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Hugh Jars

Course Management Strategies to Break 90

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3 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

 Consider this, an average amateur can hit his 7 iron 150 yards.  Even if you only played a 7 iron, you could be on any par 5 in 4 strokes.  Smart golf trumps inaccurate distance if you are going to be in miserable rough, hazards and unplayable lies

The problem with this approach is that your typical 20-handicapper won't hit 4 consecutive 7-irons in a row, and he probably can't average 150 yards with them even if he did.  He's just too inconsistent.  So when he tops his second shot and it goes 50 yards, or shanks it into the trees, there's no chance for him to get to the green in regulation + 1. He has to hope to get up and down for bogey, and he doesn't do that very often either.  Or he can try the 3-wood off the deck.  He's better off hitting a relatively longer club from the tee (driver preferably, but something longer than a 7-iron).  That allows him to make a mistake along the way and still reach the green in regulation + one.  It also allows him the potential to reach some greens in regulation, and he needs a few pars if he's going to be under 90.

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48 minutes ago, Hugh Jars said:

Not necessarily. To break 90 you’re essentially aiming slightly better than a bogey every hole. So on a par 4 hitting a shorter club with a greater chance of it being straighter then swallowing your pride and laying up on the next shot with a club you control well could definitely be a higher percentage play than risking spraying a driver badly into some hazard and attempting a glory shot to the green.

The problem with the take a shorter club off the tee and lay up type of strategies is that they lower the scoring ceiling. The best score one can realistically shoot on a medium length par 4, say 360 yards, hitting 150-150 is par. And that's only by getting up and down from 60 yards out. Most likely the bogey golfer averages closer to 3 strokes from there and scores more doubles than he remembers, but ends up blaming it on bad putting or something.

The other flaw with this strategy of course is idea that hitting driver results in 100% strokes lost and hitting layups results in 100% execution. The reality is the golfer who can't break 90 likely duffs some of those proposed layups and leaves themselves in bad position to score well. It's also unlikely that every drive ends up in a bad position and it's simply observation bias that leads them to focus on the bad ones.

1 hour ago, Hugh Jars said:

Check out “golf sidekick” on YouTube.

We have threads discussing this.

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Go find a 3500m/4000m course and play your fairway/hybrid off the tee and then a shorter iron into the green, plus shorter Par3 holes, and see how you do.

Hitting some greens in regulation, or just slightly missing them, gives a chance at some birdies and definitely pars.

This will give you a great perspective on the importance of getting as far down the “fairway” as you can.

John

 

Edited by 70sSanO

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1 hour ago, Hugh Jars said:

To be honest, I think it’s pretty obvious improving the swing is going to help. And, like most golfers, I’m always working on my swing, including getting instruction. I created this thread to discuss strategies on the course while playing.

So putting, chipping, pitching, scrambling, club selection, smart aiming is irrelevant? 

None of those, are “course management strategies”.

But regardless, yep, decent ball striking with no more than a very average ability at the rest of that “stuff” breaks 90 consistently.

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

The problem with this approach is that your typical 20-handicapper won't hit 4 consecutive 7-irons in a row, and he probably can't average 150 yards with them even if he did.  He's just too inconsistent.  So when he tops his second shot and it goes 50 yards, or shanks it into the trees, there's no chance for him to get to the green in regulation + 1. He has to hope to get up and down for bogey, and he doesn't do that very often either.  Or he can try the 3-wood off the deck.  He's better off hitting a relatively longer club from the tee (driver preferably, but something longer than a 7-iron).  That allows him to make a mistake along the way and still reach the green in regulation + one.  It also allows him the potential to reach some greens in regulation, and he needs a few pars if he's going to be under 90.

That is why when I was at this stage a real key was working on wedges 100 yards and in.  Assuming an inconsistent hit, whether off the tee or with an approach, I was able (and maybe more importantly confident) of getting to GIR +1 in order to make bogey.  And occasionally wedge one in close to save par.

3 hours ago, David in FL said:

You don’t need course management to break 90.  You just need reasonable, full-swing ball-striking.  

I don't want to get into a long game vs. short game because ultimately I agree that long game is more important to being a good golfer, but for someone in the low 90's trying to break 90 they are most likely swinging decently but losing strokes on the short game (at least in my experience).  Someone who shoots 90 is only going to have 2-4 GIRs, so making sure you don't give away strokes with the short game is probably an easier approach to breaking 90.

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9 minutes ago, gbogey said:

 

I don't want to get into a long game vs. short game because ultimately I agree that long game is more important to being a good golfer, but for someone in the low 90's trying to break 90 they are most likely swinging decently but losing strokes on the short game (at least in my experience).  Someone who shoots 90 is only going to have 2-4 GIRs, so making sure you don't give away strokes with the short game is probably an easier approach to breaking 90.

 Someone struggling to break 90 is unlikely to even be hitting for greens in regulation. Moreover the greens that they’re missing are not generally “near greens in regulation”.  You can easily miss every single green, but miss it closely, and then chip and putt with bare mediocrity, and break 90 more often than not.

