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Opening Drive: Golf Is Hard But Score Not Always the Measuring Stick

There are many ways to rate your golf game (Photo: Scott MacLeod)

It’s been an odd start to the golf season within the region. Later than normal, yes, but that did not seem to temper people’s expectations of their golf games.

Not only are many golfers just getting in their first month of swipes outside, but travel abroad and indoor golf was also largely absent for many due to the pandemic.

Even so, we all expect to be in summer form, because, well, it’s summer.

Of course, how we judge our golf ability is pretty much baked into the game itself. Most times we play we have a scorecard that showcases a rating of our success on the day. Yes, that score, and lowering it, is ultimately what many of us chase but as a coach, I don’t believe it is the only way to measure progress.

I say this because I see people that are way too hard on themselves. Scores are black and white, but golf success really has many shades. Just like we can hit a great shot and make birdie, we can get the same result via a lucky bounce or an unintended accident. A scorecard values them the same but we know the one that we controlled is a better reflection of skill and progress.

This is not to say we should always play without a scorecard, although I recommend it sometimes just so you can enjoy the game of golf, the people around you, and the surrounds. I am going to suggest that you think about measuring your success in a different way than numbers alone. That may also help many of you who get anxious about your score and have the tendency to think ahead.

So here are two alternates. One is that we simply rate each shot on a scale of 1-10 and mark that down, attempting to improve on that each time we play. We could also assign ourselves a “star” ever time we hit what we consider a good shot and try to collect as many as possible.

The final one is inspired by a friend who posted it on social media. Just keep a scorecard that has emojis for how you played each hole. Smiley faces, frowns, whatever you like. This one is great for kids, and big kids.

Take a fresh look at how you judge your game and I think it may change your outlook.

You can also use this method just to rate a part of your game that you are working on. Putting, for example.

Which brings us to this month’s issue and the feature. Putting is a critical part of scoring and is something anyone can do with sufficient ability. It does not require extreme athletic talents.

An essential in your putting success will be a proper tool to do the job. In this month’s feature we showcase some of the many putters on the market today. They cover the gamut of pricing, shapes, styles, feels, and looks.

Be sure to spend some extra time choosing your putter; it’s the most used club in your bag.

A month into our season here in Ontario (and a little more in Quebec) I just wanted to thank all of you for your continued readership, listenership, and viewership. We’ve recorded record traffic on Flagstick.com the last few months and I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate the support.

Continued success to all for the season ahead.

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