My secret to playing better more satisfying golf

Time to pause at the quarterly mark of the golf season and evaluate how my improvement plan has performed to date and check my readiness to hit the meat of the summer schedule.  I’m happy to report it’s working better than expected and I’m enjoying myself more than ever on the golf course.  My desire to get better more consistent ball striking was the secret sauce of satisfaction.  It’s great to come out to the course confident that you will hit solid shots with consistency.  The off-season conditioning program has clearly helped strengthen my core and allowed for better execution without extra practice or lessons.  In fact, I have not hit balls once with the intent on working on my swing, and have just let the physical changes drive the swing improvements.  I’m playing about once per week, practicing a little less, and feel more refreshed.  I planned to add a mid-week nine holes but that has not materialized.

The KPI I’m most concerned with is greens in regulation, with the goal of averaging 11 per round.  Through eight rounds, I’m not there but have hit or exceeded 10 GIRs five times.   For the first eight rounds in the last five years, my 10+ GIR stats were:

2011:  3 for 8

2010:  1 for 8

2009:  0 for 8

2008:  0 for 8

2007:  4 for 8

The trend is good and the major change I’m enjoying is more length off the tee.  I’ve been able to maintain a solid spine angle and clear my left hip much quicker on the downswing which has improved my timing and balance.  Oddly, I’ve struggled in my scoring on the par-5s as the added length has left me in layup/go for it situations I’m not used to.  In years past, my strategy was to lay back to 100 yards for an unimpeded wedge to the green.  Now if I go for it, I’m dealing with awkward greenside plays that often include low percentage long bunker shots.  Guess more short game work will be required to leverage the distance off the tee, but it’s a great problem to have.

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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4 Responses to My secret to playing better more satisfying golf

  1. Love the progress and the way you are looking at your goals. Once you get used to scrambling more on the reachable Par 5s I am sure you will see your scoring improve. Also, it must be at least a little bit fun to have a new part of your game to work on. Since you have had the 100 yard wedge for so long, now you can look at it as adding shots to your game.

  2. brianpenn says:

    Yes, this is a good challenge for me. I never practiced my sand game much because I don’t hit into a lot of bunkers with the exception of my trips to Myrtle Beach. I find there that I hit into a lot of sand and my bunker game really comes around at the end of the week from all the reps. My short game practice will have to change because par-5s usually are protected in front by one or two bunkers. I also need to relearn the par fives on my usual tracks because I never concerned myself much with the obstacles inside 100 yards; that’s the big change.

  3. James Silvestro says:

    “I am intrigued by the game to no end ”
    How intrigued ?
    Here is the real secret to improving your golf.
    Take a look at your last 5 competitive rounds.
    Total the number of shots you were over par for these rounds.
    Now count the number of shot you were over par for your double + bogies.
    Depending on the level you play at, what you will find is that the double + bogies you make will account for between 50% and 60% of the total shots you are over par.
    Two or three holes each round will dictate your score. It is like the tail wagging the dog .
    So how do we stop making double bogies ?
    Now that’s the interesting part.

    • Brian Penn says:

      James, I think you have hit the nail on the head. The secret is that avoiding disaster is more beneficial to score than throwing up birdies because there are far more disasters than birdies in a normal round. Thanks for the interesting perspective and for stopping by!

      Brian

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