Think like a caddy
How can I lower my score? This question has to be one of the most requested calls for help I hear from golfers. Golfers come to me as a last resort, usually after spending hundreds and in some cases, thousands on technical coaching and new equipment all to no avail. Well here's a technique that I'm happy to share with you, to get you thinking like a caddy on the golf course. All too often we get hung up fixating on our score when playing. This certainly doesn't help us to perform at our best, in actual fact, it simply adds to the stress and tension, making matters worse, instead of better. The mental side of the game is critically important if you want to be able to play your best. If we were fortunate enough to have a caddy to walk round with us when we played, I guarantee you would score much lower than you do on your own. The reason being, they will get you to follow good course management, instead of taking on risky shots. If you were to take a look at the winning scores on previous PGA Tours, the common theme on statistics, would show each winner did it by playing the least amount of bogeys and the least amount of 3 putts. We all fall foul of thinking its about getting the most birdies in a round, but in actual fact its not. As amateur players we all play far too aggressively especially in strokeplay. Taking on risky shots, or shooting for the pin, regularly results in a poor score. So here's a cute technique I came across a few years ago, to get you to focus on the scoring zone rather chasing the score. Its all down to good course management and a strong short game. Let me explain in more detail. There are 2 basic rules;
Get yourself within 100 yards or less of the green and
Get down from this position in 3 shots.
Lets give you an example - Taking a par 4 hole of say 254 yards.
Q1 - Can you get within less than a 100 yards of the green in 2 shots? - Yes/No
Q2 - From this position can you get down in 3 shots (e.g. requiring say a chip and 2 putts). - Yes/No
If you succeeded in both you will have bogeyed the hole. Now I'm sure no matter what your handicap, there will be a hole that you dread, that gives you grief every time you play it. Using this technique will guarantee a bogey at the worst.
If you took this technique and used it for every hole and focused purely on the two questions I guarantee you will start shooting lower scores. Stop adding up your score just simply attempt to achieve the 2 basic rules. In fact adapt your scorecard to capture this data only and not your score. Here's an example on 4 holes I completed
Remember don't capture your score, simply give yourself a tick if you got into the scoring zone (less than 100 yards from the green) or a X if you failed. Give yourself a tick if you got down from 100 yards or less in 3 shots and a X if you failed. Count the number of putts taken on each hole.
By not thinking about your score, it removes the tension of chasing the magic number. Focusing on getting into the scoring zone makes you think about the shot you should play, just like a caddy would advise you.
In addition to this making you play as if you have a caddy with you, it also highlights how good or bad your short game is. Trust me this is where tournaments and club competitions are won. You can take the information and create a training plan to improve on your weak areas and what better areas to work on whilst we are in lockdown. Next week I'll give you some exercises and games you can play to get ready for when we can compete again.
Hope you found this blog interesting, if you would like help and more information on this process please get in touch. Drop me an email and let me know what you think, I would love to hear from you. Visit our website and check out our other blogs, there's something in there for everyone.