I have never been able to score well when playing a new course for the first time. My scores range from even par to low 80s, but I probably average between 80-82 for first-time rounds on a new course. I usually need to play a course at least twice in order to feel confident about where to aim off of the tee, how the wind will affect the flight relative to the layout of the hole, how much a slope will affect a shot or putt, seeing different tiers on greens, etc. I attribute this to the fact that I'm a massive head case, and if I have the slightest hesitation about what shot to play I'll usually make a terrible swing.
Over the last 3 months I've been doing a lot better, carding a dozen or more rounds in the mid-low 70s on new courses. In fact, I've recently had some career days on courses that I had never played before.
- Over Memorial Day weekend I shot a 69 at North Palm Beach CC the first time out.
- Over this past weekend I played Troon North in Scottsdale for the first time. Shot a 72 on Monument on Saturday and 74 on Pinnacle on Sunday. This is the best two consecutive rounds I've played on new-to-me courses since high school, and maybe ever.
I've been playing a lot of golf lately, and on a lot of different courses, which I think is the primary reason by my first-time scores are getting better. But it got me wondering: do other folks have the same trouble? For those that aren't affected by playing a course "blind", why do you think that is?