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TOPIC: Better decision making on the golf course

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mlslaw
Better decision making on the golf course
Member Since:
    November 6, 2004


Favorite Golfer:
    Fred Couples
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    Rustic Canyon


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Sunday March 20, 2016 7:29 PM
I sometimes find myself ?ing my decision making on the course---e.g. why didn't you check out the green from the low side to see that obvious break or, why didn't you play that shot to your skill level--now you're in for a blow up hole that could have been avoided; or why didn't you just take an unplayable instead of playing from that highly ?able lie --- and on and on and on. In a way, each golf shot is like an exam and I want to "pass" more of them. Advice appreciated.

[[Edited by mlslaw on Monday March 21, 2016 4:58 PM]]
REPLY
 Message #77452
HmtGolfGuy
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    November 25, 2012


Favorite Golfer:
    Brendan Steele
Favorite Golf Course:
    Rams Hill, Oak Valley


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Sunday March 20, 2016 9:33 PM
These same questions and issues affect most of us. Regarding checking out the green, simply make it a routine to always approach the gree from the low side, even if it means walking farther. If you do it right away it doesn't take much time and should help a lot. I used to do it all the time and have gotten out of the habit and I can tell the difference, especially with my lag putting. Guess I need to follow my own advice!

As for the decision making process of playing or taking a drop (or a risky shot instead of a safe one, etc.), break it down into odds for each option. For example, I had a third shot from some nasty rough/brush in my match where I could have taken a drop. 1 out of 5 I can make the shot work and not lose a stroke (probably win the hole), 2 out of 5 I just lose one (likely half) and 2 out of 5 I lose two or more - in match play with my opponent on the green in decent position in 3, I take the chance. Stroke play maybe, maybe not - depends on the likelihood of "or more" is.

As for not hitting a shot to your ability, the best advice I ever received was from my H.S. golf pro. When we were struggling with scores that didn't match our abilities, he'd make us hit two tee shots, then we had to play the worst one. Then you repeat the same approach on every shot. It doesn't take long before your brain decides "screw this!" and the difference between the two shrinks - a LOT. It also helps you get more comfortable and better at scoring from less than ideal places, which means less pressure to hit a perfect shot - and less pressure usually means better shots.

Then, after a few rounds, do the same but play the best shot - then you'll see how well you can really play.

Hope at least some of this helps!
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 Message #77453 - This was a reply to message #77452
Rat-Patrol
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    April 20, 2013


Favorite Golfer:
    My Grandpa was
Favorite Golf Course:
    Balboa Park GC


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Monday March 21, 2016 9:11 AM
I find that when I am playing well (am I'm sure it is the same for all) I don't really consciously think at all. It's the other 99 out of 100 rounds that I have to really dig in. As Ron (HmtGolfGuy) said, go with the odds, go with what you know. That's what makes golf great, it is a battle with yourself (I am speaking for us "Hacks" now you elite golfers have your own problems and I won't even venture to assume I have any idea what those may be) as you attempt to work your way through a golf course. There are times when you have a somewhat manageable distance across water vs an easy layup and one must venture through the minefield that is our mind to determine the best strategy for THAT moment . . . not yesterday, not last week, not later in the day, NOW . . . am I loose? . . . am I striking it well? etc. etc. etc. Not being able to play right now is really getting to me, obviously, sorry and thanks for time . . .
REPLY
 Message #77459 - This was a reply to message #77453
shaunstorm123
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    September 9, 2009


Favorite Golfer:
    Rickie, Bubba, Phil, Rory
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    I love em all


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Monday March 21, 2016 2:21 PM
I am no "lights out golfer" but I play my best when I don't over think puts and I focus on a few things...

1. Stop trying to win holes off the tee. A ball in play is better than a ball OB
2. Play my flight. I don't draw the ball. I can't draw the ball. Embrace the fade
3. Chip to spots not to the hole.
4. I stopped trying to make 40fters

But like Rat said, I am playing my best when I do these things unconsciously. Which has been proven by the times I have played lights out when suuuper hung over. All I could think about was how crappy I felt. Still the routine happens cause it is routine.
REPLY
 Message #77462 - This was a reply to message #77459
1PLUS1
RE: Better decision making on the golf course

GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    March 27, 2007


Favorite Golfer:
    Seve; Nick Faldo
Favorite Golf Course:
    Belgrade Lakes (Maine)


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Monday March 21, 2016 5:11 PM
Although I usually do a fairly thorough job of assessing the situation at hand and taking into account all pertinent factors before hitting a shot, I've found that, on certain days, I'm not as mentally focused or engaged as I should be. Could be a number of reasons for it...lack of concentration, "excessive" socializing, outside distraction...but it's rarely because I don't know what to look for.

