Wednesday, April 23, 2008

10 Average Golfer Myths Debunked !

If you're like me you're an average golfer. You're handicap is probably 16-20, but in fact it's closer to 20-25. You see, we average golfers are generally fairly honest about the game. If we break a rule it's because we weren't aware of it. When we turn in scores to calculate our handicaps we drift on the side of reverse sandbagging to insure that whoever we're matched against is playing against our "best" game. We're avid players and devour golf magazines and record lessons on The Golf Channel. We enjoy playing with better players because we realize we might observe something to raise the levels of our own games. Consequently we're inundated with too much, and frequently conflicting information and advice. I'm here help you sort through that maze of advice that screws up our games. Let's do it.

1. You need the latest high tech driver. No you don't. What you need is an acceptable 450cc driver with 10.5, or preferably 11.5 degrees of loft. Your swing speed isn't high enough for less loft and the ball will launch better. There's great deals on last year's or used drivers. You also don't need a $150.00 Katsumatsu or whatever shaft. Whatever they do, you can't notice.

2. My average drive is 265 yds. No it's not and thinking that way affects how you play a hole. There was a survey done in real time at a Florida golf course. At the tee of a wide open fairway the players were asked to hit their drives and then guess the distance. Almost all of them overestimated by 30-40 yards. That error affects how you might play a par five by positioning your 3rd shot, the one that really counts. It also causes you to find hazards that are closer than you think you hit it. Fairways are always better than non-fairways.

3. I need to spin the ball. You can't spin the ball, on purpose. You don't have the precision to strike the ball first on every swing. You don't have the necessary club head speed and you're not playing on pro fairways. Their fairways are tighter than your greens. Even if you could back up a golf ball it's unpredictable. Better to hit to a distance you know and then calculate how much the ball will release to the hole.

4. I need a great swing. You'll never have a great swing. You started the game as an adult and you have a job. Players with great swings have that as their job. You do need a good swing. Good basic fundamentals like set up, grip, and ball position are key to any golfer. Weight transfer is often misunderstood. Work on those. You can have Tiger Wood's set up and grip. You can't have his swing. He's still using it.

5. I need to line up putts with surgical precision. No you don't. You need a general idea of how the putt breaks and how much swing to take based on distance. Find a spot on the break line mid way between you and the hole and let her go. Let the size of the swing dictate the speed. Other than that all swings with the putter should look the same. Miss, and you will, on the "high" side of the hole. Occasionally you'll get lucky and it'll drop in. Throw the other crap away. It clutters your mind and creates tension, the killer of golf swings.

6. I need $300.00 golf shoes. No you don't. The alligators don't think you do either. You don't create the torque to require shoes that cost more than my first car. $80.00 shoes are just fine and just as waterproof. I don't think any golf shoes are waterproof. Or, last year's $160.00 golf shoes for $80.00 works too.

7. I need to be a better wind player. Well, you may, but not by swinging harder. If it's pretty windy and will be for most of the day you have to approach the game with a different mind set. Take less back swing. Try a 50% back swing. It'll become a 75% back swing when you take the club back. All average golfers take a bigger swing than they realize. So, take the 50% and two extra clubs. Be smooth and pretend there's no wind. Be prepared for more roll because of the less lofted clubs. See, easy.

8. I need $45.00 per dozen golf balls. Throw your money away in the pond if you like, but here's the balls you need. 10-16 handicap, any $30.00 golf ball. 17-24 handicap, any mid $20.00 golf ball. 25+ handicap, any $16.00-$19.00 golf ball. Balls $15.00 and under are rocks. No one should play them. Balls are basically the same in their price categories. If I blindfold you, you won't know the difference.

9. I need a flop shot. No you don't. It creates more trouble than you started with. First of all you won't recognize when to hit one. Second, your municipal course rarely provides the lie for you to pull one off. Third, you never practice it. The idea around the greens is to get up and down. Your best chance at this is a chip or a pitch, shots you've already been hitting all day.

