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The Plus/Minus Game

11 posts in this topic

(I'll rename the thread title if someone can think of a better name for the "game.")

This is a little game I made up to help someone both focus on the task at hand (just for 5-10 seconds) by actually describing the shot he intends to hit and then trying to hit it.

We played a game where you got no points if you thoroughly planned your shot, you got a point if you pulled off very much the shot you envisioned (rather tight tolerances - within about three yards laterally on your drive with the proper shape, within about a ten foot radius with the proper flight on approaches), and you lost a point if you failed to plan thoroughly or if you hit a shot that obviously cost you a shot (i.e. hit into a greenside bunker, etc.).

You can just write little + and - in an empty row on your scorecard and then add up the total at the end of each 9 or at the end of the round.

I finished with nine points. My student finished with four and, not coincidentally, had a pretty darn good round. He lost -1 only once because he failed to share his plan, and two other times by hitting poor shots that cost him a shot (pitched once and wasn't on the putting green, hit left behind some thick trees and had to pitch out).

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Interesting game.  Will definitely have to try it out.  I have often found myself aiming at general points instead of specifics.  For example, I'll just aim down the fairway without any regard to if I want to go down the left, right, etc.

As for a name, you could call it "Call your shot"

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Originally Posted by SloverUT

As for a name, you could call it "Call your shot"

That sounds more like a "bravado" sort of game (connotatively, anyway), while this is mainly a "game" to force you to formulate a definitive plan and then attempt to execute that plan.

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I really like this idea ... gonna try it next round.  I am just going to repeat the rules I think you wrote to make sure I got them right:

- If you plan your shot out correctly and execute it, then you get a point.

- If you fail to plan your shot out you lose a point.

- If you hit a really poor shot that costs you a shot you lose a point.

Examples:

I jump up onto the tee and think to myself "put it somewhere in the left side of the fairway" then proceed to slice one into the trees on the right.  I assume I'd get -2 there for not planning correctly and for hitting a shot that costs me?

Same "plan" but then I hit it into the fairway ... -1 points because I didn't have a specific plan?

Instead I say "Hit a push draw that ends up in line with the right edge of that bunker," so long as I don't hit it somewhere crazy, I get zero points?

----------------

I definitely think that there are a few shots a round (sometimes) where I get a little ahead of myself and fail to plan it out quite properly, so I think this will be really good for me.

As far as a name?  Not the creative type here ... but maybe something like "Plan & Execute," or "Execution?"  Like I said ... not very creative. ;)

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I like it. It not only forces you to think and plan your shots, but places some accountability on you for doing so. Maybe the accountability game. Of course that could tend to scare a lot of people off. ;-)
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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

As far as a name?  Not the creative type here ... but maybe something like "Plan & Execute," or "Execution?"  Like I said ... not very creative. ;)

Hahahaha.  I would love to see the looks of some peoples faces if you asked them if they wanted to play execution.

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Sounds like a game more for someone close to scratch or better.

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Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop

Sounds like a game more for someone close to scratch or better.

Not at all.  The expectations and what constitutes a successful execution may be different for a less skilled player, but the benefit to thinking/planning and executing the shot remains the same.  Heck, it may benefit the less skilled player more.....

Here's an example:

On the tee, a less skilled player might not be thinking "high draw off the left edge of the right fairway bunker to ride the right to left helping breeze and to leave myself on the left side of the fairway to allow for a better angle to the right pin".......

.....but he CAN be thinking "I know my normal ball flight is a bit of a slice, so I'm going to set up on the right side of the box and aim down the left rough line in order to allow my natural ball flight to carry the ball back to the center of the fairway"....

Too many players simply walk up to the tee, stick a peg in the ground and take a mighty whack at it.  This game will force you to think your way around the course a little bit more and probably shave a few strokes.  It will certainly teach a less skilled player things about his game and course management that you didn't already know.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I really like this idea ... gonna try it next round.  I am just going to repeat the rules I think you wrote to make sure I got them right:

- If you plan your shot out correctly and execute it, then you get a point.

No, you have to execute it to a very high degree of satisfaction. To me, this included not adding a point for hitting a fade to the right side of the fairway because I heeled it a little, so I didn't get the normal distance. We had a few yards or a few feet in which we'd allow for our ball to land to count as a +1. The vast majority of shots will be simply zeroes. It's only the ones where you pretty much call it exactly that you get a point.

Originally Posted by Golfingdad

- If you hit a really poor shot that costs you a shot you lose a point.

Yes, and you cannot earn points for putting, because in those cases the plan is obvious, and making a long putt is reward enough, but you can lose points for failing to execute (i.e. three-putting). I could see, however, allowing for a +1 point on all putts that fall in with good speed and which are hit from a certain distance (20 feet?) or more away, as those do require a good read (planning), line, and speed (execution).

Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I jump up onto the tee and think to myself "put it somewhere in the left side of the fairway" then proceed to slice one into the trees on the right.  I assume I'd get -2 there for not planning correctly and for hitting a shot that costs me?

Yep. "The fairway" is not really a plan.

Note that often the plans include discussion of WHY the plan is chosen. "I'm 155, into the wind, green back to front. Terrible lie here in the rough, so I'm going to hack my 8I here, because it can't go long, but short is fine as it will leave an uphill chip or putt. If it comes out as hot as it can, I'll be putting on the back of the green, and if it comes out thick, I'll have a chip. I'll play it back in my stance to help maximize contact."

That's a good "planning" statement. "8I to the front of the green" is not in that case.

Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Same "plan" but then I hit it into the fairway ... -1 points because I didn't have a specific plan?

Instead I say "Hit a push draw that ends up in line with the right edge of that bunker," so long as I don't hit it somewhere crazy, I get zero points?

Yes to both. If you hit it and its within a few yards of the right edge of the bunker, you get +1.

And yes, in this game you can get a -1 or a 0 for a hole in one. If the pin is tucked over the edge of a bunker, and you say "7I to the middle of the green" and push it you get no points because you didn't pull off your shot exactly, and yet you at least made a plan. Make no plan but hole out and you lose a point for that hole.

Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop

Sounds like a game more for someone close to scratch or better.

Not at all, but someone else already addressed why. I'd recommend being a little more generous with your definition of a shot that's "executed as called" (thus earning a point), but otherwise, no, anyone can play, because anyone can plan. And even if you win -4 to -8, you've still probably planned more than your competitor, or struck the ball a bit better than he that day so as not to hit so many poor enough shots that you cost yourself points.

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Ok, so I played this game twice this week. Thursday I finished with a total of -10 (15 horrible shots and 5 as planned). I did make sure to actually have a plan for each shot, so at least I didn't lose any points that way. But I hit the ball horribly and shot a 91. Yikes! Then I played the game during my round again today with a slightly (hyperbole alert!) different outcome. 9 shots as planned and 7 bad ones that cost me a shot, for a net total of +2. My score: 4 over, 76. (A 3.something diff, which is one of my best ever) The best part about the game is it reminds you to plan out each shot. No more stepping up to the tee with the vague idea of hitting it "somewhere in the fairway."
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Thanks for the idea Erik. I am going to try this game out this week.

Originally Posted by Golfingdad

The best part about the game is it reminds you to plan out each shot. No more stepping up to the tee with the vague idea of hitting it "somewhere in the fairway."

I am glad to hear this worked well for you. I'll admit after reading this, I am realizing that I never formulate a very good plan for any of my shots. I think this is going to help a lot!

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