Take 10 shots off your score!

If you think that sounds like one of those too good to be true offers that require you to flex your credit card in exchange for the secret of how to play consistently good golf, you’d be right. It does sound like it. But it isn’t. Instead, it’s merely my musings on how I might have reduced yesterday’s humdrum score by said 10 shots with a little bit more care and attention.

Yesterday morning, in perfectly decent conditions – course drying out after recent wet weather, cloudy and cool, with little in the way of a breeze – I shot a 96. Yes, there were a couple of horror holes in there, but for the most part the golf was as grey as the day itself, dull and unremarkable. Which made me wonder: how could I have taken ten shots off my score, making for a rather more respectable round in the mid 80s?


So how to identify the ten shots I could have done without? I decided not to include the genuinely bad shots, like the couple of wildly sliced iron shots from the fairway, or the tee shots I put into bunkers on two of the par threes. Rather, I set out to identify the silly little wasted shots that cost me my claim to shoot in the 80s. I did find ten of them, and here they are.

(1)  A simple bogey putt missed on the 14th (we started our round on the 10th), having got things back together following a tee shot that found the adjoining fairway.
(2)  A fluffy chip on the 16th à la recent Tiger Woods.
(3)  The short putt for par missed on the 18th green.
(4)  Failing to take enough club to reach the green for my third shot on the par 5 1st.
(5)  Three putting on the par 3 2nd, having just played a nice tee shot to reach the green.
(6)  Pitching short to the 3rd green for no good reason.
(7)  Burying my ball with a fairway wood as I topped my second shot on the par 5 4th.
(8)  Taking three putts on the 6th following a nice shot over the pond to the green.
(9)  Being too ambitious on my second shot on the par 4 8th and connecting with a tree.
(10) Taking a hybrid rather than an iron when my ball was lying in a divot, with the inevitable result.

So there we have it. I could quite easily have shaved 10 shots off my score with a little bit more thought, a shade less ambition and, critically, a steadier hand on the putter and, indeed, the wedge. There are clearly lessons to be learned from this. Will I be a dutiful student? Next week’s scorecard will provide the evidence.


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