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The other night I was reading my Golf Channel App and it had a quote from Chris DiMarco saying that he thought Billy Horschel would win because Billy was not afraid to go low and make birdies. Horschel did win on Sunday after shooting a 64 -8.

 

So yesterday, I am playing a different course, and the opening hole is a par 5, 501 yards. I had laid up to about 75 yards and hit my 58* wedge to about 2 feet and immediately thought about what DiMarco said and said to myself. "Yeah, I ain't afraid to go low either." I followed this up with a bogey and was back to even par but this got me to thinking. Am I afraid to go low?

 

How many times have you made a birdie only to screw it up on the next hole. We call them ABFU's. AB stands for After Birdie, and FU, well, you can figure it out. I really did not make the bogey because of a FU but simply was not familiar with the greens. The two foot putt I had on the first hole did nothing to tell me how slow the greens were. I chipped on the green and it would have been close to the hole on my course but this was sort of like playing on velcro with a wool ball. My chip was woefully short and so was my par putt. But from that point I said to myself, "I ain't afraid to go low."

 

I will not rehash my round of yesterday or today, but both days I continued to use this as my mantra. I played smart golf, and was afraid to go high but I pretended like I was supposed to be under par. I shot a 66 yesterday and today I should have had 5 birdies in a row. I missed a 6 foot birdie putt, but it was tricky. Very speed dependent, but followed it up on the next hole with a birdie. I shot a 68 today and this is my first time ever to have back to back sub par rounds. Hell, it is almost the first time I have had them in the same month. Usually, I expect to have a bad day after a good one. But not now, because, I am not afraid to go low.

 

Do not confuse this with going for birdie on every hole. Yes, I have birdied every hole at my club and eagled most of them at some point, but instead of thinking I am playing over my head, I am expecting to hit a good shot. So I hit a good shot off the tee, and a good approach shot, I am thinking birdie. If I hit a bad shot, than I expect to hit a good shot after that. I do NOT expect to hit the miracle shot that puts me back in birdie position. I am expecting to make par and no worse than bogey, however, I do not care what I did the hole before. Or even the shot before. I only care about hitting this shot so I have a reasonable chance of hitting the next one in the hole.

 

So, are you afraid to go low?

 

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This is one thing I am trying to get better at. I will have times where I hit a great tee shot but only to follow it up with an awful approach shot which pretty much ruins my chance at scoring well on that hole. I dont know if its being afraid to go low or i get too anxious about the possibility of having a chance at birdie but either way i end up messing up the shot

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This mantra works no matter what your handicap is. For me low means par or below. However, if you normally shoot in the 100's. Low is in the 90's. Low is below your handicap.

 

For the past several months I have had the philosophy of the purpose of the tee shot is to get me in position to hit it on the green. The purpose of the approach is to get it on the green to give me a putt. And the first putt is focus on the speed so that I have a tap in. Now, this is all great, but if I find myself with a wedge in my hand, I am focusing on the flag. Since 9 out of 10 times I can get it within 10 feet from 70 to 90 yards, this is my layup range on par 5. Certainly, if I find myself 215 yards or less on par 5's unless there is trouble, I am going for it, but I birdie more often laying up to this range.

 

I will say I took myself out of birdie possibility twice today with tee shots that were simply stupid. I did this with club selection and thinking about birdie off of the tee. I made pars but in one case it took an astonishing pitch from between and under and around trees and over bunkers to find the edge of the green for a two putt and on the other I sank a 20'er for par.

 

No matter what low is to you, you can not fear it. One of my playing partners who is a (was a) 90's shooter has been low 80's the last two weeks. He and I have worked on his course management and decision. And what I call his Bam Bam mentality. He has gotten better at that and it shows. Maintaining composure is key.

 

So after you get yourself in position off the tee. Tell yourself that you are not afraid to go low, make a smart club choice and put a good swing on it.

 

Driver:      :ping-small:  G425MAX 10.5° -1° Flat on Project X HZRDUS Yellow Handcrafted 65g

Fairway:   :ping-small:  G410 3 wood LST & 5  Wood Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

                     :ping-small:  G425MAX  7 & 9  Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

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I wouldnt say that Im afraid to go low. Honestly, the lower I shoot over the course of a round, the more excited and pumped I am to hit the next shot because Im expecting myself to continue playing that well and my confidence just grows and grows.

"I suppose its better to be a master of 7 than to be vaguely familiar with 14." - Chick Evans

Whats in my Sun Mountain 2.5+ stand bag?

Woods: Tommy Armour Atomic 10.5* 

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Great subject. over the course of my career I have always found myself thinking about the end of the round when I start to get under par. I am not playing enough when I do this so when it comes it hits me like a friehg ttrain.

 

last september I was playing a course i never broke par on. I was 2 under after 9 and 4 under after 16 only to hobble in with a 69 nothin to snuff at. the 17th is a tough par 3 down hill with a stupid green basically nothing can be made above, left or right of the green and noramlly the pin is in front becasue the last 4/5ths of the green is not useable. anyways the 18th has a similar stupid green but its a 215 off the tee and wedge in nothing too daunting but after the bogey on 17 I wanted to make it up and went for the green over the tree causing me trouble.

 

THe very next day I was 2 under again but this time after 8 with an easy par 4 on 9 3 under after 14 and bogey 3 of the last 4 to shoot 71 par. again stupidity about thinking of score.

 

 

ANyone have pointers like the comments above as to how to get around this.

 

I line the "For the past several months I have had the philosophy of the purpose of the tee shot is to get me in position to hit it on the green." but Every time I think about accomplishing this on the course I go brain dead.

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This is a great thread. I have went low and I've also fired 5 straight bogies after back to back birdies. If I get in the zone, I'm not thinking about going low and I'm certainly not questioning if I'm afraid to go low. To me, this DiMarco comment says the same as this "playing to not lose, instead of playing to win".

