Where do I see most amateurs wasting strokes? When I say wasting, I am not counting strokes lost due to hitting bad shots (which is natural for every golfer). I am talking about stokes that are given away due to lack of course management.
I would say 95%+ of all amateurs I have played with have a warped view of what a good shot is for them and it is the fault of golf announcers.
How many times have you heard Johnny Miller (it’s all golf announcers, but Miller is the biggest offender) say that a player is not happy with a shot that ends up 10-15 feet from the pin on a shot from a distance of like 125 yards.
Statistically, that is an excellent shot from that distance, even for a Tour player. Fact is the winner each week on the PGA Tour has an average distance from the hole in regulation of up to 40 feet, it is usually in the 30’s, and almost never in the 20’s. The guys at the bottom of the field missing the cut are averaging 60 feet or more.
I think I once saw the average distance a shot for 100 yards finishes from the hole on the PGA Tour is 22 feet.
I once kept track of my friend, who was a 3 at the time, when he shot 75…it was over 100 feet. I wanted to prove a point to him.
I also kept track of something else a few years ago. I played in a 4-some and kept a notebook during the round. Using verbal and body language reactions, I kept track of what 4 different golfers would have shot if you added up the expectations of each individual shot.
I shot 68 and would have shot 64.
Player #2 shot 76 and his expectations added up to 64.
Player #3 shot 78 and his expected score was 58.
Player #4 shot 84 and his cumulative expectation was 52.
What is the point of all of this statistical nonsense? What is the point I wanted to prove to my friends?
Amateur golfers have an incredibly unrealistic expectation of individual shots and much of the blame is on the golf media. If you have the perfect swing, you will hit every shot perfect…and when we watch golf on TV, we find out it is only a good shot if it is inside 5-feet.
These unrealistic expectations lead to:
1. Attempting shots they are not capable of pulling of.
2. Getting frustrated with adequate shots and developing a negative attitude.
3. Tinkering with ones golf swing after every shot that doesn’t split the fairway or end up in gimme range.
ALL BAD!!!! For having fun and for shooting good scores.
The US Open was the perfect analogous situation for amateurs to learn about expectations. The conditions in the US Open for the best players in the world, line up with the conditions most amateurs play in on a day to day basis.
During the Open at Pebble Beach all you heard was:
“He can’t play near this pin.”
“Even though he is in the fairway and has a short iron is his hands, just hitting it on the green would be a good shot.”
“That tee shot missed the fairway, but it was still a good shot considering…”
Realistic expectations lead to less frustration, more fun and…LOWER SCORES
So the next time you hear Johnny Miller call a 9-iron to 18 feet a poor shot, throw a crumpled up piece of paper at the TV…
…and the next time you hang your head in shame when you pull a 7-iron 30 feet left of a back right pin…remember, that shot is better than the tour average this week for all 7-iron shots.