One of my favorite threads on practice ratios that certainly applies here...

 

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Haven't read all the replies, but as a person who is barely breaking 90 much, it's rarely course management decisions that cause that. Any time my score balloons over 90 it's bad shots or missed putts. Work on ball striking and putting.

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1 hour ago, gbogey said:

but for someone in the low 90's trying to break 90 they are most likely swinging decently but losing strokes on the short game (at least in my experience).  Someone who shoots 90 is only going to have 2-4 GIRs

Someone who only hits 2-4 GIR is not swinging decently. They're not a good ballstriker at all, no matter what they tell themselves.

1 hour ago, gbogey said:

so making sure you don't give away strokes with the short game is probably an easier approach to breaking 90.

Quickest way to shave a few strokes is to work on short game and putting, yea. So if someone is right on the doorstep and they just want to break 90 occasionally then that might be enough to get them over the hump. If they want to shoot sub 90 consistently though, the long game needs to get better.

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26 minutes ago, billchao said:

Someone who only hits 2-4 GIR is not swinging decently. They're not a good ballstriker at all, no matter what they tell themselves.

This could be a whole other debate as to how to define decently.  Someone in the low 90's is likely taking 40-42 full swings a round, including penalties, meaning that they failed to advance the ball or had a penalty 4-6 times a round. Decent in my opinion, but not good.

26 minutes ago, billchao said:

Quickest way to shave a few strokes is to work on short game and putting, yea. So if someone is right on the doorstep and they just want to break 90 occasionally then that might be enough to get them over the hump. If they want to shoot sub 90 consistently though, the long game needs to get better.

I think you said what I was trying to say better than I did.  If I'm trying to improve my game to its very best then 65/20/15 is the way to go.  If I average 90 and want to average 80, 65/20/15 is the way to go (and from my own experience if you do improve by 10 strokes you will get 6-7 shots from full swings). But if you are consistently scoring 90-95, and maybe shot 90 on the number 7 times and never broken 90 like I once did, then the quickest way to shave a few strokes is by your short game.  I thought that's what the op creator was asking.

 

 

 

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Alot of good strategies in here, but I think the most difficult aspect is actually using them. It takes a bit of restraint leaving the driver in the bag and teeing off with a hybrid. Or hitting to the fat part of the green instead of at the tight pin. Course management takes effort to follow through with. 

   Lately, and with much disappointment, I find myself starting the round following course management, then relaxing this discipline only to find my score getting worse. "A bogie is not a bad score for a bogie golfer." 

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1 hour ago, Billy Z said:

. "A bogie is not a bad score for a bogie golfer." 

Hell, a bogey isn't a bad score for many fairly good players.  Doubles are bad, but many times a decent score is saved by accepting a bogey instead of taking excessive risk in trying to make a par.  The most difficult concept to accept in on-course decision-making is that the right choice doesn't depend even a tiny bit on how many times you've hit the ball already.  It depends on your current position, and the challenges remaining between you and the hole.  That concept might change a little in specific situations, but its a pretty good general rule.  Get from here into the hole in as few shots as you reasonably can.

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54 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Hell, a bogey isn't a bad score for many fairly good players.  Doubles are bad, but many times a decent score is saved by accepting a bogey instead of taking excessive risk in trying to make a par.  The most difficult concept to accept in on-course decision-making is that the right choice doesn't depend even a tiny bit on how many times you've hit the ball already.  It depends on your current position, and the challenges remaining between you and the hole.  That concept might change a little in specific situations, but its a pretty good general rule.  Get from here into the hole in as few shots as you reasonably can.

I just played yesterday and this situation is a good example of what we are discussing here. A par 5 that has to be pieced together and three well-placed shots because of a lake that has to be hit over on the second shot, leaving very little chance to make the green in two shots for anybody. It is just a devil of a hole. My drive was a good one but just rolled into the wet rough leaving a slightly downhill lie for my second shot. I wanted to snip off more acreage then what was really good for me in a situation like that (bad choice). My 4-hybrid got caught up a bit in the wet grass causing the clubface to slightly close and reduce the swing speed. The ball ended up in the lake and I had to take a drop. I could have used a more reliable club in that situation and laid back a little bit having a 150 yard shot into the green instead of a 100 yard third shot. It was a bad decision of course management on my behalf and things I need to correct. I am sure a situation like mine gets played over and over again by so many golfers out there who overextend themselves in various difficult circumstances just adding strokes to the total score. But as you say, a bogey is not a bad score for a bogey golfer or even better golfers.

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3 hours ago, gbogey said:

I thought that's what the op creator was asking.

OP is talking about his own game, which I know nothing about, so I can't comment on whether his strategy is correct or not.

