A little more on yesterday’s concept.

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, read it…actually, if you have read it, read it again. 🙂

We have a warped view of how good we have to be on each individual shot to get to our goal of a score we want to shoot.

There is a dichotomy here that confuses golfers of all skill levels and actually includes everyone but Tiger.

Your goal is to hit every shot as good as you can, but not to hit every shot perfectly.

That comment makes no sense when you first read it, but I will make sense of it for you by working backwards.

Let’s say your goal is to play bogey golf. Now realize you don’t have to hit a single good shot the entire day to play bogey golf?

On a par 4 (usually 10 of the holes) all you have to do is hit the drive somewhere where you have a swing and an opening. Hit the second shot somewhere where you also have a swing and a opening. Hit the ball on the green somewhere…and just two putt.

That doesn’t require any perfect shots.

Let’s move on to a less modest goal. Let’s say your goal is to shoot par.

Do you realize you only need to hit one mediocre shot and one good shot per hole to make par? If you hit your driver in play, you have 3 chances to hit a good shot to insure par. If your approach shot is on the green…par. If you hit a bad shot to the green you just need a chip shot close to the hole…par. If you hit a bad approach and a bad chip you still have a chance to make a nice putt…par.

In other words, it’s just like my swing theory of not trying to do the right things, it’s avoiding the wrong things and the right things will happen automatically.

It’s not about hitting every shot perfect, it’s about avoiding bad shots and giving yourself more chances to score.

Obviously there is a baseline skill level to all of this, but please understand the point. We are striving for too much perfection, when it is beyond unnecessary. We just need to avoid disaster in both our swings and golf shots to bring our scores down.

I will finish with an example from my experience. I have a friend who got down to a 2 handicap, but since his girls were born, he is up to about an 8 or 9 now…so a really good player. He was struggling to score early in his development because he had unreal expectations. He hit 14 greens in regulation one day and commented that should be his norm. Never mind that would lead the PGA Tour by a wide margin.

He would hit a wedge to about 25 feet and be infuriated. I asked him how many times a day thought he should hit it inside of 10 feet. He said 4 or 5. He then watched me hit it inside of 10 feet zero times and shoot 68…and I only made 2 putts outside of 5 feet.

I once did a experiment. I paid attention to his comments on every shot he hit. I added up what score he would have shot if he met his expectation on every shot. I am not kidding or using hyperbole when I say if he had hit every shot the way he was expecting to, he would have shot around 52 or 53…for 18 holes.

We have a warped view of how perfect we have to be in our swings and in our execution of shots. Just like there is a huge window where our swing can be and still achieve good golf shots…there is a huge window of how good our shots have to be and shoot the scores we want to shoot.

If we have more realistic and modest expectations for our golf shots and swings, we will have more fun, be more satisfied…and funny enough…shoot lower.




  1. Justin Wheeler

    Great follow up to your past post. It’s funny how we hit one great shot and expect them all to be great there on after. I’ve seen my fair share of these guys at work.

  2. The Veal

    Can’t even describe how helpful this post is. Yesterday, while playing a muni track in LA, I developed a case of the s-words at the 6th hole with essentially every iron in the bag that wasn’t called a wedge. Rather than panic and start breaking things (which would be my usual course of action), i figured out how to make sure the next shot was better – not perfect, but better. I managed around the course with a combination of driver, choked down hybrids, a wedge and a magical putter at 8 over. Considering i gave away 7 full swings to the hosel gods (each slightly more comical than the last), it was quite an achievement. And while ridiculously frustrating – I kept these thoughts in my head – they don’t have to be perfect shots – just try to make the next one better. It actually became a good challenge to try to make par from the ridiculous places i ended up on that course . . . .

    What a day. But fun. And i guess that’s the ultimate goal of all this, right?


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