Improve Your Scores One Shot at a Time Golf Lessons from Scott Newhouse

Golfer's Guide instruction by Scott Newhouse

Scott NewhouseIs it possible to play one shot at a time? Can you do it? Let’s look at a few ways we can improve our scores.

Some of us play better when we are mad and can channel this anger into focus and drive. Some of us do our best to stay positive and relaxed to let the “good golf” come out. Obviously we do not play our best every round and there are times when we need to play conservatively because certain fairways or hole locations do not fit our eye or our ball flight. It is good to have a green light red light philosophy. We are all familiar with our own personal ball flight and we need to keep our ball flight in mind when we are negotiating our way around the course. Remember, no matter what our handicap is, not every shot is going to be the “shot of the day”. I’m not going to dabble into the conscious mind versus the subconscious; I will leave that up to the physiologists.  But I will state that you have to reward yourself with expressions to reinforce your successes and do your best to forget the bad shots as quickly as possible.

There are truly two ways of playing your best golf; one is to play without thought. Before you know it, the round is over and your new best score has appeared on the card. Unfortunately this process can also lead to your highest round ever, so let’s talk of a more practical way. Focusing on when to be aggressive, when to play conservative - and playing the game within the game.

The game within the game is the fairways, greens and two-putt method. Look forward to each challenge and know that you have prepared for it. The best advice I’ve ever received was from Paul Thomas, former professional at Zanesville CC near Columbus, Ohio. PT always said to play each round like it is a tournament. What he meant was to always play with the same mindset. That way, when you find yourself in the club championship or any other event, you will be comfortable with the situation.  Never find yourself saying “I would have never hit that shot if I were in a tournament”. Personally, I am not a very aggressive player. I love to lay up on par 5’s (unless I am hitting an iron to them) because an unreachable par 5 is really a wedge par 3. By hitting two decent shots and leaving yourself a good yardage you will have a wedge in your hand to a green you cannot miss.

I also start each round with a plan, but during the round the plan has to be adaptable. If I am hitting the ball precisely where I want, every time, I may change my philosophy to become more aggressive. On the other hand, if I’m struggling to hit the ball solid and my direction is off, I will become very conservative. This may change once or many times during the round. My job as a golfer is to recognize when I have to make the change.

As silly as it may sound, it does take 4 shots to make a par on a par 4.  For example, it takes an okay tee shot, an airborne iron that finds the green and a couple of putts and there you have it, PAR! It is not always bombing it off the tee to a yardage that you have not practiced. Also, most birdies are made with the putter. So put the ball in play, get it up near the green, or on it, and try to roll it in. I know most of this has been written for those that are 0-15 handicappers, but it is truly all relative. How can we turn 7 into 6? Or 6 into 5? That is the goal! Where can you save shots?

While being conservative doesn’t always allow for the lowest score, it does give you the opportunity to play the game within the game. Execution will give you the round you are looking for. If you need help with your execution please see your local PGA Professional or call us at The TwinEagles Club, we all love to teach!

Don’t forget to visit us at The TwinEagles Club! Our Talon course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus Jr. opened in 1999 and is the current host of the Champions Tour’s Ace Group Classic which is held in February. Our newest golf course, The Eagle, opened in January 2012. The Eagle was designed by Steve Smyers and is the current site for the LPGA Tour’s CME Group Titleholders Championship scheduled for November 15th. Call us at 239.352.2121 for more information.

See you at the Club!

Scott Newhouse – Director of Golf


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