Golfers have a love hate relationship with the scorecard, don’t you think? The scorecard is your guide to the round. Sometimes, if we’re not scoring that day, it’s simply the map to the next hole. If we do take the pencil to it, it feels like it’s a report card; marked up, never erased and NEVER left on the golf cart by mistake!
The scorecard doesn’t have to cause a spike in the heart rate and rapid breathing. It is there as a guide, a place to write the names of your friends and to see your improvement as you play. The scorecard can be your friend in many ways. Here are a few strategies to make the scorecard work FOR you and not seemingly against you.
The first strategy is to decide why you’re out there playing in the first place. Sometimes we golf for the pure social aspect of the game. We’re meeting friends we haven’t seen in a while, plan to chat and catch up while we play and just enjoy being outside on a beautiful day. If this is the scenario for you when you head out to the tee, then reframe your expectations on scoring. Yes, we all want to play well, make good shots, drain long putts (and short ones too!) and perform to the best of our ability. However, when we are less focused on the game of golf and all it encompasses and are more focused on the social component, then you have to be realistic with your scoring expectations.
If you’ve decided that today is the day you are going to do the absolute best to score as low as you can, than the second strategy is something you might want to try. During my Futures Tour days, I worked with Annette Thompson, coach/sports psychologist. She shared this fantastic piece of scoring strategy with me and I’ve spread the word ever since. It’s a great way to keep things balanced. Break up your one round of 18 holes into 6 rounds consisting of 3 holes each. Draw heavy lines to mark where each round ends and the new rounds start. After your first round (holes 1-3) you’re on to the next round. You are either going to build on a good round and continue the momentum or if your first round wasn’t the best, you get to start fresh on round number two. In the end, by turning one round of eighteen holes into six rounds of three holes each, the pressure to score on all 18 holes gets diminished and your potential for success builds.
Finally, the third strategy is from the world of the touring professional. Tour players want the ball to go in the hole in the fewest strokes possible. They play their very best every time they tee it up and they don’t try to fix their swing during the round, they just play. If a ball hits a tree because of an overzealous fade and bounces to the middle of the fairway, they go to it and hit their next shot. If they’ve been hitting a bigger than normal fade that day, they play that shot shape to the best of their ability during the round and head to the range after the round to work it out. Remember, you’re playing the game of golf, not golf swing, so while you’re on the course, focus on the whole game. You can work out the swing issues on the range when the round is complete.Tour players know better than anyone that a ball in the fairway, even after hitting a tree, is a very good thing with some fantastic luck sprinkled in! Gary Player once said, “the harder you work, the luckier you get!”…I would certainly agree!
I hope these scorecard strategies help you enjoy the game more! If you have a suggestion for a topic, feel free to let me know! Happy Golfing!