He did in a later post bring up the Golf Sidekick "strategy" to break 90, which I generally disagree with. It's discussed at length here:

 

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9 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

The problem with this approach is that your typical 20-handicapper won't hit 4 consecutive 7-irons in a row, and he probably can't average 150 yards with them even if he did.  He's just too inconsistent.  So when he tops his second shot and it goes 50 yards, or shanks it into the trees, there's no chance for him to get to the green in regulation + 1. He has to hope to get up and down for bogey, and he doesn't do that very often either.  Or he can try the 3-wood off the deck.  He's better off hitting a relatively longer club from the tee (driver preferably, but something longer than a 7-iron).  That allows him to make a mistake along the way and still reach the green in regulation + one.  It also allows him the potential to reach some greens in regulation, and he needs a few pars if he's going to be under 90.

I didn't suggest that a player should hit the 7 iron only to get onto a par 5 in regulation +1.  I was making a point that distance isn't the only criterion.  Smart golf is just as important.  Hit the longest that you can comfortably.  For some it might only be a hybrid, but it is better to be say 200 and on the fairway than 250 in deep rough, IF your goal is to break 90.  That strategy may not be enough to break 80 because you will probably struggle on long par 4's and par 5's, but when you are looking at bogey golf, smart golf is perhaps the most important thing.

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12 hours ago, Hugh Jars said:

Check out “golf sidekick” on YouTube. There are dudes on there that rarely get their driver out or can’t walk properly cos their knees are so bad but they’re knocking it around in 80 simply from putting their ego away and playing smart.

golfsidekick is pretty terrible, really.

Want to break 90?

Hit it better. Follow the GamePlan ideas in LSW.

The end.

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7 hours ago, pganapathy said:

Hit the longest that you can comfortably.  For some it might only be a hybrid, but it is better to be say 200 and on the fairway than 250 in deep rough, IF your goal is to break 90.

This problem is that this kind of thought is a bit paradoxical for someone who hasn't broken 90.  200 yards down the pipe off the tee isn't some guaranteed shot.  That's a decent strike with a long iron or a hybrid and someone who can't yet break 90 isn't putting many decent strikes on the ball.  Even a stock 7 iron isn't a guaranteed shot, otherwise a 20 handicap would be flag hunting from 150 out.  And it's hard to be a 20 handicap hitting all those greens...

In the end, if your ballstriking improves you will hit your driver better, your irons better, your layup-off the tee clubs better.  Doesn't matter what club you pull, your swing is your swing.  

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On 9/4/2019 at 6:28 AM, Hugh Jars said:

I strongly disagree with you. Rather be 180m straight down the fairway than 240m in the bushes.

That would be 60m not 30m as you posted in your OP.

At the same time, I agree that 240m in the bush is pretty bad.

The 180m strategy on the fairway is kind of like the playing irons only game. Most people I know, including myself, score a few strokes worse with this strategy. My 3i is not as reliable as my 5i for 180m+ shots, so I’d likely hit a 5i or less to try to hit more fairways.

To break 90 though, I doubt any bogey golfer can hit their irons/hybrid that far and reliably. Even more doubtful they could with controlled swings hit more fairways at 180m+ with an iron/hybrid versus a driver.

It’s better not to swing wildly with the driver and hit more fairways that way, but definitely using a driver. It’ll get you the most distance with the least effort.

Try reading LSW to get some more insight on why hitting longer helps, and why a driver should be a bogey golfer’s friend.

20 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

The problem with this approach is that your typical 20-handicapper won't hit 4 consecutive 7-irons in a row, and he probably can't average 150 yards with them even if he did.  He's just too inconsistent.  So when he tops his second shot and it goes 50 yards, or shanks it into the trees, there's no chance for him to get to the green in regulation + 1. He has to hope to get up and down for bogey, and he doesn't do that very often either.  Or he can try the 3-wood off the deck.  He's better off hitting a relatively longer club from the tee (driver preferably, but something longer than a 7-iron).  That allows him to make a mistake along the way and still reach the green in regulation + one.  It also allows him the potential to reach some greens in regulation, and he needs a few pars if he's going to be under 90.

Right, if he could hit 7i consistently like that he’s more likely to be concerned about breaking 80 :-D

 

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10 hours ago, Foot Wedge said:

This problem is that this kind of thought is a bit paradoxical for someone who hasn't broken 90.  200 yards down the pipe off the tee isn't some guaranteed shot.  That's a decent strike with a long iron or a hybrid and someone who can't yet break 90 isn't putting many decent strikes on the ball.  Even a stock 7 iron isn't a guaranteed shot, otherwise a 20 handicap would be flag hunting from 150 out.  And it's hard to be a 20 handicap hitting all those greens...

In the end, if your ballstriking improves you will hit your driver better, your irons better, your layup-off the tee clubs better.  Doesn't matter what club you pull, your swing is your swing.  

I guess we have to assume a semi-decent swing when we recommend something like this.  Because if all the player is capable of is a 40 yard slice on a 100 yard drive, even god can't help him break 90 🤷‍♀️

Let us then clarify this post in a simple way.  Hit the longest club you can hit reasonably straight.  Treat every hole as a par+1 and approach it as such.  If you are close enough to reach the green safely in regulation, then go for it.  Otherwise, lay up to a good distance for your swing and then get on the green in regulation+1.  Assuming two putts (though I suppose that may not be a given) a bogey should be possible on a lot of holes.

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