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"The Elements of Scoring" by Ray Floyd - Page 2

post #19 of 52
Picked this book up recently, i have to say it is a great read. I spend so much of my time learning the mechanics of golf that I neglected to learn how to play the game itself. I guess I was always just naive enough to assume having a better swing = lower scores. I feel like if I can apply the wisdom imparted in this book, I can post lower scores with the swing I have today. It has certainly opened my eyes to other facets of the game.
post #20 of 52

Like someone else above, I also picked this up used (actually in nearly new shape) from an Amazon affiliated seller for $4 ($.01 for book, $3.99 for S&H).


I'm most of the way done with it, and I'm kind of amazed that there are so many people saying that they re-read it.  I genuinely have not seen a single thing in the entire book so far that I consider to be "new" advice.  I almost feel like I must have checked this out from the library and read it a decade and a half ago (virtually positive I didn't), everything in it seems so familiar.  Literally, there's not a single piece of advice that made me sit up and say "Wow, that's true!  I never realized that before but I'm going to start following that pointer from now on."  I guess 20 years of playing golf, including a few lessons, receiving comments on the course from more experienced golfers, gleaning some advice from commentary while watching PGA tournaments on TV, and over a dozen years of subscribing to one or more golf magazines have imparted to me pretty much every pearl of wisdom that Floyd mentions. Not that I always remember or follow all of that advice, though**.


This is a very clearly written, well organized book.  The core of the book is avoiding the 10 frequent amateur mistakes that Erik listed.  It's all very good advice, but it's also mostly common sense or strategy that most people who have been playing for a few years aready know.  I plan to have my daughter read it in a few years once she starts hitting more shots out beyond 70 yards or so and she develops a bit more patience.  I think it would be a great book to give to the beginning golfer, but I'm really surprised that low-mid handicappers could get much out of it. 


I would be really curious to see what advice people are going back to re-read in this book.  Probably I should sit down and force myself to memorize the couple pages on ball flight patterns with down-, up-, and sidehill lies (it never seems to come into play often enough for me on the flatter sorts of courses I usually play that I ever made a point of remembering it from having read it elsewhere in the past and I seem to forget it pretty easily).  But aside from that, I can't think of any other advice in this book I would benefit from re-reading and I consciously have been reading it with an eye out for more salient advice that I don't already try to incorporate. 


I guess there are no amazing pointers and tips that reading some book will magically enable me to to play better golf.  Crap. 


**  I already follow a lot of Floyd's recommendations, and if I followed all of the advice in the book, I know that I would indeed score lower.  But I don't think I'd have more fun playing.  "Better" for me doesn't exactly correlate with simply lower scores - it means hitting more good shots with fewer blow-ups.  One week years ago I practiced knockdown shots, putting the ball back in my stance, clubbing up 1, taking a 3/4 swing, and got it so that I could keep shots in or close to the fairway probably 50% more often than I could with my regular shots, hit fewer wild slices or hooks OB and I was losing only maybe 20% off the distance compared to a well-hit shot.  But it just wasn't fun playing so conservatively - the good feeling from pounding a 280 yard drive or puring a 4-iron 200yds or a PW 135 yards just seems to be a lot more memorable than the low 155-160 yard 5-iron in the fairway and wasn't overwhelmed by the much more frequent bad shots.  None of my best rounds of golf have featured conservative play.  The problem is that when I try playing totally conservatively, it usually backfires on me - those times I try to avoid underclubbing and smooth out my swing without so much effort, I either end up hitting a lot of fat shots that go 40 yards or I'm connecting really well and overshooting the greens (seems like it's usually into a hazard behind the green, too). 

post #21 of 52

I will pick this book up for sure - have always liked Ray Floyd. His pro career was great! How did his generation do so well competing in tournaments - they didn't have swing coaches, short game coaches, mental guru's, zone coaches, etc.

post #22 of 52
Just finished this book. I have yet to apply what was said on the course yet.. But I definitely enjoyed the read!!
post #23 of 52

This was one of the very first  golf instruction books I had ever read .....and I still believe it to be one of the very best.


Lots of common sense , jargon free advice about how to score well-even  when you aren't necessarily playing well.


The point I always remember is regarding chipping...."chipping is just putting with loft"  I remember this virtually every time I'm setting up a chip shot...and more often than not meet with tap-in quality results when I do remember and apply this simple yet effective advice.