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I have this problem, I don't think I am afraid to go low, but when I am out on the course, I really think that I am, because one bad shot compounds another, and then when I do get into position to birdie or eagle I usually screw it up, with bogey. Most of my problem is mental, my Brain gets int the way, I think too much, just like fsav was saying. It gets very frustrating when your scores says 83, but when you think about the round, it should have been 76, and most of the problems that caused it could be prevented how do you get over that hurdle.

Lefties are always in their Right Mind

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I have to agree with the play to win comment. But will say that throughout the round there are time where you play not to lose but if the situation presents itself, don't be afraid to go for it.

 

The wind picked up today and found myself really playing not to lose to par rather than going for birdies. I wanted to be aggressive but it just did not work out.

 

Driver:      :ping-small:  G425MAX 10.5° -1° Flat on Project X HZRDUS Yellow Handcrafted 65g

Fairway:   :ping-small:  G410 3 wood LST & 5  Wood Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

                     :ping-small:  G425MAX  7 & 9  Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

Irons:     :ping-small:  i 500 6-P on True Temper Dynamic Gold

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All grips are BestGrips Micro-Perforated

 

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At this stage of the season, which I've yet to get started, due to weather... I'm hoping I can start off as strong as I finished, which is my 17 hd. At my age, there are some holes I'm just going to be unlikely to birdie on my home course.

 

That said, my lowest rounds have generally been at that course!

 

I'm not Afraid to "go low", it's just that the best I think I can do on this particular course is going to be about a -2. That's on a course I've played at 42 for a low 9 holes. I've actually birdied 5 different holes on this course, just not in the same round.

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I have played everyday this week, but only 9 holes a couple of days. I have been below par everyday.

 

Yesterday, I had a 2 on what the scorecard lists as a par 5. So it is an albatross, sort of. Because of construction the tees are moved up to about 285 yards. Also, it is uphill and a blind shot because of the hill. With the wind behind me I drove the green then made a 30'er for a 2. So I carded a 2 on a hole listed as a par 5 but playing more like a short par 4. Added a birdie and a bogey and the rest pars for a 33 which is 2 or three under depending on how you count thE 2.

 

Driver:      :ping-small:  G425MAX 10.5° -1° Flat on Project X HZRDUS Yellow Handcrafted 65g

Fairway:   :ping-small:  G410 3 wood LST & 5  Wood Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

                     :ping-small:  G425MAX  7 & 9  Flat on :ping-small: Alta CB 65R

Irons:     :ping-small:  i 500 6-P on True Temper Dynamic Gold

Wedges: :vokey-small: SM8 50°, 54° & 60° on True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedge

Putter:    :cameron-small: Studio Style Newport 1.5

Balls:      :titelist-small: Pro V1X :taylormade-small: TP5 

Shoes:     :footjoy-small:  

Range Finder: :918457628_PrecisionPro: Precision Pro  NX7 Pro

All grips are BestGrips Micro-Perforated

 

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This is a nice thread.

 

I think everyone has a comfort zone so regardless of what that might be hitting some good shots and making a eagle, birdie or par on a hole can be just as 'dangerous' to the score card as a bad shot or 2 in regards to aftermath.

 

It's about staying in the moment - the last shot is over - get it out of your head however you need to do it and move on so that you can make the next shot the best possible way according to the way you planned it out ahead of time.

 

I was thinking of starting a thread about this next one but I'm just going bring it up here because there have been similar threads. I found myself practicing next to two mini-tour guys (hooters tour primarily) this past week. They were doing a tune up for the local US Open qualifier. They had a score card, they were next to each other on the range. The one would look on his phone say, "Next hole 201 yard par 3 with a bunker in front," the other had his range finder out to select a suitable target, they pulled a club, walked over to the practice green and played the hole out. They then made notes on their phones and repeated the process for the next hole. They do it for a living and they were making their plan.

 

Honestly I was there to do the same sort of thing - I am going to Northern Indiana next month and will be playing a course that I haven't played in 15 years - I'm very excited to play it - once I was warmed up I played the course as best as I could remember it.

 

Make a plan and stick to it - don't let the deviant shots, bad or good, ruin your plan for a low round. Someone here said they hate going birdie, bogey - really? What if the bogey comes on a 460 yard par 4 that's tight off the tee and penal around the green? What if there are two strong possibilities for birdie on the next two holes? I rarely see plus handicaps here (a few but rarely) for the rest of us there are always going to be a hole or two on a course where bogey is an acceptable result because bridies will come elsewhere and its better to make bogey than double or worse because on an obsession over making a par. One hole is one hole - you need 18 of them to post a low score, one 5 on a par 4 is not a killer, making that 5 and missing out on birdie on one of the next two holes because you are hanging your head is or conversally missing out on birdie on one of those next two holes because you were so euphoric about birdying the number 1 handicap hole is too - you lost your chance to go low -

 

My lowest round ever is a 66 and my lowest 9 is 31 - not bad for a guy who has to have the stars aligned properly to hit it 250. Oh and that 66 was in a tournament.

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Ping G410 5-9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 6-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

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Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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What do you mean we all start to figure out what this birdie means for our nine? Speak for yourself! B)

 

I think what it means for my handicap in 2 months sometimes. :angry:

Taylor Made Sim2  10.5 (Opened 1 click) Ventus Blue 5  R flex

Ping G410 5-9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 6-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Tour Exotics 3 wood is in the bag because we are allowed 14 clubs.  It's a great club for pulling balls out of the water or from bushes - you never want to put your hand into anything in Florida unless you are absolutely certain that it's safe.  There are rare wind conditions when I might hit it off the tee on a few holes that I play.  

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