Friday, 4 September 2009

The Difference Between 91 and 111

20, duh. In golf terms, 20 shots, double duh. But how exactly do I add 20 shots to my score in the space of 9 days ?

First of all the 91. This came as quite a shock after fighting against something of a mental block about breaking 100. I had shot 99 a month previously, after doing my level best to choke by playing the last 3 holes in +8, but since then had been finding creative new ways not to break 100 again twice a week. Looking back to the 91, I don't remember playing many particularly good shots - I just played a lot fewer bad ones. I missed a couple of putts and put a tee shot out of bounds on the 16th [1] which I pretty much always do anyway. That was about it. After going out in 44 (+7 for 9 holes) I was well on course to break 90, but tightened up a little bit in the stretch and ended up with the 91. Still pretty damn good and it's not every day you take 8 shots off your best score.

After trumpeting that on Facebook, Pete B warned me about hubris, and correctly so, but I thought the 103 in the next round wasn't too much of a problem. The interesting thing about the 91 was I left the driver at home and played all the par 4/5 tee shots with a 3-wood. Not surprisingly, this resulted in fewer tee shots out of bounds. In the meantime though I was practising with the driver and thought I was playing it well enough to give it a spin today. That resulted in four tee shots OOB for an immediate +8, and another three sufficiently errant to require a sideways second shot, although I scrambled a shot back on two of those around the green. Chuck in six 3-putts and a 4-putt (I know) and that's 19 shots. And 111 minus 19 would be 92.

When you think about playing golf well you have a mental picture of sending drives 250 yards and crisp fairway irons arcing towards the flag. But that kind of thing is much less important when it comes to scoring than just hitting the fairway and 2-putting the greens. I liken it to poker tournaments (expect much more of that in this blog) ; everyone thinks it's the big bluff and setting up the guy to call when you have the nuts when in fact it's mostly about good fundamentals and knowing how to play a short stack. Here's a quote I found that didn't help me with a blog title but it nails what we're talking about here :

"I just try to put it on the fairway, then the green and not three putt. - Peter Thompson"

And that's to shoot par ! All I have to do to shoot 90 is put it on the fairway, around the green, chip it on and not three putt. Sounds a lot easier than it is. It will, however, be easier if I can manage to leave the driver in the bag when there's any danger (whether due to the layout of the hole or the way I'm playing) of going out of bounds. It's worth giving up 30 yards just to play the second shot off the fairway. Then when I get around 90 every week, instead of once in a blue moon, I can think about hitting it further.

[1] Yes, it looks simple enough, but what that picture leaves out is that the tee is at about half past four looking at a clock face.

1 comment:

  1. I played with an old boy once (remember Jimmy Savile's Radio 1 producer, "Dignified Don"? Him). I cheerfully sprayed it all aover the place, long and wild, ending up with something like 108. Don never hit it more than about 150 yards, never missed a fairway never broke sweat and shot 90.

    20-odd years later, I'm just starting to get it, but I've still never broken 90.