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Osnola

How Much Luck Is Involved...

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I played yesterday with my two brothers.  We are all hackers and normally shoot between 85 and 95.  One brother shot an 84, but seemed to get all the breaks he needed to avoid the big score on a couple of hole.  Example...He is laying 2 just of the green on a par 3.  My ball is laying 2 about 10" from the hole.  He hits his chip, obviously going to be long, but he hits my ball and his bounces off my ball and into the cup for a par.  My ball rolls about 3 feet and now I have a 4' putt for a par.  Miss it and get a bogey.  He saved at least 2 strokes and I lose one...

Next example...Same brother hits driver off tee box of a par 5 and hooks it left.  it is going into some trees and sticker bushes (very thick) that you never find your ball in.  Automatic in one, out two, hit three...but no...he hits a tree, it bounces out at a 45* angle into and rolls on down the fairway.  Hits a good second shot and ends up on the green in 3, 3 putts for a six...Again, seems to save at least 2 more strokes.

So the question is, How Much Does Luck Have To Play With How Your Golf Game Goes?

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3 minutes ago, Osnola said:

My ball rolls about 3 feet and now I have a 4' putt for a par.

Actually you made a triple, because you were required to replace your ball after your brother's ball hit it, and play from there. You played from a wrong place, incurring a two-stroke penalty.

I know that's not the topic, but… learn some of the more basic rules, please. They help you quite a bit more often than people think.


There's no real answer to the question, because how do you quantify that? Overall, breaks tend to level out, good and bad.

The better the golfer, the less luck matters.

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6 minutes ago, Osnola said:

So the question is, How Much Does Luck Have To Play With How Your Golf Game Goes?

There's no question that luck has some effect.  But luck works in both directions, sometimes a good shot gets a bad bounce.  Sometimes you get a gust of wind at just the wrong time.  Sometimes your ball on the green will stop your brother's ball from going into the hole.  On a particular day, luck might save you a few strokes, like it did for your brother, or it might cost you a few.  On balance, I believe it all evens out. 

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7 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

But luck works in both directions,

I dunno, some players play every hole uphill and into the wind, out of the rough and in the rain.  If only they could putt better.

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12 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

There's no question that luck has some effect.  But luck works in both directions, sometimes a good shot gets a bad bounce.  Sometimes you get a gust of wind at just the wrong time.  Sometimes your ball on the green will stop your brother's ball from going into the hole.  On a particular day, luck might save you a few strokes, like it did for your brother, or it might cost you a few.  On balance, I believe it all evens out. 

I concur..

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25 minutes ago, Osnola said:

Example...He is laying 2 just of the green on a par 3.  My ball is laying 2 about 10" from the hole.  He hits his chip, obviously going to be long, but he hits my ball and his bounces off my ball and into the cup for a par.  My ball rolls about 3 feet and now I have a 4' putt for a par.  Miss it and get a bogey.  He saved at least 2 strokes and I lose one...

Kind of irrelevant to the topic, since you should have replaced your ball anyway, but why didn't you mark your ball prior to him chipping since yours was so close to the hole? Or just gone up and tapped it in real quick? 
 

Especially since he was just off the green it's not like you were back in the middle of the fairway or something. 

Edited by klineka

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Generally speaking, it might seem that the better your skills, the "luckier" you get and vice-versa.

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1 hour ago, SPJr said:

Generally speaking, it might seem that the better your skills, the "luckier" you get and vice-versa.

Nope. The better golfer you are the less luck you need to shoot a good score.

A scratch golfer doesn't have to rely on a lucky bounce on a tree nearly as often as a 20 handicap might because the scratch golfer is going to have much more control over his golf ball and will have the ability/skill to avoid the trees/OB more than the 20 hcp will.

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Takes a lot of skill to plan all those lucky shots !!!!!!!!! 

 

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6 minutes ago, klineka said:

Nope. The better golfer you are the less luck you need to shoot a good score.

A scratch golfer doesn't have to rely on a lucky bounce on a tree nearly as often as a 20 handicap might because the scratch golfer is going to have much more control over his golf ball and will have the ability/skill to avoid the trees/OB more than the 20 hcp will.

Uhmmmm  (scratches head)..... yeah, of course.

I said "it might seem".

As if to say: It might seem like __________, but actually ________________.

8 minutes ago, IowaGreg said:

Takes a lot of skill to plan all those lucky shots !!!!!!!!! 

 

Exactly. 

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2 minutes ago, SPJr said:

I said "it might seem".

As if to say: It might seem like __________, but actually ________________.

And I just filled in the "but actually ______________." since you didn't.

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Everyone drains a putt they shouldn't have made, or gets a ridiculous ricochet back into the fairway on a drive hit 50 yards offline.. Regardless of skill level. Im not sure its luck as it is just a part of the game. 

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My favorite is "I got unlucky and hit a cart path..."  A guy actually tried that on me at the end of a match.

Unless the cart path was not visible, and in the fairway, that's not a valid claim. And even if it was, it's good to know what you're hitting at. If the shot's blind, look at the card or crest the hill. Know where you're hitting it.

Edited by 3jacker

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I don't think luck has much to do with golf.  If you catch a bad lie, or bounce an approach shot off a sprinkler head, or roll up against a tree root...that's simply what happened.  The course I play, most often, has exposed rock in 3 of the fairways.  It isn't bad luck to land your drive, or second, on a slab of granite...just bad golf.

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Have you ever noticed that people only complain about the bad breaks they get, or the good breaks someone else gets?  :-D

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15 hours ago, Piz said:

I don't think luck has much to do with golf.  If you catch a bad lie, or bounce an approach shot off a sprinkler head, or roll up against a tree root...that's simply what happened.  The course I play, most often, has exposed rock in 3 of the fairways.  It isn't bad luck to land your drive, or second, on a slab of granite...just bad golf.

But what IS luck?  You can get differing results from nearly identical shots, the difference between the shots being so small as to be completely out of control of the player.  Sure, this is a function of randomness, or extremely small-scale variations in conditions, but it gets labelled as luck.  I have no problem with that label, I just try to accept the results of the shot, whether its due to my own influence on the ball, or to something beyond my control.

 

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If you don't like that others are getting lucky breaks, I think the only thing you can do is to practice more & learn to score better - then their luck won't matter as much as you will be a better golfer than they are. Sure they might win an occasional hole where you hit better shots, but it will be infrequent.

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