Breaking 100 in Golf

Golf season is in full swing. Eric and I are playing most weekend days. I also play in a Tuesday night league. I am happy to report that I am regularly breaking 100. If I could chip and putt more consistently, I would be scoring in the low 90’s instead of the high 90’s.

Now I know why most experienced golfers spend so much time on the practice green. What used to look boring and mind-numbing is now an essential part of improving my score. If I have time before a round, you will find me on the practice green chipping and putting.

Did you know only 51.9% of golfers break 100? This statistic assumes that golfers accurately report their scores, and honestly count every errant shot.  I played with a couple of guys early in the season that I didn’t know. One of them took a mulligan off the tee on every other hole, which should, per USGA rules, count as two strokes per hole (the swing and the penalty) and not zero.  On the 18th tee, he announced that he needed to par the hole to break 100. I chose not to emasculate him.

You can’t get away with this type of scoring in the league. If you are not accurately counting your strokes, you can count on your opponent to do it for you. My league handicap is currently 15, which means my average score has been 51 for 9 holes. I expect it will drop a point or two in the next recalculation as I have scored under 50 the last two weeks.

I attribute my improved scores to one thing: keeping my head down. As in life, you need to stay focused on what you are doing and not look up to score well on the golf course.  Don’t worry about what others are doing.  Stay focused on the task at hand and you will succeed.

One of my fellow league golfers lost her husband this year. It happened on the golf course during our first round of the year. She returned to the league and the place where it happened after a few weeks. She is scoring better than ever. Her secret: her husband is there with her at every hole telling her to keep her head down. May he rest in eternal peace.

6 thoughts on “Breaking 100 in Golf

  1. I’m in the middle of my Golfapalooza week. I played a course I had never played before yesterday. It’s rather daunting to be reminded how important familiarity with the course is to improve score. There were two or three completely blind approaches to greens, which led to conservative tee shots, long approaches, and double bogeys. I broke 100, barely (99), but took solace that the back nine’s 46 was more like my real game than the front’s 53. I allow myself one mulligan per nine. Don’t usually have to take it. Of course, competition is another matter.

    My one thought is “Finish the swing,” which keeps the head down. My trick to knowing I’ve finished is that the shaft of the club has to hit my back and shoulder blades fairly sharply. I have more of an Arnold Palmer-like slashing swing than those smooth swings with the fancy end poses.

    I found two really great books in a used book store in Great Barrington about 7 years ago. They were written in the 60s by Cary Middlecoff, and explored the classic swings of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Bob Jones, Harry Varden, and Ben Hogan. They are my favorite references because they don’t do the golf magazine thing of “Do this,” which is just confusing and counter-productive. They just explain how each of the greats developed his repeatable swing. Given the amount of time (or really lack of time) I have to really work on my game, I am happy with a repeatable swing that nets me mid-40s most the time.

    • I’m with you, Greg, on the “finish the swing” mantra . . . that’s my biggest problem: when I pull up during the swing and end up either slicing long shots or punting chips/pitches.

      This is our fifth summer of golfing (we were late adopters), and Marcia is clearly a natural at the game . . . her swing does look like the ones you see on the sports page. I’m not quite so natural . . . I have always had a hard time with repetitive/duplicative actions in sports (foul shooting also comes to mind), and my rebuilt left shoulder limits my range a bit.

      I’m flirting with the 100 this summer . . . but have yet to break it . . .

      • I had an idea of what Slicey Lostballs goes through yesterday. They have a lot of tall gorse-like stuff in the rough, and I lost four. I think I had lost four the entire year up until then.

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