A great book to read ...and re-read.

post #24 of 52

Right you are Mulligan....Floyd's generation and those before him did not have swing coaches, sports psychologists and an entourage following them about on tour.....they did NOT go see their PGA Teaching pros....they were  often self taught players with home made swings....and worked out their own flaws slumps and mental toughness issues....


closest thing we have today to that approach would be guys like Bubba Watson....and perhaps a few others but not very many.....methinks that sometimes these guys today are more inclined to develop a case of "paralysis through analysis" as there just seems to be far too many chefs working on the same dish.


Of course those guys back then didn't make 1 or 2 million per year while never winning anything like todays pampered lot either.....all these guys today need do is make the cut on Friday and they are assured of a last place finish which will usually cut them a nifty six figure paycheck.....six figures was often the top prize money for the winners circle in Floyd's day...

post #25 of 52

Lee Trevino was once asked why he never employed a swing coach - he replied "I haven't met one that could beat me"!

post #26 of 52

LOL....yeah, I've never understood why so many players who are successful....like Tiger and Padraig Harrington- and at the top of their game decide abruptly to blow the whole thing up and change the swing that won them Tourneys and majors.


Now in Tigers case I suspect he had to do something if he wanted to have a long career as his old swing aggravated his injuries....but other guys seem to just do this as they fall under the influence of some highly priced swing guru who btw usually never even played on the Tour, never mind won!.....nice to have money to burn, eh?


I recall several former tour pros saying that they could fix Tigers swing in an hour....by simply having him return to the swing that won 14 majors and over 70 Tourneys......I think Trevino was one of them.

post #27 of 52

One player that comes to mind is Matt Kuchar, some years ago he did a complete re-build of his swing. And you can't question his success having won multiple times on tour. On the flip side is Stewart Cink who won the Open Championship in 2009 - after having won he disappeared. Then I see him playing a tournament a couple weeks ago and the commentator says Stewart is going back to a "feel" swing rather than "mechanics". Why mess with success in the first place??

post #28 of 52

OK, I finished Elements of Scoring and my initial impression still stands:  it's well-written and very clear, contains lots of very good advice, but the advice is mostly of a common sense nature.  The irony of this book is that to take advantage of some of the advice in this book, it would take above-average golf skills, but I would think that the experienced golfer has seen almost every one of these tips and suggestions elsewhere.  I think this would be a great book to give to a beginning golfer, even if he or she lacks the skills to follow some of Floyd's recommendations, as his advice may not be obvious to someone just starting out who is not as familiar with the elements of golf strategy and who may not consider the concept of saving strokes not by hitting the ball better, but by playing smarter shots.


I just started Stan Utley's Art of Scoring and I think I'm going to like it better.  Floyd's book is almost exclusively about golf strategy - it answers the two questions "What kind of shot should I hit and where should I aim?"  Utley's book (so far, it seems) also answers those questions but goes further with instruction on how to hit the shot.  I like the idea of including both strategy and technique.  I also like his idea of using the sand wedge for most chips, as I think it is a lot less time-intensive to practice hitting chips of various shapes and lengths with one club rather than getting the feel for how much carry and roll each of, say, 5 clubs will produce.  For me, simple is better and I usually do chip just with the SW. 


After I've had a few rounds, a few hours on and around the practice green, and some buckets on the range to loosen some of the winter rust, I'm going to force myself to play an ultra-conservative round of golf, following as many of Floyds tips as possible and see how low that gets my score.  Maybe if I shoot below an 89 (my one-and-only 18 holes under 90), I'll have to rethink the conservative approach.  I guess it will depend on whether I have any feel-good shots; I'm just not sure how much fun it will be to play every shot safe and mechanical. 

post #29 of 52

I think you are creating something of a false dichotomy between Floyds and Stockton's books.

Floyd does indeed provide some considerable amount of  "technique" but does so in an extremely simple and more easily digested form which does not lend itself to becoming troublesome swing thoughts on the course. His advice is worthwhile for ALL handicaps as we can all use a reminder of how to score effectively , especially when we aren't playing particularly well. ( i.e. even Tiger needs to be reminded to keep his head down from time to time, eh? lol  )


For example , instead of rambling on about how to chip effectively Floyd -a most masterful chipper and short game artist himself, simply says "Chipping is putting with loft" and viola the amateur is more likely to approach their chip with a putting stroke and avoid a chili-dip, chunk, skull, etc.


 BTW: Floyd disagrees with the Stockton advice regarding chipping only with sand wedge and demonstrates how to chip effectively with a variety of clubs depending on the distance desired.

