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Kenny B

Mid- to High- Handicapper Challenge

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Are you a mid- to high-handicapper?

If you are, do you have those rounds where you can’t get a decent score even on one hole?  Yeah, I know… low handicappers have days like that too, but low handicappers need not continue reading.  This is not for you.

Now, have you gone to the course to play a casual round, maybe with some friends, and didn’t think about the score?  Did you play better than usual?  What were you doing differently?  I bet you were more relaxed; tension in your grip and swing is probably less, and you were considering each shot opportunity relative to a target; the fairway… the green… the hole, and NOT what par is for the hole.

However, we all want to get better at this game and keeping score is a measure of how well we are doing to reach whatever goal we have; breaking 100, 90, or 80.  Golfers have varying degrees of skill level and for many, making a par on a hole is a significant but maybe infrequent achievement.  For others, pars are a little easier, but then there are those dreaded blowup holes!  So, how can we achieve that relaxed feeling while keeping score?

The Challenge

Disclaimer:  I have absolutely no idea if this will improve your game.  There is no guarantee.

I am proposing a challenge to mid- to high-handicappers to change your mindset so that you play holes with an entirely different perspective.  Change what PAR is for each hole.

  1. Get a scorecard from a golf course you play all the time.
  2. On one of the spaces where you would put your name, write “New Par”
  3. Change the par for each hole to a Triple Bogey; i.e., a Par 3 is now a Par 6, a Par 4 is now a Par 7, and a Par 5 is now a Par 8
  4. Go play

On the first hole the real Par is 4, but the New Par is 7.  If you score a 6, you are now 1 under par.

Play at least 3 rounds this way.

 

Now, change the “New Par” for each hole to Double Bogey (mid-handicap players may want to start here)

Play at least 3 rounds this way.

 

Now, change the “New Par” for each hole to Bogey.

Play at least 3 rounds this way

 

Compare all of your New Par scorecards.  How did you do??

Playing to a different Par gives your mind a different perspective on how a hole can be played.  Finally, go play using the real Par for each hole.  Does that round feel different than previous rounds before this exercise?  What are the results?

If anyone takes up this challenge, I would be curious to hear what your thoughts are about how your mind worked during the rounds and if your play was significantly altered.

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Interesting. I like the premise behind it, anytime you can take the mind out of golf it usually equals good results. Will be curious to hear results. 

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Been doing this with a student of mine to make the goal more literal and more enjoyable. I based each hole off their driving distance and the length of the hole, how many strokes it should take to get to the green and 2 putt.

Sent from my SM-G950U using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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1 hour ago, Kenny B said:

Are you a mid- to high-handicapper?

If you are, do you have those rounds where you can’t get a decent score even on one hole?  Yeah, I know… low handicappers have days like that too, but low handicappers need not continue reading.  This is not for you.

Now, have you gone to the course to play a casual round, maybe with some friends, and didn’t think about the score?  Did you play better than usual?  What were you doing differently?  I bet you were more relaxed; tension in your grip and swing is probably less, and you were considering each shot opportunity relative to a target; the fairway… the green… the hole, and NOT what par is for the hole.

However, we all want to get better at this game and keeping score is a measure of how well we are doing to reach whatever goal we have; breaking 100, 90, or 80.  Golfers have varying degrees of skill level and for many, making a par on a hole is a significant but maybe infrequent achievement.  For others, pars are a little easier, but then there are those dreaded blowup holes!  So, how can we achieve that relaxed feeling while keeping score?

The Challenge

Disclaimer:  I have absolutely no idea if this will improve your game.  There is no guarantee.

I am proposing a challenge to mid- to high-handicappers to change your mindset so that you play holes with an entirely different perspective.  Change what PAR is for each hole.

  1. Get a scorecard from a golf course you play all the time.
  2. On one of the spaces where you would put your name, write “New Par”
  3. Change the par for each hole to a Triple Bogey; i.e., a Par 3 is now a Par 6, a Par 4 is now a Par 7, and a Par 5 is now a Par 8
  4. Go play

On the first hole the real Par is 4, but the New Par is 7.  If you score a 6, you are now 1 under par.

Play at least 3 rounds this way.

 

Now, change the “New Par” for each hole to Double Bogey (mid-handicap players may want to start here)

Play at least 3 rounds this way.

 

Now, change the “New Par” for each hole to Bogey.

Play at least 3 rounds this way

 

Compare all of your New Par scorecards.  How did you do??

Playing to a different Par gives your mind a different perspective on how a hole can be played.  Finally, go play using the real Par for each hole.  Does that round feel different than previous rounds before this exercise?  What are the results?

