Golf Handicap & Course Management by Kevin Phillips

Just to put you in the picture The 13th Hole at our golf course is a 368yd par 4 with a stroke index of 2. Instead of getting out the driver on these tough longer holes and then messing up because you feel you must try to get a par, take clubs you are more confident with. It is for me I said but what’s your par? He looked at me with a vacant stare so I proceeded to put him out of his misery.

Your par for that hole is 5 not 4, with your handicap you can take a 5 and still not lose anything in relation to your handicap. Look at each hole on your golf course in a different light. How much easier is that on the mind? With a nod of thanks and a gleam in his eye Jim wandered off to the bar to join his friends and have a well-earned drink.

This great game of golf is hard enough without putting undue pressure on yourself. Think this way and you will be pleasantly surprised how many times you make an actual par, which in your case means … NOW !!

I knew Jim to have a mid to high handicap so I asked him exactly what it was he was playing off these days, I play off a 17 handicap he said. Now if you stood on that tee and said to yourself it’s a par 5 how would you feel then? I am sure you would be more relaxed and think that’s not hard I can do that, and that is exactly how you should approach every hole you play.

It’s a Sunday morning in the Pro Shop at my Golf Club and I am handing out scorecards for the weekly golf competition, when in walks Jim, a club member bemoaning his luck on the golf course. I asked him what’s wrong and he replied that they should dig up the 13th hole. A par 4 on the course where you have a stroke means 3 shots to reach the green and 2 putts. So I asked Jim what do you think your par is for that hole? It’s a par 4 Kevin you know it is, he replied. This is where good course management and thinking comes in to play. . I can never make a par there he says, it always messes up my scorecard along with a few other holes I could mention.

And therein lies the problem most mid to high handicap golfers have, they are not playing their own game they are trying to play scratch golf. What you should do is make out a personal scorecard relative to your handicap. In Jim’s case there is only one hole on the golf course that he is expected to par and that is stroke index 18 the easiest hole on the course. I hope you get my drift here because it’s an important part of managing your game.

I know it goes against the grain but it will make each hole seem easier and allow you to play with more confidence and relax. If your golf course has a par of 70 and your handicap is 15 then your par for the course is 85. Draw up your own personal scorecard.. So every time you stand on that tee and think about making 4 you are making it harder for yourself. Now you have your new way of thinking with regard to par you will be surprised at how much easier it is to play each individual golf hole. BIRDIE ….

I finished off by saying to Jim think about your approach to the golf course now! Standing on par 3’s that now become par 4’s .. Manage your own game better by thinking correctly and your course management will improve along with your enjoyment of the game

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