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How much difference does course length make?

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Learning course management had a big impact on my hdcp going down. Sometimes I throw it out the window and hit driver as much as possible. Confidence has been high with driver lately and not so much with woods and hybrid. Also there are days where I’m like I’m going to figure out this driver if it is the last thing I do
if more people learned to think their way around the course and put ego aside their scores would drop 


Course management is so critical to my playing as well. I'm a good driver of the ball but I try to play to my next shot vs hit and find it. On the course I play the most I only hit driver 6 times out of a possible 13; 3 wood 4 x's and 2 Crossover 3x's. Oftentimes driver brings trouble into play that isn't necessary and my playing partners often get themselves into trouble because they don't think their way around the course.


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Learning course management had a big impact on my hdcp going down. Sometimes I throw it out the window and hit driver as much as possible. Confidence has been high with driver lately and not so much with woods and hybrid. Also there are days where I’m like I’m going to figure out this driver if it is the last thing I do
if more people learned to think their way around the course and put ego aside their scores would drop 


100%

I’m long enough that if I have confidence with the driver I can really dominate a course. But when it is going south, it is good to be able to put ego aside and play smart.


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On 6/14/2019 at 5:31 PM, GolfSpy MPR said:

So in asking this question, I know there are about a million variables that can change the answer (which should make it an interesting discussion).

This past week, I got a chance to play two different courses, which is unusual for me, as I play nearly all my golf at my home course. As I've noted in other threads, our course is short: it barely cracks 6,000 yards from the back tees. It's a par 71; my scores cluster pretty tightly around 90. My best round has been a 77.

The first course I played this week is 6,297 yards from the back tees. The second course, SentryWorld, offered a mixed tee option that I expected to suit my game; the blue/white tee comes in at 6,401 yards. With those extra yards, I shot a 92 (+20) at Trout Lake and then a 91 (+19) at SentryWorld; that is, pretty much exactly what I shoot at 6,000 yards.

In fact, over my last 8 rounds at my home course, I've been averaging closer to 21.6 over. So there's a strong argument that I played better with an additional 300–400 yards to navigate.

This is an interesting question for me, because I normally play such a short course, and want to have a decent understanding, objectively, where my game stands.

So in your opinion, how much do you expect that adding yardage changes your expected scoring?

I think that when a player is shooting around 90 that par is not something to consider and often distance really doesn't matter.  A story:  In all my years teach I have only convinced one (yes one player) who shot about 100 and wanted to break 90 to execute the following strategy.  1. Hit a ball into play.  Into play defined as an uninhibited swing (no trees) and no bunkers.  2. Hit second shot short of the green and any bunkers that front the green but no more the 30 yards away from the front edge of the green.  3. Hit a roller, flyer, or bouncer into the center of the green pin high or at least the half of the green the pin is located.  4.  Learn to 2 putt from 35' and in at least 9/10 times.  

Execute this plan 18 times and you make 18 bogies and shoot 90.  Execute this plan and hit 5 greens or around the green when there is zero trouble and you shoot between 85-90.  You can continue this plan till you shoot about 83-85.  The above mentioned player started shooting between 84-90 all the time for three months.  After three months and beating is playing group, he told me he would never play this way again because it wasn't real golf and his friends were making fun of him.  I love t be made fun of when I'm taking cash from their wallets.  

So, outside of playing absurdly long golf courses, this strategy survives a wide variety of lengths.  

By the way, this golfer, when he started shooting 100 again, came back, learned to swing better and control his golf ball better, eventually (about 18 months later) became a 78-85 player.  

Don't stress your game by playing a course that is too long, but when you shoot 90 and above all reasonable distances can be handled as long as you don't run into carry issues and you can't get inside 50 yards to the green.  FYI - shorter courses require a higher golf IQ and a higher level of strategy.  Most don't have either.  

 

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I think that when a player is shooting around 90 that par is not something to consider and often distance really doesn't matter.  A story:  In all my years teach I have only convinced one (yes one player) who shot about 100 and wanted to break 90 to execute the following strategy.  1. Hit a ball into play.  Into play defined as an uninhibited swing (no trees) and no bunkers.  2. Hit second shot short of the green and any bunkers that front the green but no more the 30 yards away from the front edge of the green.  3. Hit a roller, flyer, or bouncer into the center of the green pin high or at least the half of the green the pin is located.  4.  Learn to 2 putt from 35' and in at least 9/10 times.  