If anyone takes up this challenge, I would be curious to hear what your thoughts are about how your mind worked during the rounds and if your play was significantly altered.

I think this is an excellent idea, but I am curious as to how our brains would react knowing that we have altered the par. 

After the Cobra Connect Challenge, I'd be willing to give this a try and report back how it worked for me.

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Are you a mid- to high-handicapper?
If you are, do you have those rounds where you can’t get a decent score even on one hole?  Yeah, I know… low handicappers have days like that too, but low handicappers need not continue reading.  This is not for you.
Now, have you gone to the course to play a casual round, maybe with some friends, and didn’t think about the score?  Did you play better than usual?  What were you doing differently?  I bet you were more relaxed; tension in your grip and swing is probably less, and you were considering each shot opportunity relative to a target; the fairway… the green… the hole, and NOT what par is for the hole.
However, we all want to get better at this game and keeping score is a measure of how well we are doing to reach whatever goal we have; breaking 100, 90, or 80.  Golfers have varying degrees of skill level and for many, making a par on a hole is a significant but maybe infrequent achievement.  For others, pars are a little easier, but then there are those dreaded blowup holes!  So, how can we achieve that relaxed feeling while keeping score?
The Challenge
Disclaimer:  I have absolutely no idea if this will improve your game.  There is no guarantee.
I am proposing a challenge to mid- to high-handicappers to change your mindset so that you play holes with an entirely different perspective.  Change what PAR is for each hole.
  1. Get a scorecard from a golf course you play all the time.
  2. On one of the spaces where you would put your name, write “New Par”
  3. Change the par for each hole to a Triple Bogey; i.e., a Par 3 is now a Par 6, a Par 4 is now a Par 7, and a Par 5 is now a Par 8
  4. Go play
On the first hole the real Par is 4, but the New Par is 7.  If you score a 6, you are now 1 under par.
Play at least 3 rounds this way.
 
Now, change the “New Par” for each hole to Double Bogey (mid-handicap players may want to start here)
Play at least 3 rounds this way.
 
Now, change the “New Par” for each hole to Bogey.
Play at least 3 rounds this way
 
Compare all of your New Par scorecards.  How did you do??
Playing to a different Par gives your mind a different perspective on how a hole can be played.  Finally, go play using the real Par for each hole.  Does that round feel different than previous rounds before this exercise?  What are the results?
If anyone takes up this challenge, I would be curious to hear what your thoughts are about how your mind worked during the rounds and if your play was significantly altered.

Kenny, interesting concept. The problem I have is 3 or 4 blowout holes that keep me from breaking 90. Those 3 or 4 holes are not the same every time. They could be on the front or the back. Any thoughts on that?


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40 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:


Kenny, interesting concept. The problem I have is 3 or 4 blowout holes that keep me from breaking 90. Those 3 or 4 holes are not the same every time. They could be on the front or the back. Any thoughts on that?


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I think everyone has different reasons for that.  Most everyone has a blowup hole every now and then; more blowups the higher the handicap.  If I have one or two a round, I pretty much know what holes they will be, but that is because there's something about those holes that doesn't suit my game very well.  One hole, I have tried several different types of shots trying to find the best way to tackle Par.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.

The purpose of this challenge is to change how your mind thinks about what the standard is for each hole.  If you think differently when playing a hole, you might create a reality that affects those shots that cause you problems.  I'm curious if this works.  

I'm not a candidate for this challenge because most times, I'm close to par on most holes anyway.  However, I'm going to approach my wife to participate in this challenge.  She's been struggling this year since the snow melted.  Last year, she was breaking 90 regularly and sometimes 85.  This spring, it's been difficult for her to break 100.  Her swing has been mostly the same, but she struggles putting good shots together to reach Par.  I think she's mental about Par.

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One of the games that I'll play in my head is what I call 13.  Divide the round into groups of 3 holes.  The goal is to shoot 13 or better on 3 holes.  Do it fine, don't then move on to the next 3 and start over.  If you can shoot 13 on each group of 3 holes, you'll break 80 with a 79.  IF, and that's a big if, you can keep your mind off the total score and focus on just 3 holes at a time, it just mind allow you to focus differently.

I do a similar bet with a golfing buddy where we play medal play for 3 holes for a buck, then the next 3 holes for another buck, and so on until all 18 holes completed.  It is much less stressful than focusing on how far down you are on an 18 hole game, match or medal.

 

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I do a version of this where I add 1 to every hole. 

Doesn't stop me from having a double cross off the tee or help me read greens better LOL!!

