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Awful Golf - The Key to Improving Your Golf Scores

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Every golfer wants to improve to be a better golfer. Understanding 'Awful Golf' is the easiest way to cut shots pretty much overnight with no change in technique, no expensive lessons and definitely no need to buy the latest clubs or new fad.
All that is required is a subtle shift in your mental golf game

Published in: Sports
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Awful Golf - The Key to Improving Your Golf Scores

  1. 1. [Grab your reader’s attention with a great quote from the document or use this space to emphasize a key point. To place this text box anywhere on the page, just drag it.] Better Golf for the Over 50s http://www.thebettergolfer.com Awful Golf – Key to Improving Your Golf Scores! It seems bizarre, awful golf can help you reduce your golf scores pretty much overnight. Better yet, it requires no practice, change of technique or new golf clubs. All that is needed is a gentle shift in your mental approach to the game. First though, you need to understand just what is meant by awful golf. Drive for Show – Putt for Dough. Why Bobby Locke was dead Wrong! The great Bobby Locke is accredited with the famous golf quote, “Drive for show – putt for dough”. Locke was renowned as a brilliant putter and much of his game was built on his abilities around the greens. For years it became a widely accepted dogma – you make your money on the greens. Well now it seems to have been shown to be wrong – at least for the mere mortal, handicap golfer. Mark Broadie of Columbia University has analysed the scores of thousands of rounds of golf by players of all standards. He found that around 2 in 3 dropped shots were in the long game (defined as more than 100 yards from the green). Only 1 in 3 shots were dropped in the short game (less than 100 yards or on the green). Works for the Pros too Astonishingly Broadie’s figures actually show this to be true for the pros as well as the mere mortal golfer. Broadie has analysed well over 70,000 shots spanning more than 10 years of study so they are rock solid from a statistical viewpoint. The ratios remain the same no matter what your standard of golf – roughly 2 thirds of your lost shots are in the long game! Awful Shots Broadie’s analysis looked at what he called awful shots. These are the ones which in the long game moved the ball less than 80 yards closer to the hole, incurred a penalty or needed a recovery to get back in play. Doubly Awful Shots Some shots are more awful than others. Shots that finish out of bounds (penalty and distance) or take 2 or more shots to recover are doubly awful. The analysis for the short game gets a bit more complex (Broadie is developing statistically meaningful analyses so the definitions he uses have to be clear and repeatable). Some examples are easy – the short approach that misses the green, failing to get out of the bunker, 3 putting and the like are all awful shots. Doubly awful shots are comparatively rare in the short game.
  2. 2. [Grab your reader’s attention with a great quote from the document or use this space to emphasize a key point. To place this text box anywhere on the page, just drag it.] Better Golf for the Over 50s http://www.thebettergolfer.com Whether a shot is awful or doubly awful says nothing whatsoever about how the ball was hit. A topped tee shot that scuttles 150 yards down the fairway is not pretty but it is not awful. Conversely, as happened to me recently, you can cream the drive from the tee and it looks perfect in the air. With a little bit of following wind the drive skipped on the fairway right on the corner of the dogleg and bounced inches out of bounds. It was a beautifully struck shot, looked perfect in the air but finished out of bounds. It cost 2 shots so it was doubly awful. The Hero Hole When I have talked about this sort of golf analysis in the clubhouse there is always someone who interrupts to show me it is all wrong. The story goes something like this, “That’s a load of bull. 440 yard par 4 - I duffed the drive 50 yards off the tee. Got a 3 wood to the ball for the second and hit it 220 yards right down the middle. 