Execute this plan 18 times and you make 18 bogies and shoot 90.  Execute this plan and hit 5 greens or around the green when there is zero trouble and you shoot between 85-90.  You can continue this plan till you shoot about 83-85.  The above mentioned player started shooting between 84-90 all the time for three months.  After three months and beating is playing group, he told me he would never play this way again because it wasn't real golf and his friends were making fun of him.  I love t be made fun of when I'm taking cash from their wallets.  

So, outside of playing absurdly long golf courses, this strategy survives a wide variety of lengths.  

By the way, this golfer, when he started shooting 100 again, came back, learned to swing better and control his golf ball better, eventually (about 18 months later) became a 78-85 player.  

Don't stress your game by playing a course that is too long, but when you shoot 90 and above all reasonable distances can be handled as long as you don't run into carry issues and you can't get inside 50 yards to the green.  FYI - shorter courses require a higher golf IQ and a higher level of strategy.  Most don't have either.  

 

 

 

Great strategy. If you can two putt with regularity, the odds are that you will have a one putt at least a few times each round (and subsequently a par). With your strategy you set bogey as the max score per hole.

 

Improve the short game and you get up and down more often. All that adds up to low 80’s high 70’s golf!

 

Very well-explained!

 

Now if you could explain the magic formula for scratch golf.......

 

 

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2 minutes ago, ChasingScratch said:

Great strategy. If you can two putt with regularity, the odds are that you will have a one putt at least a few times each round (and subsequently a par). With your strategy you set bogey as the max score per hole.

Improve the short game and you get up and down more often. All that adds up to low 80’s high 70’s golf!

Very well-explained!

 

 

I don't really agree with the underlined part.  Even playing with the conservative strategy outlined, a bogey + player is going to fail on some of those shots.  His conservative tee shot will get topped or sliced, or his second will, or he'll duff a chip, sometimes all three on the same hole.  That player will still make doubles and triples and more.  I'm not saying that its a bad plan for a learning golfer, but even that plan requires the golfer to be able to consistently execute shots.

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19 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I don't really agree with the underlined part.  Even playing with the conservative strategy outlined, a bogey + player is going to fail on some of those shots.  His conservative tee shot will get topped or sliced, or his second will, or he'll duff a chip, sometimes all three on the same hole.  That player will still make doubles and triples and more.  I'm not saying that its a bad plan for a learning golfer, but even that plan requires the golfer to be able to consistently execute shots.

If the player uses a club they hit consistent and are comfortable with the number of topped or duffed tee shots will be reduced

yes there will be times that the short game will have some hiccups and doubles or worse will be made but the overall scoring will go down as those higher scores will be less frequent due to short game errors rather than off the tee with shots ob, behind trees or bad lies that require punch outs or hitting backwards to get back in play.

 

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30 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

If the player uses a club they hit consistent and are comfortable with the number of topped or duffed tee shots will be reduced

yes there will be times that the short game will have some hiccups and doubles or worse will be made but the overall scoring will go down as those higher scores will be less frequent due to short game errors rather than off the tee with shots ob, behind trees or bad lies that require punch outs or hitting backwards to get back in play.

 

I play with a wide variety of players, and one thing I've learned.  For a 20-handicapper, there's not a single club in the bag that they hit consistently, they regularly make poor shots with every single club.  They may be fewer with shorter clubs, but they're still pretty frequent.  They're going to hit 5-iron behind trees or hazards, just somewhat less often than they will with a driver.  And when they do that, they'll be in trouble 20 or 40 yards further from the hole.  This discussion often gets phrased in binary terms, good short irons v. awful long clubs, but its really shades of gray.  

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Man - I've had a dreadful summer - between funerals, being short staffed and conferences I've had less time to play than I'd like and less time here.  Great thread and fascinating to read how the discussion morphed into course management - thanks MPR!!!

In regards to the original question there are too many variables to really answer honestly.  If I were to take my home club the difference between the mixed green/white combo - recommended for people over 60 (me) and the straight white is enormous for me - even though it's only 200 yards - 6,000 to 6,200 it goes from 4 par 4's over 400 to none over 400.  Because of wind conditions and course design there is almost always one of those 400 yard plus par 4's that is unreachable in regulation so immediately I'm playing a par 73 rather than a par 72 from the whites.  Additionally number 1 is a beast at 410 regardless of the wind direction - with a good drive and dry conditions I may have 160 in but that's over a deep trap - it's a hole that requires a draw off the tee (check) and a cut second shot (not happening.)  At least I can hit a short iron to the front left portion when I'm down wind forward tees - then I have a chance - so really its a par 74 from the whites. 

