How to know when to change something in your golf game

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” Deepak Chopra

By Ian Hardie

Recently I had a game of golf which resulted in a very poor score

Much higher than what I would normally have

I didn’t really do anything badly – I made nothing worse than a bogey

Although there was an awful lot of them.

12 to be exact.

I just didn’t do anything really good either – no birdies or eagles – just pars on the other 6 holes

I made very few putts over 3 feet long – one to be exact

It was the sort of game a lot of golfers have every week

And it got me to thinking

That most golfers would react to a game where they scored much higher than usual

By trying to work out what they ‘did wrong’

And then changing something in their game

But that’s not how I viewed that high score

I took some time to think about everything that had contributed to it.

Firstly, the weather conditions

It was a very windy day with the wind direction a little different than normal at the course

Which made a lot of approach the shots subject to strong crosswinds

13 out of the 18 holes in fact.

This meant the course was playing considerably more difficult than normal.

Secondly, my physical state

I had been doing some heavy landscaping work around my home a few days beforehand

As well as spending the morning before playing doing all sorts of physical things

So my body was feeling quite tight and inflexible

In fact my back which I had re-injured a month or so ago (see here)

Was not allowing me to turn through the ball much until about halfway through the round

If you want a little golf analysis – I was hitting weak push fades.

Not the ideal shot to be hitting in strong winds.

Or anytime really!

Thirdly, my current form

My previous game was 10 days earlier – a reasonable round at one over par

Consisting of 11 pars, 4 bogeys and 3 birdies.

During which I had hot a lot of good shots and holed some good putts

So coming into the round, I had no concerns about my game.

However, I had only done one practice session in between – of about an hour’s duration – a few days before playing

Which isn’t normally enough for me to hold form over time.

When you look at all that it is hardly surprising that I scored poorly on the round.

Which I accepted of course (read here to see what I am talking about) as a golfer should

Looking back now, I probably should have gone and hit some practice balls

Instead of playing

A choice I discussed in the post Play or practice some time ago

But getting back to my point above;

That is not how most golfers would view a game like that

They would no doubt spend a significant amount of time deciding whether the poor round was due to their grip

Or their left elbow

Or whatever other body parts they think they can have control of when hitting shots

And once they had figured this out

They would rush out to the range or the course

And change something

Which would create a new set of problems

And on it goes

Play poorly

Change something

Different problems

Still playing poorly

Change something else

Another set of problems

Still playing poorly

Change something………

And finally

Another frustrated golfer ready to give up golf

So next time you have a round of golf in which you score poorly

Before you do anything else

Take some time to sit for a few minutes and consider everything that would have contributed to that performance in the 2 weeks leading up to your game

Did all the other things you have to do in everyday life contribute to your score?

Did you have great preparation?

Was the weather poor – cold, raining or windy?

Did you play at a different time than normal?

Were you in top physical state?

How about your mental state – were you ‘ready to play’?

Or did you rush to the course and jump on the tee?

Were there any significant shot problems – like shanks, tops, and hooks?

Or did you just hit a bunch of shots that were ok but not great?

Nine times out of ten

Your poor round will be a result of a combination of some or all of the above factors

Some of which you will be able to control

And some of which you probably won’t be able to

But none of them would indicate a need to change anything in your game

It just means you are human and playing a game

Which on that day wasn’t so good

And it happens to all of us occasionally

Play well

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