I wanted to get some people's responses to this question:
What is the best way to account for your weaknesses/inconsistencies when planning a shot?
There's a lot of talk about "this is how you SHOULD play the shot" on the sample hole threads, which most seasoned golfers seem to fall in line with on this forum, but there's generally a lot of resistance from guys who say stuff like "well, I'm a short hitter, so I shouldn't do that, but this" etc.
I find in sports that I am generally a positive thinker, and golf is no exception. I commit to a shot and expect to hit that shot. In another thread, people disagreed with me when I said "how far do you hit your clubs" shouldn't mean average, but relative average. i.e. if I hit my 5 iron 10 times and the distances are 190,188,186,189,192,183,185,187 but I skull one of them 140 and shank one into a bush 100 yards, my "5 iron distance" isn't 150, but more like 185. Some people said it should be closer to 150. My argument is that I feel like my 5 iron should go 185. When I plan on a shot, I expect it to go that distance. I can't plan on a shank or a skull. If that was the case, I would either aim 45 degrees to the left or hit driver on par 3 holes. I play with guys all the time who will take a 3/4 9 iron swing on a 60 yard pitch because they skulled the last 10 shots, but then they'll actually hit it pure and almost kill someone on the next hole. That's not playing golf to me, that's just whacking a ball and praying. Some might call it course management, though!
On the 16th at Firestone, for example, how much "bad stuff" can and SHOULD you plan for? My thought is I expect to hit my hybrid off the tee 235, so that's what I do. I may hit water sometimes, but then I expect to pitch on to the green and make par or bogey. Another person responded to my thread by saying you need to account for a bad drop, or short rough coming into play... At this level, isn't that overthinking it? I could say "Well, the slope of the hill near the green is 45 degrees, which will raise my blood pressure and bring imminent heart attack into play, so that's out" or "the viscosity of the sand trap is very thick and my wedge shafts are old, so that brings the possibility of club destruction into play."
Of course I'm exaggerating, but my problem is this: I don't play away from trouble enough in golf, but I know I probably should. I play driver the way I see it in my mind and expect to be hitting the next one from the fairway on to the green. How much should one compromise their expectation of excellence to take into account error?