10. I just shot 84, here comes 79! Easy there. The lower your handicap gets the harder it is to lower it further. I don't mean to discourage, just be aware of that so frustration doesn't rear it's ugly head when your 84 is followed by a 92. Relish in your improvements and make then part of your everyday game. Be less concerned with score than with a sound, smooth swing and making good decisions while you play. Today's 84 can become a 79, but probably not tomorrow.

*These are the opinions of the author alone gleaned from thousands of swings and crazy rounds. They do not reflect necessarily the golfing community at large and are to be interpreted as such. The author is to be held harmless from any bodily injury or public embarrassment resulting from same.

Til' next,



  2. Thats a shame if you think this way. Some reasonable comments but you might as well just say you want people to quit playing, they are wasting their time. I've been practicing hard for 2 years.
    I consider myself average and DO get 265 or more consistently with my driver. I DO consistantly have spin when I need it. I DO have a flopshot, because I practice instead of just going out to play golf with buddies every day. And I do play the good balls.

    This article is aimed at too broad an audience.

  3. I appreciate you making the effort to comment.

    You're right, you don't fit into this category. Most "average" golfers do. They don't hit it 265, but 225. Their flop shots usually result in a skull or completely going under the ball. You practice, they don't. It is aimed at a broad audience. There's more of them than you.

    The idea is to simplify their games to achieve better results with the game they have now. If you notice, in #10, it says to incorporate new skills as you learn them into your game and improve from there. Many average players get stuck trying to emulate what they see the pros do on TV and what advice they read. It frustrates them when they realize they can't. Many beginner golfers quit the game early out of these frustrations.

    Congratulations on your improvements. You've worked hard for them.

    Swing hard, look up!


  4. Props for having a controlled comment, good words.

  5. Great post. Yeah, it's pretty much impossible to pidgeon hole everyone into a particular sterotype but save for the one in a hundred that really works on his game, you've pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    Now, if only I could come up with as meaningful a post.


  6. Oh, I'm sure you could come up with something even more interesting. This ain't rocket surgery.

    Send me your address. I'd love to check out your site.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. This made me laugh out loud! Oh so true. And taken in the right way, it should make people want to play even more. I loved it!

  8. Thanks, glad you got a chuckle! I was just trying to reduce the game to it's simplest elements. Hit it, find it, hit it again with the fewest obstacles in between.

  9. Good posts! Probably useful to avg golfers. When I was "average", I'd say these comments are right in line.

    It'd also be nice to show "what's next". For example:

    Once you're a 20 hcp, you can probably improve your scores most by concentrating on ...

    Once you're a 15, you can drop the most shots by working on ...

    Personally, I'm a 9 now and I think I could drop the most shots by improving my touch around the greens. If I could not slide the wedge under the ball half the time, I could drop another 3 shots a round.

    When I was a 20, I think the best advice would have been to not swing so hard and concentrate more on "fairways" not "distance".

    When I was a 28, I wish someone had told me to concentrate on my tempo/rhythm and forget distance. JUST focus on pure contact, form, timing, and hitting only with 80% power and the rest will come.

    Too often the high handicapper gets entrenched the habit of "swing harder to hit farther" and by the time they realize that's not right, they have two years of bad form and bad habits.

  10. You are correct. I've been playing a little more than 5 years and I play quite a bit and I'm a 13 hcp that's with all of my scores added not just the low ones. I play with all kinds and without fail they all play by there own rules. First of all I don't know how they are able to come up with a score at all with all of the 2 to 3 foot gimmes improving there lies and the free relief from any where on the course I.E the OB fence and HZR. And don't bring up mulligans. If the average player played by the rules they would add another 4-6 strokes to there score. They hit a few long drives and now that's there average they seem to forget the poor shots. It never fails when I play with someone for the 1st time there not as good as they described. Most golfer's live in a fantasy world.

  11. Replies
    1. You're retarded. You don't even know how to spell the word!

    2. Thanks for pointing that out. It carries more weight coming from another reader.

  12. Thanks for the well thought out assessment.

  13. so good quality equipment actually does make a difference. top of the line isn't necessary but dont cheap out

  14. hitting 84 after 6 months of golf, guess I am a natural

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