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Course Strategy 101: Expectations on the Course

We have talked briefly about targets, dispersion, and how to apply a proper course strategy so far in Course Strategy 101, but now we need to look at expectations. Too many golfers head to the first tee with unrealistic expectations. They think that they are going to birdie every hole or shoot their lowest score ever. You may have a great strategy but without proper expectations you will give up the minute you make one mistake.

If you saw my post about putting, you will know that PGA Tour pros only make 50% of their 8 foot putts. If they can only make half of their putts from that distance, why do you get frustrated when you miss? You will have seen this chart in my chipping challenge, but it is a great visual for what you could expect for your handicap.

Let’s take a look at this chart, if you are a 9 handicap golfer you can expect to hit only 6 greens. Most of the time when you miss the green, you miss in a spot where you can get up and down 46% of the time. I see it all the time, a golfer will miss the first few greens and will start being more aggressive with their strategy. This is recipe for disaster.

Expectations and Handicap

I won’t go in too much detail here, but having understanding your average score versus your handicap will help you have more realistic expectations when playing. A few years ago I sent this document to my members and it is still pertinent now. I suggest you download this document if you are curious why you struggle to shoot your handicap.

What to Expect

There are many ways to keep track of your stats. You can use club trackers like Arccos Golf or Game Golf, apps like GolfLogix, or go old school and use pen and paper. No matter how you do it, I recommend keeping your stats. Now putts per round can be skewed based on how many greens you hit which is why I will cover my favorite stats to keep track of in a future blog. But in the meantime, look at how many greens you hit, your up and down percentage, and how often you lose stroke (penalty strokes, having to take two chips to get on, three putts).

Once you start looking at your stats you can identify areas of weakness as well as what to expect on the course. By creating realistic expectations for yourself, you will be able to shoot lower scores. Don’t force birdies and don’t try to make putts. Just let them happen.

We will continue these small lessons on Course Strategy 101 and will be posting the full Course Strategy 101 course in March. In the meantime, start applying these strategies to your game.

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