The next move from white to white/blue mix makes very little differences - there's one more 400 yard par 4 but it's 390 from the whites, 405 from the blues - when it's down wind I can play it with driver mid iron and into the wind its driver something long regardless - the par 5's move back but none of them are overly long - I can't reach any of them in 2 from that set but I rarely can reach any of them when the tees are up - the only difference is that instead of laying up with a middle iron I'm hitting my 4 hybrid or 3 wood (7 or 5 wood now).  It really makes no difference to my score and is a great way to lower my handicap as the course rating and slope are higher (73.7137).

From that set to straight blues starts to get tough if I have to play the bridge side on 16 and 16 is into the wind - I'm now looking at 5 wood over a bayou to a very small target with no room to miss other than long - I'd probably be wisest to just drill driver over the green and pitch back quite honestly if I had to play that tee.

I've played the Golds on tough days but that's a joke - at my age it's not happening - we are talking 7,200 at sea level (Course rating of 74.8 slope of 144) - the tournament is in September so there's no roll - there are 4 par 4's over 450 - breaking 85 is a challenge that requires all of my managerial skills and discipline.  I'd quit if I had to do that all the time.

Back to where the conversation has morphed Course management is an extremely under rated skill IMO.  It not only requires knowledge (what am I capable of) it requires flexibility (alright this shot did not come off as planned how do I proceed or the conditions are different do I need to use a different strategy here today) and the discipline to carry it off - I have the top end of the longest club in my bag to get to the pin but there's tons of trouble there - the trouble is far more in play than my target - can I pull the club and hit the shot that sets up my next shot or will I waste strokes and go for it. 🙂

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1 hour ago, ChasingScratch said:

 

 

Great strategy. If you can two putt with regularity, the odds are that you will have a one putt at least a few times each round (and subsequently a par). With your strategy you set bogey as the max score per hole.

 

Improve the short game and you get up and down more often. All that adds up to low 80’s high 70’s golf!

 

Very well-explained!

 

Now if you could explain the magic formula for scratch golf....... emoji23.png

 

 

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The formula for scratch golf is very simple.  Strategy to shoot par, skills that support, superior Golf IQ, and targeting that goes against the myths and actually works.  I am a bit more reluctant to give away the specifics as I do make a bit of a living coaching.  However, the plan is fairly simple but takes some time to believe.  It also isn't as radical like the bogey version.  It really is what the best players in the world do to win majors.  

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Now if you could explain the magic formula for scratch golf.......


Pretty sure he can, basically follow Scott Fawcett’s decade golf. Understand you shot. distributions for each club and aim for the area that that distribution avoids trouble and enables you to get up and down when you hit to the edges.

Ed helped me get my short game under control and we talked about course strategy during my last lesson. I have taken his advice to heart and aim for the middle of greens and work to 2 putt at worst. Played my league match yesterday and finished 2 under for the 9 holes. I was -3 through 6 but failed to get up and down on 7. Probably some of the easiest golf I have played in a long time.
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5 minutes ago, cnosil said:

Pretty sure he can, basically follow Scott Fawcett’s decade golf. Understand you shot. distributions for each club and aim for the area that that distribution avoids trouble and enables you to get up and down when you hit to the edges.

Ed helped me get my short game under control and we talked about course strategy during my last lesson. I have taken his advice to heart and aim for the middle of greens and work to 2 putt at worst. 

 

 

... This is one of the biggest mistakes I see from golfers of all levels. Obviously a player that doesn't know where their shot is going left-right-long-short is just trying to hit a decent shot. But those with a little more skill have to decide which pins to go after and which to avoid. 

... Playing yesterday I hit a good drive leaving me 129 to the hole tucked back left, with a steep little hill just off the green which slopes away from that side. I had a gentle wind from right to left and with a perfect full 125 pw yardage to leave me a slightly uphill putt I went after the flag. The plan was start the ball 5 yds right and let the wind drift it to the hole. If it doesn't move, I am good and if it does move a little left I am in even better position. BUT, I pull the shot just a hair starting it right at the flag and the wind gusted a little and I just missed the green and the ball bounded down the side of the hill, coming to rest on an upslope in heavy rough. No chance to get to close as a perfect lob would land just on the fringe and trickle to the hole but that brings just short into play and still having a downhill chip that would roll a good 8-10 get past the hole bring a double into play. So the correct shot was hit it with enough speed to make sure it gets on the green and take my chances with a long putt to save par. That is exactly what I did leaving me a 18 footer that broke just out of the hole for a bogie. 

