Advice For the Golf Beginner

On Sunday we watch the world's best golfers make amazing shots. How does watching them make us better golfers? Do we need to hit 300 yard drives and make thirty foot putts? How manyClub and Ball(86318) times will we ever hit a hole in one? To improve we must set measurable goals that we can meet.

If any professional makes an 8 on a hole, they are humbled. I average 7 strokes on a par 5. Beginning golfers should not worry about 8s, it's 10s they want to avoid. Remember the pro wants to break 70, you want to see 100. You need to understand your own goals, not the pro's or your buddy's. Par is a concept that applies to scratch golfers, not you.

A pro can break 70 with 3 birdies and 15 pars. They plan their rounds by identifying potential birdie holes. Have you ever thought about a round on your favorite course? Did you think about a reasonable score on each separate hole? What is the total you would achieve if you played that round?

To break 100 you must average five and one half shots per hole. Some one is thinking: “Show me how to score half a shot on a hole and I will do that!” Let's see, you can't! Please notice I said average. On half the par 4s you score 5 and on the other half you score 6. That averages out to five and one half.

Now let's assume a par 72 course with four par 5s and four par 3s. On half the par 5s you score 6 and on half you score 7. On half the par 3s you score 4 and on half you score 5. Now let's add that all up. Two par 5s at 6 equals 12 strokes. Plus two par 5s at 7 equals 14 (12 plus 14 equals 26) Two par 3s at 4 equals 8 strokes. Plus two par 3s at 5 equals 10 strokes. (8 plus 10 equals 18 and 18 plus 26 equals 44)

Did you hate math in school? I am sorry, we are almost done. You played four par 5s and four par 3s for a total of 44 strokes. 44 strokes divided by 8 total holes played is: five and one half strokes per hole. I know it feels like we just balanced the national debt.

Now for the magic. If you multiply 18 holes of golf times five and one half strokes per hole you get 99 strokes for one round of golf. Congratulations you just broke 100 on your favorite course.

Did you notice that you only have to average bogey and one half shots per hole to break 100? Guess what if you learn to average bogey golf you will break 90. Please check my math.

This is not a plan but a way to think. Beginners tend to beat themselves up over a bad hole. Pros look at a disappointing hole and start thinking ahead to the next potential birdie hole. Let's look at a plan.

Goals don't make themselves, improve your skills. Goals never hit straight drives or putts.

Make you goals within reach of your existing skill set. Straighter drives won't save you 20 shots per round, but they might save 5. So might better putting. Improve one part of you game at a time. If you average over 120 shots per round, then work to get to 110.

Remember that par is a target for scratch golfers. Add enough strokes to that number to get your proper target. Now relax and compare your score to a fair estimate of your skill.

Now what happens when you do score the dreaded snowman(8)? There will be no floggings on the golf course today, unless you do it to yourself. You need to have one more good hole than you planned on, that's all. The pros think this way after every disappointing hole.

Beginning golfers struggle more on par 5s than any other hole. It takes 3 or 4 good shots just to get on the green. A par 3 still just needs one. Don't let that bother you. Learn to play par 3s smoothly and let the par 5s just happen. It's part of your plan. Pros look forward to par 5s and we hate them.

Enjoy the game. It's always more fun than going to work.