Bad decisions are worse than bad swings

I've had my share of Barkley's.According to the National Golf Foundation more than half of all golfers shoot 100 or more, and only 1 in 4 can break 90 consistently.

Only 5% of golfers can shoot lower than 80.

With all of the advances in technology and the the improvements in the quality of the golf courses as well as the availability of access to golf professional and teachers you would expect this number to have improved over the last 20 years but it really has not.  So what is going on?  Why are golfers not getting better?  And how can you use this information to become a golfer who does improve?

I think the number one reason golfers don’t score is they make bad decisions that costs them more shots than they should take.

Bad decisions are very costly.  They compound mistakes and they add many unneeded strokes.

So what makes a decision bad:

1) You are unlikely to pull the shot off.

2) If you don’t pull the shot off it brings a high number into play.

3) There are higher percentage plays that you can make but instead you take the low percentage play.

4) You don’t factor in all the information needed to make a sound decision.

5) You over estimate your abilities.

6) You don’t practice this shot so you really don’t know how to play it.

Not all of these are involved in every bad decision, but if you look at your bad decisions you will see that many of them are.

Now I want to differentiate a bad decision from a bad shot.  Since we are all human, and therefore imperfect, we will make bad swings.   That’s just the way it goes.  You may have made the right decision, but put a bad swing on it.  That happens.  Most scoring problems however, really happen when bad decisions and bad swings come together.

The difference between golfers who score well and golfers who don’t, is that golfers who don’t score well, consistently throw away shots.  Golfers who score well, make decisions that makes it difficult to throw away shots.

I’ve been taught to play defensive aggressive .  Play to a defensive part of the course (in other words away from trouble and away from your weaknesses) but put an aggressive swing on the ball.  In other words you play the high percentage shot that will leave you with a bogey at worst and takes double bogey or worse out of the equation.  It sounds like you’re hoping for bogey but that’s not what this does at all.  Playing this way actually enables you to make many more pars and even birdies while limiting the effect of mistakes.  Try it and let me know how your scores change. See also: Use your natural autopilot to play your best golf.

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