... The above is a perfect example of poor course management. 8 out of 10 times I pull off that shot but the consequences of a miss are too extreme to go after that pin. IF the green did not slope away from the short side and IF there was not a steep bank of deep rough and IF the wind was blowing from left to right, it would be a green light. But I suffered from what my son would call being "too thirsty" and it cost me. Aiming 15 feet right instead of 5 feet and 129 to a pin that would leave me an uphill 10-15 foot putt is a good shot and that slight 5 yd pull even with the wind gust would have left me in an even better position. A 5 yd push would still leave me with a long uphill birdie putt but a certain par. 

... So the better you are at controlling your shots, the more aggressive you can be attacking flags instead of the middle of the green. But even then, you have to be smart about which pins to attack and when to shoot for the middle of the green. 

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21 minutes ago, cnosil said:

 

 


Pretty sure he can, basically follow Scott Fawcett’s decade golf. Understand you shot. distributions for each club and aim for the area that that distribution avoids trouble and enables you to get up and down when you hit to the edges.

Ed helped me get my short game under control and we talked about course strategy during my last lesson. I have taken his advice to heart and aim for the middle of greens and work to 2 putt at worst. Played my league match yesterday and finished 2 under for the 9 holes. I was -3 through 6 but failed to get up and down on 7. Probably some of the easiest golf I have played in a long time.

 

That's such sound advice and great playing BTW.  Having said that it still takes a good deal of discipline to pull it off - a realistic assessment of your game, the discipline to play within yourself, the discipline to work on strengthening those skills that are truly necessary to lower one's score - for example if I adopt a strategy of shooting for the middle of the green I better spend time working on my lag putting (I do in both cases) because poor distance control with the putter will cost me strokes just like shooting at tucked pins and missing greens will.  Even purchasing the proper equipment rather than what looks good or is cool to bag takes discipline.   You should have seen the look on my playing partner's faces when I was hitting a wood from 157 the other day - I was on the green 20 feet from the pin for an easy two putt par - they all were off the green (two of them short) scrambling - 1 par 2 bogies.

It's a golf course, the object is to complete it in the fewest strokes possible given the shots that you bring to the table - perhaps I choose to draw everything because I believe that my consistency trumps occasionally being able to pull of that great fade to a tucked pin back right ---

 

You get the idea

 

Finally its tempting to think that touring pros just bomb and gouge because we hear so much complaining about it.  That's simply not the truth - watch them sometime - they know when to bomb and gouge, when to hit less than driver off the tee and also where to lay up to create an angle if they can't hit it on the green with the shot that they are on.

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45 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I play with a wide variety of players, and one thing I've learned.  For a 20-handicapper, there's not a single club in the bag that they hit consistently, they regularly make poor shots with every single club.  They may be fewer with shorter clubs, but they're still pretty frequent.  They're going to hit 5-iron behind trees or hazards, just somewhat less often than they will with a driver.  And when they do that, they'll be in trouble 20 or 40 yards further from the hole.  This discussion often gets phrased in binary terms, good short irons v. awful long clubs, but its really shades of gray.  

I definitely have played with and was one of those high hdcps. Imo it gets to what @revkev states below about choosing the right club. Many amateurs at all hdcp ranges are 100% speed and effort on every swing. If they would swing within themselves that contact and results improves.

the high cap who is laying 2 on a par 4 180 back after having to punch out is going to try and hit their 180 club everytime hoping to get there. The smart one using the bogey is par approach will hit 2 wedges or a short iron and pitch and probably make bogey where the 100% guy brings every possible number into play.

having used the bogey is par approach i shot right around 90 every round. The one or two holes where I missed a putt or hit a chip/pitch too far would prevent me from breaking 90 so I know the approach works and I have had friends and family try it for a few holes with success.

