Golf: How To Plan Your Golf Shots

If you are expecting to learn how to plan golf shots, then you will be disappointed, because it is obvious from my play yesterday, that I really don’t know how. However, I have a very good excuse, at least for now, why I am so bad at it. It’s like someone writing a book about how to be able to run a 4 minute mile. The vast majority of people, no matter how much they followed the instructions in the book, would never be able to run a mile in 4 minutes. Time would be the enemy. The same could be said about planning golf shots, especially shots that are approaching the green and around the green. Tee shots on par 4’s and 5’s do not have to be near as precise, but even those shots you have to have some idea of how you want to play the hole. If you watch professional golf on TV one of the complaints recently is slow play. Slow play in professional golf is not from standing over the ball too long or poor shots, but from how long it takes these players to figure out what type of shot they are going to hit and reading putts. If lower handicap players even took half as much time, they would be banned from the course on about the 6th hole. Many times you can hear these discussions on the telecast. They could be anywhere from about 160 yards in from the green and they are talking in single yards. The caddy might say something like hit it 147 yards. The player may come back with what about 149. They check the wind, the lie, and where the pin exactly is. Even with all this time spent and help from the caddy, they still seem to make some kind of miscalculation more often than not. Now, let’s look at my warped thinking from yesterday where I spent a maximum of 30 to 45 seconds trying to figure out what shot to hit in less than ideal conditions.

I am not going to go through all of the shots but what I consider the key ones that affected my thinking. I had just come off making a double bogey on the 1st hole because I hit my second shot about 5 to 10 yards left of where I was supposed to hit it and this resulted in my ball going about 30 yards down a steep embankment. I hit a decent drive on 2 and had about 120 yards to the middle of the green but dead uphill and I was in the rough with only a fair lie. The wind was helping a little but between the cold temperatures and how much uphill it was I decided to hit a 9 iron which I usually hit about 140. I expected not to make great contact. I hit the shot exactly how I thought I would and it looked like it barely got over the hill onto the green. But when I got to the green I was at least 30 to 40 feet over the green. This led me to be short on the next 7 approach shots. The first one was a bit of a mishit but the rest were hit solid but came up short because of wind or elevation or both. By the time I got to the 17th hole a par 3 of about 125 yards I took my 48 degree wedge and crushed it 50 feet past the pin. I hit a good drive on 18 but was on a downhill lie in the rough with a good lie and I was 95 yards to the middle of the green. I took my 58 degree wedge, played it back in my stance and expected it to come out lower than normal with some run on it. I hit it higher than expected and it squirted a little right and I missed the green. If I had made better decisions, I would have easily broken 80 and maybe came close to 75. Would I have done better if I took 4 to 5 minutes like they do on TV to decide what shot I am going to hit? I really don’t know or do I care. If I took that long to decide, I would probably be playing alone all the time. So, what’s a mother to do?

At this point, I really do not know. This was one of my better ball striking rounds of the early year. The score, however, sucked. If I had made the proper decision on 14 out of 18 holes I would have shot in the mid 70’s with no problem. This will be the main focus of my golf game for a while, making a better shot plan. I am not sure how I am going to do it but I know I have to do it in under 60 seconds. We will see how my scores go in the next few weeks.

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