6 iron – 165 yards to 3 feet and sunk the putt for a par”. Everyone has the odd hero hole. A par feels like a birdie. You come of the green smiling. It doesn’t change the fact that the first shot was awful and, statistically, would normally have cost you shot. What does it mean for me? In the pro game analytics is playing an ever stronger role. Most of us will never be able to benefit from the sort of monitoring, recording and analysis that the pros enjoy but there is nothing stopping us helping ourselves. The Better Golfer is all about improving your game (especially if you are over 50). You may never have full diagnostics that the pros enjoy but a little self-help is pretty easy. For your next couple of rounds just record your awful and doubly awful shots and when/where they occurred. I used a table a little like the one below to help me. Hole Long Short Notes Awful D Awful Awful D Awful 1 1 Hooked out of bounds 1 1 Duffed 2nd tee shot 3 1 Chipped short to greenside bunker 7 1 Pulled 4-iron into trees – chipped sideways 9 1 3 putted – raced first putt past the hole 12 1 Left chip short from 90 yards 13 1 Left chip short from 90 yards 16 1 Duck hook into thick bushes. Declared lost 17 1 Tee shot too long – dribbled into stream Totals 3 4 4 11 shots lost to awful shots – no wonder my handicap is still 17. 3 shots on the first alone
  3. 3. [Grab your reader’s attention with a great quote from the document or use this space to emphasize a key point. To place this text box anywhere on the page, just drag it.] Better Golf for the Over 50s http://www.thebettergolfer.com So, 11 shots lost in what were ugly, awful shots. This doesn’t show every shot dropped. I simply can’t reach long par 4s in 2 so I pretty much expect a bogie on those holes. All of us are going to miss a few putts in a round. These are not awful shots. On this day I shot 92 – 21 shots over par and 4 over my handicap. The thing is, each of the awful shots was avoidable. With a bit better thought this round could have been 6 or 7 shots better with no change in swing or technique at all. 90% of the problems were all in my mind. Focused Practice A little bit of analysis also helps you focus your practice much more effectively. If you are anything like me you probably have had spells of practicing reasonably frequently. You’ve always been told that you should practice your short game more so you hit a few 7 or 8 irons to loosen up before pretty quickly moving onto blasting away with the driver. All the time you feel vaguely guilty that you are not doing the right thing. Instinctively you have been doing what is right for your game. You know that a duck hook out of bounds costs you more than a missed putt or a chip that’s left short. The long iron approach that ends up in the trees and finishes unplayable or takes 2 or more hacks to get back in play costs you far more than any missed putt. By filling in a table like the one above you can target your practice on where it is most needed. For me it meant that I spent much more time with the driver for a spell. The swing got much smoother and I was hitting it well. Next time out I only had one doubly awful shot. It was that one I mentioned earlier. I absolutely smoked that drive. 30 yards further than I have ever hit a shot on that hole before. Sadly the bounce took it a matter of inches out of bounds. You know what? I didn’t care. If I can hit my drives that well I know that my game is going to get better real quick. Awful Golf – The quickest way to improve your golf game? Seems crazy. Learning about awful golf is the quickest way to improve your golf game. Better yet it doesn’t need  Expensive lessons  Hours on the practice ground  Major changes in swing or technique  No here today - gone tomorrow swing fads All it really needs is a bit of analysis and a commitment to change the way we think on the golf course.
  4. 4. [Grab your reader’s attention with a great quote from the document or use this space to emphasize a key point. To place this text box anywhere on the page, just drag it.] Better Golf for the Over 50s http://www.thebettergolfer.com About the Author Keith Longmire Keith is based in the UK but played much of his early golf in Oklahoma at Tinker AFB. Over the last 10-12 years he has seen his handicap steadily increase. Frustrated at an inability to improve his game Keith sought help from his golf pro – definitely some of the best money ever spent on golf. Newly enthused with his game Keith spent hours searching for further help on the internet only to find a wealth of well-meaning golf pros with a never ending stream of ‘tips’ that are utterly useless to the average golfer. Over several months TheBetterGolfer.com evolved with the aim of focussing on what is important to any golfer of any age. In priority order these are: 1. Technique 1. Mental game, 3. Course management and, a very distant last – 4. Golf equipment and clubs.

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