His approach can be seen on Golf Channel's Champions Tour Learning Academy series where he chips progressively farther with clubs ranging all the way back to a 5 iron!


On the whole, while both books may prove valuable , as a high 'capper it is wise not to dismiss Floyds advice out of hand. He is telling you how to make a very difficult game more simple -which is precisely what a high 'capper ( and virtually everyone else)  needs : things like shot position strategies which leave you with a "good miss" ( i.e. not short-siding yourself, etc.), if an approach shot requires more than a 7 iron best aim for the center of the green and NOT go pin hunting, etc.


I think that once you start breaking 90 more consistently you may re-discover the wisdom of Floyd's book and it's proper place in the pantheon of excellent advise for us amateurs.

Different horses for different courses. Good Luck.

post #30 of 52

I think you have misunderstood what I said.  I wasn't in any way saying that Floyd's advice and tips were bad or not worth following.  I was not questioning anything that Floyd wrote, rather I was questioning those golfers who claim that what he wrote was so uniquely astute and profound that they need to go back and re-read the book several times.  Literally 90 to 95% of The Elements of Scoring is golf common sense and I don't understand what portion of this book an experienced golfer doesn't already know or did not retain upon the first time through the book and must re-read.  Hearing experienced golfers rave about this book, not for less experienced golfers but for themselves, gave me high expectations of new revelations about golf, expectations that the book did not meet.  By analogy, it would be the equivalent of hearing about an amazing book about power sales, only to discover that the book recommended nothing more than: 1) Know your customers; 2) smile, have a firm handshake, and be confident; 3) know your product; 4) don't promise what you can't deliver and do deliver what you promise; and 5) always be prompt and always follow up on calls.   It's solid, but hardly eye-opening advice.


I posted my comments here to let people know that there's not a whole lot more to this book than the 10 things that amateur golfers do wrong that Eric posted in his initial post.  If you already know and avoid those mistakes, you probably won't find much, if any, new advice in this book.  I don't think anyone who has actually read the book and knows much about golfing could dispute that statement.


If you're new to golf, this is a good book to buy.  If you've got a fair amount of experience with golf, check this out from your local library and if you find that my opinions and your knowledge of golf are not that consistent, then put in an order for one of the 1-cent used copies of the book from an Amazon.com affiliated seller.


Incidentally, I've never read Stockton's book - I was referring to Stan Utley's.

post #31 of 52

So a week ago I lent the book to my usual golf buddy who has been playing for maybe 6 or 8 years and usually shoots about a stroke or so worse than I do.  I told him that it has a lot of really good advice, some of it particularly good for his game (he tends to take some risky shots, gets hot-headed when they aren't successful, and then stews and suffers for several bad holes) but mentioned that some of it was more or less golf common sense.  He read it and told me - "I think you were right - it really is mostly common sense.  I already knew most of it."

post #32 of 52

Read this one a few years back, the most helpful point for me was to start easy in the beginning of a round, particularly if you don't get enough time to warm up. Add a half a club to all shots for the first few holes. Smooth swings to conservative targets until you feel the groove going.

post #33 of 52
I ordered this book last summer for a few dollars, best investment I've made to date, not just prce wise but well worth the time invested in reading it. Its a good read to get your head focused right for thinking and I have read it several times.
post #34 of 52
Originally Posted by sportsnut View Post

I ordered this book last summer for a few dollars, best investment I've made to date, not just prce wise but well worth the time invested in reading it. Its a good read to get your head focused right for thinking and I have read it several times.

Sportsnut, what is it about this book that you felt would help your game if you re-read it?  What did you not already know because it's common sense or else didn't quite remember?  I'm genuine curious, because if handicaps are anything to go by (and most people agree that they certainly are), you are a better golfer than I am, yet I cannot imagine benefiting from re-reading this book.

post #35 of 52

I shot my best round ( one under ) after reading this book  last week .


Play to Your Strength  - better course management 

Dont expect good score but make every shot count , the best you can execute .

85% Swing Effort - not to kill every shot

Visualization - from Driver  all the way to putting

post #36 of 52
Originally Posted by kevin.chan View Post

I shot my best round ( one under ) after reading this book  last week .


Play to Your Strength  - better course management 

Dont expect good score but make every shot count , the best you can execute .

85% Swing Effort - not to kill every shot

Visualization - from Driver  all the way to putting


Funny how the 3.9 sees the value, but the 26? doesn't.  LOL

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