys are usually not written on your scorecard unless you do one of the following: Ball in water, ball out of bounds, lost ball or saying ‘there’s plenty of room between those trees’.

Making smart decisions is the first step in developing your PLAN. Your PLAN isn’t easy – nothing important is easy. You’re going to have temptations to get away from your PLAN – like trying to squeeze between those trees. Just like someone on a diet that has temptations to have a chocolate chip cookie instead of an apple.

And just like the dieter that fights temptation and picks up a carrot stick – the Player that hits back on the fairway is going to feel better about how they managed their game. Players are Players because they have strong minds – and as tempting as it can be to go for that shot that you might succeed only once in 4 tries – the Player sticks with their PLAN. As opposed to the cookie eater that will say to themselves after their last bite – “was it really worth it?”

To put it kindly – if you can’t hit your ball off the best lie available (sitting on top of a tee) between two rows of trees that are a minimum of 50 yards apart (the fairway and rough), how can you expect to hit your ball off a bad lie (pine needles, leaves, soft dirt, hardpan, tree roots or limited backswing) through an area that’s only 3 yards wide?

And there are many times that Golfers will try to go through this “squeezed” area for what will amount to as helping you get only 30 yards closer to the green than if you went out sideways. Yet you’re not going to make a triple bogey going out sideways.

I would say that about 10 out of 10 articles I see on improving one’s golf game is devoted to the mechanics of the golf swing (or putting stroke). Yet, the national handicap in the United States is the same as it was in 1972. And this is with better golf clubs, better golf balls and better conditioned golf courses.

Trust me – it’s a lot easier hitting a new Titleist Driver than it was a persimmon McGregor Driver from 1972!

Maybe one reason that there’s no change in scores is that Golfers don’t put enough effort into their PLAN. Maybe they don’t have a PLAN. Though, what’s confusing to me about the national handicap staying the same since 1972 is that I know hundreds of GMS Golfers that have improved their handicaps. Not just by a few strokes – I know hundreds that have improved their handicaps by double digits.

You would think our Golfers would’ve moved the needle a little lower – then again, maybe all those other Golfers that are working on their one plane swing or two plane swing, going through all that video analysis, buying gadgets like the swing jacket or inside approach and/or trying every tip in Monkey Digest are probably more confused than ever with their swing. And when they have a chance to “squeeze” the ball between a couple of trees – well…they’re probably making enough triple bogeys that things balance out.

The Monkey hits and hopes (to get through the trees)

The Player is too focused on their PLAN to even consider hoping

Go Ahead, Be A Player!


Marc Solomon

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