I watch my daughter, @NatalieB, play golf. Sometimes better than others, but this year, almost always in the 90s (and once, so far, in the 80s). She's playing from 5,000 to 5,300 yards, and she'll take 36-42 putts, and miss the green with chip shots, and hit the occasional shot that goes 20 feet when she's 140 yards out…
And yet, she breaks 100 virtually every time. The other day she had two four-putts and a few three-putts, started with two triples and a quad in the first four holes… and shot 95.
And yet, full grown men playing from 6200 yards who hit their driver farther proportionally than she does from 5200 yards sometimes struggle to break 100. My gut, instant reaction is often something like "my goodness, you have to play some pretty bad golf to not break 100!"
But then I consider a few things. In no particular order…
- Generally speaking, @NatalieB advances her golf ball. It might be 120 yards at a time, but the truly bad 20-footers are few and far between.
- Generally speaking, because @NatalieB's good drives top out at under 200 yards, she doesn't hit them sideways too far.
- Generally speaking, @NatalieB aims away from all trouble, even if it puts her slightly in the rough. She just tries to hit the green from even 30 yards out, and eliminates nearly all risk with most shots.
And that's it. That's pretty much how Natalie can break 100 without too much trouble.
So why can't others? Why can't grown men, while a little girl can? And the reasons are simply the opposite of what's stated above.
- Guys struggling to break 100 generally don't advance their golf ball. They will flub more shots than Nat will in a round. When you're looking at shooting 90 to 95, five flubbed shots put you close to 100. They remove any margin of error.
- Guys struggling to break 100, when they hit their clubs, are not accurate. They might hit their ball 250 yards, which even if hit the same angle offline, travels much further offline!
- Guys struggling to break 100 don't take the conservative lines to every hole, every fairway, every shot.
Long story short, and the real purpose of this post, which is borderline "too long to be a droplet," is this: if your goal is just to break 100, you could probably do that within a few weeks: focus on hitting your hybrids and irons somewhat solidly and putt and chip "okay." However, if your goal is to play good golf for the rest of your life, and to keep improving, just trying to break 100 is the wrong way to go. It'll set you back. You won't learn to hit your driver or longer clubs, you won't learn to take the right risks, and you won't learn to play the game the way you'll play the rest of your life.