Golf Tips: Why Keeping Score isn’t Always Important

In today’s edition of golf tips, we look into why keeping score isn’t always important in an effort to become a better golfer.

I’ll start off by saying that if you are going to enter your score for your handicap, are playing with something on the line, or are playing in a tournament, then being completely honest with your scorecard is of the utmost importance. In this version of golf tips, I am talking about the road to improving as a golfer, and why keeping score in that scenario isn’t always important.

There are plenty of golfers, who when they head out to the course, are mainly focused on one thing. The score that is going to be on their card at the end of the round.

This is fine if you are going to be posting a score for your handicap, or have a wager on the round with your buddies. In those cases, by all means, keep your score, and keep it honest. Whether it is a 76 or a 126, honesty is paramount when it comes to the scorecard.

There are other times where being so involved in your scorecard can become a detriment. That is when you are out on the course and trying to get better as a golfer. I don’t mean you are trying to get more rounds in. I mean you are working on something in particular and trying to change it for the better to improve your game. That’s what these golf tips are focused on.

The one that comes to mind for me, because it is something I focus on whenever it occurs, is when I get a new wedge. Especially when it is a different degree/loft than I am used to. I will still keep score and keep stats on my round, but it’s more of a marker of how I’m progressing, instead of an indicator of my skill.

I switched from a 52-degree to a 56-degree wedge a few years ago. For the first few rounds I played, I cared less about my score than the NFL does about player safety. Okay, maybe not less, but probably the same amount.

I hit a lot of shots short. Almost all of them. You get a feel for your wedge, and it’s hard to break out of it when you change to a different degree. My scores were higher. That didn’t mean I was a worse golfer all of a sudden. It didn’t really mean anything. I was trying to learn how to play a new club.

If you have something that you are focusing on during a round, forget about what the scorecard is telling you. If you are normally six over at the turn, and instead find yourself 12 over, don’t fret. You know deep down that isn’t an indicator of your skill. So don’t let it bother you. You are out there to improve on a skill on the course.

Doing it on the range can only help so much. You need to see how it feels on the course, and how the change in the play comes out when you have a more tangible goal in mind. Heck, sometimes it’s okay to treat the course like the range, as long as you aren’t holding anyone up. That includes your group as well.

Have a new 5-iron? Hit a few shots from wherever you are at each time with it. New 3-wood? Tee it up an extra time once in a while so you can get a better feel for it. The same goes for the short game, and that takes even less time. Hit extra pitches and chips. Take extra putts.

If you still can’t get over the whole “scorecard” part of golf, there is even a good compromise, one that I have done plenty of times, and have encouraged other people who are with me to do when they are working on something. It’s a good way for nearly everyone to incorporate today’s golf tips.

Play your first ball all round as your “scorecard” ball. The extra ones you hit after that can be your practice ones. The ones that are helping to improve your skill. Why not give yourself the extra confidence. Yeah, your legit ball was a double-bogey on that hole. the two extra ones you played though? They were par and bogey. You know the skill and ability is there, it’s just going to take some practice to get there.

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Very few of us are going to make money playing golf. Take your time. Enjoy your round. Golf is supposed to be fun, don’t get in the way of that.