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6 minutes ago, revkev said:

That's such sound advice and great playing BTW.  Having said that it still takes a good deal of discipline to pull it off - a realistic assessment of your game, the discipline to play within yourself, the discipline to work on strengthening those skills that are truly necessary to lower one's score - for example if I adopt a strategy of shooting for the middle of the green I better spend time working on my lag putting (I do in both cases) because poor distance control with the putter will cost me strokes just like shooting at tucked pins and missing greens will.  Even purchasing the proper equipment rather than what looks good or is cool to bag takes discipline.   You should have seen the look on my playing partner's faces when I was hitting a wood from 157 the other day - I was on the green 20 feet from the pin for an easy two putt par - they all were off the green (two of them short) scrambling - 1 par 2 bogies.

It's a golf course, the object is to complete it in the fewest strokes possible given the shots that you bring to the table - perhaps I choose to draw everything because I believe that my consistency trumps occasionally being able to pull of that great fade to a tucked pin back right ---

 

You get the idea

 

Finally its tempting to think that touring pros just bomb and gouge because we hear so much complaining about it.  That's simply not the truth - watch them sometime - they know when to bomb and gouge, when to hit less than driver off the tee and also where to lay up to create an angle if they can't hit it on the green with the shot that they are on.

I think course management is the one thing amateurs can take away from the pga tour. 

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I don't really agree with the underlined part.  Even playing with the conservative strategy outlined, a bogey + player is going to fail on some of those shots.  His conservative tee shot will get topped or sliced, or his second will, or he'll duff a chip, sometimes all three on the same hole.  That player will still make doubles and triples and more.  I'm not saying that its a bad plan for a learning golfer, but even that plan requires the golfer to be able to consistently execute shots.

 I think the OP’s bigger point was the importance of getting the tee shot in play, as opposed to OB or somewhere that is near unplayable.

 

Yes, all golfers still make mistakes off the tee, this just gives them a better chance perhaps.

 

In my own game, I take stock of where the big score is on a hole. Is it a mishit driver OB? Is it a creek in front of the green that 3 wood brings into play but a 5 iron is well short and still inside of 150yds to the green?

 

I think the original concept by the OP is to play smarter and within the golfer’s capabilities.

 

At the same time, I fully understand and concur with your statement. And let me also say how refreshing it is to be part of an online golf community where people can share thoughts, disagree, and enjoy analyzing the game without contention. It’s great!!

 

 

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Pretty sure he can, basically follow Scott Fawcett’s decade golf. Understand you shot. distributions for each club and aim for the area that that distribution avoids trouble and enables you to get up and down when you hit to the edges.

Ed helped me get my short game under control and we talked about course strategy during my last lesson. I have taken his advice to heart and aim for the middle of greens and work to 2 putt at worst. Played my league match yesterday and finished 2 under for the 9 holes. I was -3 through 6 but failed to get up and down on 7. Probably some of the easiest golf I have played in a long time.


Thanks! I’ll give it a look!


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All the analysis and evaluating your game couldn't be easier.  Subscribe to a statistics system.  Your pencil and paper are not good enough to get the job done and interpretation is much easier. Plus, I've had very good players who think they know how they play look at stats that don't come even close to supporting their theory.  My preference is ANOVA.  It presents the basics very clear yet I can dig into some 500+ stats to understand a players strengths and weaknesses.  It takes, after a few rounds, about 10 minutes to enter a round.  Next, buy time on TrackMan or a GCQuad to get your true average distances with the ball you play.  My preference is indoors off a mat or very low tee.  We know the fat shots won't make it but you will get a better understanding of your trajectory, curvature, shot cone, and dispersion to your alignment.  

Decade is very, very good but often doesn't account enough for the average player shooting over 78, in my opinion.  The match, design, and everything is 100% correct.  BirdieFire is a strong stats program as well but I find much more difficult for the average person and I have to work my ass off to get the KPI's that I want.  

Stop guessing, stop with the pencil and paper, and get the help to get the job done.  

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Thanks! I’ll give it a look!


I am pretty sure there are some videos on YouTube that explain the concept on how to use the system. I don’t subscribe to the service, but the few videos I was able to find fave me a foundation that I could apply.
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I am pretty sure there are some videos on YouTube that explain the concept on how to use the system. I don’t subscribe to the service, but the few videos I was able to find fave me a foundation that I could apply.


I teach a grad stats class at my university so I’m sure I can take an in-depth look at where I’m losing strokes, but the application of it from a course management standpoint is something I’m always looking to learn more about.


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1 hour ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

I think course management is the one thing amateurs can take away from the pga tour. 

The questing is are the amateurs executing what they see or the intention?  Should the strategies and intention of a tour professional be the same as the amateur?  I do not believe so.  

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