Next time you feel you've overlooked a critical factor and it cost you a shot or two, ask yourself if some of the factors I mentioned were responsible. If so, take it for what it's worth, vow not to make that mistake again, and move on. However, should your course management skills need some attention, make a concerted effort to improve that part of your game; you may find yourself saving a few strokes on those days when the ball-striking isn't what you hoped for...simply because you made smarter decisions.
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 Message #77470 - This was a reply to message #77452
Rat-Patrol
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    April 20, 2013


Favorite Golfer:
    My Grandpa was
Favorite Golf Course:
    Balboa Park GC


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Monday March 21, 2016 5:51 PM
Good stuff 1PLUS1, spot on. Distractions usually are a big factor in decision making mistakes. I notice on the rare cases I have been left to play alone my mistakes are almost always 100% execution related. The days I play well with others my mind is just free, unencumbered and doesn't allow anything to bother me. If I'm not "feeling it" suddenly everything seems to be a distraction including my own thinking patterns.
Like the golf swing itself, it is one thing to know what to do (or what is best at that moment), it is altogether another to allow yourself to execute (or have the calm to allow yourself to gather then process the information in a proper way).
REPLY
 Message #77471 - This was a reply to message #77470
gary00
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
Member Since:
    March 10, 2014


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    jack
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    arrow wood


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Tuesday March 22, 2016 11:52 AM
good topic I am reminded of the advice I got years ago from a long time playing partner--if you cant get on the green with this shot make sure you have a good shot to get on with the next one---I still forget to my detriment!!! Also distraction and lack of concentration jump in way too often. How many times does something happen prior to the swing--like snagging the club on the take away or feeling mus-aligned--and I go ahead an swing away--nine out of 10 times it doesnt end well.
Prime example-yesterday 3/21 Arrowwood #4 387 from the blues with a big bunker in the middle of the fairway landing area with lateral on the right side-- good drive left it about 170 out good angle--Ok so the mower is coming up from behind which I hear as I am at address and think about. Do I step back and wait for him to stop-- big fat NO --I rush to hit it--result very fat--goes about 40 yards behind a tree-- I still have swing take a 7 to punch out to get 30 yards more than with a wedge right? catch it really crisp but pull it left and over the cart path bushes for an unplayable drop into dirt side hill down hill lie for a shot 40 yards over a trap which I quickly found--out in one missed the 10 footer for an easy 8. Oh what not do!!
Now on 18 370 water totally in front of the green into about a club club 1/2 wind about 180 out with 150+ carry and despite my playing partners ridicule I chose to lay up leaving 110 for my 3rd. Make a 15 foot down-hiller for the par while my manly partner hits over the green from 160 facing a 65 foot down hill chip which he leaves 20 feet long and misses BOGEY!!

[[Edited by gary00 on Tuesday March 22, 2016 2:59 PM]]
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 Message #77483 - This was a reply to message #77471
mdames
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
GK Event: Played in a GK Event

Member Since:
    January 18, 2006


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    Phil
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    Pebble Beach Golf Links


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Tuesday March 22, 2016 12:44 PM
I once got some very good advice concerning playing a shot to your skill level. I was told that I should play the shot that I can hit with confidence. So if I'm standing over a long iron shot over water with a marginal lie. I ask myself if I'm comfortable trying to go for the green. If I am not, I will lay up to a good spot and distance for my next shot. By doing this you will minimize blow up holes and you'd be surprised how often you can still make par with a good chip and putt. An added benefit is you won't go into an emotional or mental downward spiral that can affect the rest of your round. Now if I could only make myself follow this advice more often ........ (sigh)

[[Edited by mdames on Tuesday March 22, 2016 12:46 PM]]
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 Message #77485 - This was a reply to message #77452
leedabord
RE: Better decision making on the golf course
Member Since:
    November 3, 2016


Favorite Golfer:
    Payne Stewart
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    Los Verdes, CA


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Wednesday September 20, 2017 10:48 PM
I too wish I had the discipline to measure shots and hit two good shots instead of three or more bad ones. Just last Sunday, I was 230 yds out with water in front of the green. I had to lay up. I tried getting close to the water with a half-swing on a 4-iron. I topped it about 60 yds. I now had 185 or so to the hole. I decided to just hit a full 4-iron again and hit a great shot over the water into the fringe around the green. I could have easily hit two pitching wedges instead and maybe landed on the green with a nice putt to save my score!
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 Message #85673 - This was a reply to message #77485
cencalhack
RE: Better decision making on the golf course

Member Since:
    January 19, 2015


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    IDK
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    Old Course St Andrews


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Friday September 22, 2017 9:19 AM
There was a great graph/table in one of the magazines once that showed the time for each shot taken by pros compared to ams.

Each progressive shot for the pros took longer than the previous shot as score accumulated, whereas, the ams became faster and faster as they took more shots.

This rush is where I found myself making bad decisions and swings. Now I take a brief few seconds after a poor shot to breathe and release before continuing.

I found that when I am paired with players whom think the only good round is one that is played as fast as possible it greatly reduces my quality of decision making in an attempt to keep pace.
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 Message #85688 - This was a reply to message #77452

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