….. if you want to play a successful competitive round of golf. The following three tips are authenticated by my performance on Tuesday in the weekly Stableford with the Chilworth seniors.
1. Don’t rehearse the round on the range. Now, playing an imagined round, using the clubs required for the various shots on each hole, is often advised as a way of avoiding monotony on the driving range, and I’m sure it’s very good for that. But it doesn’t seem to help as preparation for playing a real round. On the range on Monday evening every tee shot flew an arrow-straight country mile and all my approach shots described an accurate arc before landing on target. The next morning, however, I was abject off the tee, abysmal on the putting surface, and woeful in between.
The only shot I seemed capable of playing with any degree of conviction was a 30 to 60 yard approach with the lob wedge, which I executed successfully on a number of holes. The best example was perhaps on the 16th, when I played to perfection a delicate flop over the bunker to a pin set just a few yards behind said bunker. I duly missed the three footer I left myself. ‘Nuff said.
2. Don’t warm up before the round. As I was in the fifth group of the first tee, I took advantage of the delay to grab a bucket of 20 balls to hit on the range, thinking that I would then arrive on the tee already in the groove, with a fully functional swing and raring to go. Think again. 20 poorly hit balls later, I arrived in haste at the first and sliced my first drive.
3. Don’t take it one shot at a time. That is what I had promised myself I would do, and that I wouldn’t think about strokes per hole or the potential for Stableford points. A lot of good it did me. Focusing on each and every awful shot got a bit depressing after a while, it has to be said. Next time I’ll go for the score, I think.
So there we have it. Want to shoot a good round? Turn up without preparation or warm up and think about the scorecard. That’s what I’ll be doing from now on.