Getting your handicap down

Today’s post comes to us from Cliff Nunn over at Golf Clubs Down Under. The site has a huge range of golf equipment available, including custom fitted golf clubs. He’s recently begun a golf blog, “Rub of the Green” which has great golf news updates and plenty of excellent golf tips.by Cliff Nunn
Reaching the green in regulation (GIR) is the key to reducing your handicap. It is what separates good golfers from bad, as well as players with low golf handicaps from those with high ones.

But let’s stop there. Low handicappers and high handicappers in fact play to a different ‘Regulation’. The reason you have a handicap is to compensate for expertise/experience and to create a level playing field.

Think this way: Next time you play a par 4 on which you get 2 strokes, Regulation for you is four strokes where as the low handicappers have to get on for two. If you’re on in less than four you’re playing well. Sink the putt in two and you’re playing below your handicap. Do that for 18 holes and your handicap will really tumble.

GIR is an unnecessary pressure that high handicap players place upon themselves. The result, instead of playing within your ability you try too hard, you hit too hard and spray shots in every direction. You don’t have to out drive the low handicapper to win the hole.

The secret is to substitute ‘Course Strategy’ for GIR. Plan your game for each hole. If your handicap gives you two strokes on a par 4, plan the shots you need to reach the green in three, which leaves you one shot in reserve. Do this on every hole and play shots that are within your level of expertise and you will not only reduce your handicap, you’ll also win the competition.

3 thoughts on “Getting your handicap down

  • July 30, 2009 at 00:59
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    Yep – some good advice and just shows how we can overcomplicate the game by thinking too much about our total score. By using the above thought processes it helps breaks the game down into the basic elements and helps to make us concentrate on one shot at a time rather than worrying about the overall score at that point.

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  • July 30, 2009 at 01:03
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    Also interesting to note that at the recent Johnnie Walker event in Perth one of the players I was helping out had an awesome 17/18 GIR in round 1 and carded a respectable 1 under.
    Day 2 came around and the GIR dropped to 11/18 – however the score for round 2 was 5 under the card!
    Just shows that GIR and the various other statistics we all like to watch, while being interesting often dont tell the whole story.

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  • July 30, 2009 at 04:07
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    Statistics, statistics, they can tell you anything you want them to and you can manipulate them by taking a snap shot of them to reveal exactly what you want, so in short they can be completely useless.

    If you want to discover how useless stats are in sport, read the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis.

    The only statistic worth knowing is the final score, it doesn’t take a mountain of stats to know that if you three putt all day your score won’t be pretty, or if you only scored one goal from six attempts you can’t shoot straight, you need to practice all aspects of your game!

    Playing short can have another side to it, that being you’ll play alot more chips/wedges then normal, if you’re not good at this then you won’t break your handicap, you will also be in two minds if you think you can actually reach the green say 5 iron, but then start to second guess about how far you want to hit the ball on your next, full wedge/chip/bump???

    It reads good, but it’s more about knowing your game and managing that.

    Think I might start to write my book “American sports obsession with Statistics”

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