The proof is in the score. At the end of the round, it’s all that really matters if you want to improve your game. It’s the single, perhaps most important piece of feedback you can ever get from a round of golf. Swings can come and go, but your score for the round is the ultimate evaluation of your game.
Finding out how you did after the round sometimes isn’t an option. You need to band-aid fix that game of yours pronto. It’s obvious if you track your progress during your round. But as a weekend hacker I have always been plagued with how?
I have used my Swiss cheese of a memory, I have listened to my playing partners remarks about my game but nothing really is consistent compared to taking notes while you play your round. My salvation is keeping a separate score card and logging in some simple notes on each hole.
Looking at my poor excuse of a scorecard, I always focus on Fairways hit, Greens-in-Regulation (GIR) and Putts. Hit the fairway; check. Miss the fairway — no check. Hit the green; check. Miss the green — no check. And finally how many putts per hole. It’s been my experience that off the tee box hitting a fairway is important but not as important as the other two items. For me, GIR and Putts tell me if I am scrambling to save par or just making bad decisions around the course.
I can struggle off the tee box. I can miss the green on my approach shot but if I can just chip/pitch and putt, I do play better. Often I catch myself in the middle of my round, just like the other day, trying to match a better player shot for shot. I can’t. I have to play my game and that is I am comfortable making shots inside 100 yards. As a part time golfer you need to have a fallback position. My goal is to make it so close that I can play to my strength. On the green just get my first putt close enough to sink my second putt. When all else fails go back to your strengths. Your game will improve with each success.
The other day I am playing with a golfer that can pound the ball down the fairway. I guess I wanted to keep up with him. Soon I am knocking my ball in all directions — army golf — left and right. After a double bogey and a few bogies I had to refocus my efforts. I looked at my scorecard/notes. What I was doing was not getting the job done. So I did just that. I tried to get the ball inside 100 yards; get on the green and two-putt. After a shaky par the following hole I managed to par the rest of way back to the club house. No birdies but I salvaged what could have been a disastrous round.
If I were a typical golfer I could blame my equipment, the golf ball, nature, the pace of play. My point is I didn’t. I knew it was operator error and not some equipment malfunction and that left no excuses just an obvious solution — play to my game.
I know some players often complain about the pace of play messing with their game. I should know I used to be one of those players. But leave those excuses at the door if you want to truly find the root of your problem and provide a solution.