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I think a lot of what Kenny is getting at is expectations. If you can adjust your expectations you may find the round more enjoyable. A good friend and I are both about the same level - bogey golfers, so we try to adjust our expectations to +1 on every hole so a bogey or better is a good thing. He is better at it than I am, though, and he frequently reminds me bogey is a good score for us. That doesn't stop a 3-putt bogey from chapping my hide, though.

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That's called Doug Par.  And I play for Bogey from the Senior Tee.  

When Bogey is the goal, I get lucky with a few pars, so Doubles don't hurt.  Basically put 5's across the scorecard, and your actual score (6, 4) determines how far over or under you are.

Shoot under and you're breaking 90 🙂

 

When bogey is the goal, I shoot for bailout zones, middle of greens instead of pins, or split long iron approaches into a 9i and wedge.  

 

i still have blowout holes.  😉

 

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45 minutes ago, PING Apologist #9 said:

I'm in! Er...I reckon I qualify as a "High" handicapper, yes? Where is the mid-cap line generally?

I'd call it 10-18

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2 minutes ago, CarlH said:

I'd call it 10-18

Makes sense, thanks! I was a 19 briefly last season...for about 2-weeks!😫

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I was a 19 end of last yr but probably mpre like 22-23 currently

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Some good ideas here.  I have also been using bogey golf as my "New Par" for some time.  Right now my (unofficial) handicap is 20 so it's a good yardstick.  I also like the game of 13 that CarlH mentioned and may try a version of that.  There's lots of variations on the theme you could do. 

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2 hours ago, TwoCoatsOfWax said:

  I also like the game of 13 that CarlH mentioned and may try a version of that.  There's lots of variations on the theme you could do. 

Sure.  Pick a goal that's reachable and make it fun.   You'll be surprised at what you can do when the goal is attainable.  And, once you achieve that goal, set a new one.  Let's face it, many of us are not scratch golfers.  Holding ourselves to scratch golf puts undue stress on us.  

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4 hours ago, CarlH said:

Sure.  Pick a goal that's reachable and make it fun.   You'll be surprised at what you can do when the goal is attainable.  And, once you achieve that goal, set a new one.  Let's face it, many of us are not scratch golfers.  Holding ourselves to scratch golf puts undue stress on us.  

Exactly!!  The idea is to play with a New Par that is achievable.  It helps put your mind in a different place so you can focus on golf shots and targets, not the hole score.  The brain reacts positively when you achieve a par or birdie, even if it is the New Par.  

The challenge is to compare your playing experiences as you progress from the New Par being par+3, par+2, and par+1.  Does your outlook on a round change?  Does it make a difference when you finally go back to Normal Par?  I'm curious.

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I do a version of this where I add 1 to every hole. 
Doesn't stop me from having a double cross off the tee or help me read greens better LOL!!
I've done this in the past and have played a little better rounds when I do. Doesn't solve all my problems and it doesn't always work for me, but I would say the experience is largely a positive one.

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Challenge Accepted!

Might take me some time to accumulate 9 rounds with a newborn and busy schedule. But I promise I will keep the next 9 score cards and post pictures once I hit that point. Hopefully by round 10, the theory will have payed off. With only a handful of rounds under my belt for the season. I feel like my golf game is stronger than ever, yet my scores at the end do not reflect as so. This could just be me setting unrealistic expectations of shooting 40 or better every round. But there’s one thing I’ve noticed in each round. There is a “tipping point” where I realize shooting anything close to Par is a pipe dream and say “screw it.... can’t get much worse than this. What’s the worst that could happen, you can’t “hurt” a round that I’ve already “murdered” and a majority of the time I start hitting my best shots on the back stretch of holes. Obviously warming up, learning from earlier mistakes, and recognizing how your swinging the club that day play a roll in this. But if I can’t count how many times I think in my head “well damn... here’s my 100 yard chip-in for par that isn’t going to happen.”


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One of the games that I'll play in my head is what I call 13.  Divide the round into groups of 3 holes.  The goal is to shoot 13 or better on 3 holes.  Do it fine, don't then move on to the next 3 and start over.  If you can shoot 13 on each group of 3 holes, you'll break 80 with a 79.  IF, and that's a big if, you can keep your mind off the total score and focus on just 3 holes at a time, it just mind allow you to focus differently.
I do a similar bet with a golfing buddy where we play medal play for 3 holes for a buck, then the next 3 holes for another buck, and so on until all 18 holes completed.  It is much less stressful than focusing on how far down you are on an 18 hole game, match or medal.
 
Love that idea. I've tried adding one to par on each hole but it doesn't trick my brain enough. I think I'll start using your way, but play "14" instead.

I've also found that repeating "Never mad with a bogey" helps me too. Even if I three (or four) putt, I'll never be mad at myself for a bogey.

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