Originally Posted by Fred Fields
I apologize. I started this thread badly. My goal is not to suggest that golfers not consult their pros when they need help with their game.
My original premise is that if you ask any golfer, "How can you improve your game?" Just about every one will answer..."Take a lesson." That's legitimate. My suggestion is that most golfers don't play the best that they could with their current game because they don't think on the golf course.
Here's another example...Don't cut the dogleg.
If you watch the PGA on TV, all the pros routinely cut the dogleg. That's great for them, because there's a good chance that they'll hit the ball high and straight and long, and go over or past the dogleg.
But if your best score is 102, and you try to cut the dogleg, you'll probably go into the woods or water or trash. Better to try to stay in the fairway and go around, and not lose the strokes in the woods, etc.
If your best score is 102, and you DON'T try to cut the dogleg, you'll still probably end up in the trash. Most golfers in that range don't have the consistency to play strategically, and don't have an accurate sense of what their shot will do.
If you asked any golfer how to improve their game, they won't say "Change to an alternate victory condition which rewards your current game". Making the most of your game is great, but it doesn't improve your game, which I define as the shots you are capable of hitting. It's talent, experience, practice, knowledge, and execution. Course management and strategy are not a part of it IMO, that's what we have caddies for. Maybe instead of buying your book we should all just get a caddy.
And as I mentioned, if you aren't having accuracy problems but score poorly due to distance, change tees/courses. That dogleg is supposed to be a risk/reward element, meaning it should be at a range you could clear it on a good shot. If you play from a spot there's no hazards in reach off the tee, then you're playing the wrong tees. If you just play around every hazard, that's not a strategy at all, it's a cop out. You're supposed to get the lowest score possible on the course that day; you don't intentionally steer away from shots you know you can clear (eg forced carries, reachable greens in 2, aiming at center green from 50 yards out, etc). Maybe sometimes the wind or conditions will make clearing a hazard impossible, or help you get over one you've never been able to reach. There's no spirit of challenge against the course or anyone else when you're not testing your limits. That's why the PGA is interesting to watch and your sort are not. You could save money by going to the range instead.
Not to mention, I bet someone who plays like you is absolutely awful at trouble play because you're never in it. Ditto with match play, since you'll only score when your opponent feels like letting you win. He could get 2 birdies or a few pars, then cruise for the rest of the match, tie a bunch of holes, and get a win. If you never get any birdies except the freak 30 footer, you can't win in match play. It's like playing basketball entirely on defense the whole game, maybe you hold the opponent below 50 points every time, but you aren't winning. Not to mention you'll still have mistakes.