It has been almost ten years since I golfed regularly. At the time I lived in central Florida where a day on the course typically cost more in beer cart fees than the green fees. I was the kind of golfer that spent more on balls per 18 holes than I did on the beer.
Many casual golfers can sympathize. You go to the range to finally get some practice in. The tee box is open, your buddies want to at least play the front nine. Two and a half hours later you’re looking over the water thinking you won’t choke this time; it’ll surely DAMMIT, THIS GAME IS STUPID. WHO PUT A DAMN LAKE HERE. And you promise yourself to spend more time at the range.
Between range outings with my older kids to date night at the local Top Golf I’ve gotten well more range time than course time over the past decade. I feel like I’m hitting the ball better, that I’m more consistent with my shots. My oldest is participating in a summer golf camp where hopefully they can teach him to swing a club and unlearn any broken habits I’ve taught him. All of this is adding up: I think I’m going to pick up golfing again.
Goal: I would like to be not terrible at golf
How’s that for a goal statement. It doesn’t quite meet the SMART goal criteria (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timebased), but I think we can work together here to create a proper goal.
How does one measure the quality of their golf play: handicap!
Measuring Golf Handicap: Not just for over achievers!
Apparently USGA has moved to a proprietary GHIN model locked behind a paywall that also requires you to be a member at a golf club. I will be skipping this for now.
Handicap is for over achievers!
Traditional handicap was calculated as 96% of the best 10 of the past 20 rounds. Given the summer season closing is coming closer and closer I have my doubts that I’ll get that many rounds in between now and the first snow shuts it all down.
I’ll count all my brands of mishits including hooks, slices, topping the ball, that strange thing where the ball goes ten feet away 45 degrees from where I was aiming.
Generally, the expectation for par of N is to use N-2 shots between the tee and the approach and the final 2 shots putting. On a par 3 one should hit the green from the tee box then chip or putt for two strokes. Two to the green on a par 4. And so it goes.
I’ll likely need to play a round of 18 or so then analyze. I’ll chop the game up into
- Tee shots
- The approach / shots from the 150 to 75 yards out
- Short approach
What are some possible outcomes?
We’re still in the meta of this project attempting to define a goal. Often at the beginning stages of planning we spend more time thinking about how to scope the effort than we do actually executing on the effort.
Best case: I’m ready for the Tour. My perceived success at the range directly translates to success on the course. Others in my foursome are in awe; they don’t believe I haven’t played in a decade. Subsequent articles are useless to all as “I don’t know, just swing real good” isn’t useful to anyone.
Worst case: I’m forced to count my good strokes. The list is very short.
Most likely: Plenty of bogeys and double bogeys. Those +1s and +2s will be drowned out by some amazing twice par holes where one bad shot setoff a chain reaction of failure leaving me to marvel and my own ineptness.
Ideally I’ll have a measure of my performance, I’ll understand what is actionable within my golf game, and I’ll be able to design an achievable goal in my next post.
Check back in!
P.S. I’ve published an article on getting ready for your first time playing golf.