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Blackjack Don

More realistic scoring for amateurs

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Par is par, bogey is a bogey and a hacker shoots 100.  I think most start out as a hacker.

I still got my first scorecard with a 114 on it.  Why did I go back and play again?  Because I like golf and wanted to beat that score.

You start trying to break 100, then work at breaking 90 and then you are a bogey golfer.  +1 on every hole is not too bad if you cant golf everyday.  Want to be better?  Want to go scratch?  Well then you better start practicing and playing more.

Next thing you know, you are breaking 80 and then shooting par.  This is probably the dream for most of us here that cant dedicate all our free time to golf because of a job, family or other commitments.

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This was not my idea. I'm merely passing it along. Don't shoot the messenger!

But, I'm supporting it, now.

Today I tried something different. I played a new course for the first time--obviously first is new, right?--and since I didn't know the course, why not do something different? I began every hole from 200 yards out. (The first hole I started from 150, but that's too close. Moved to 200 and kept it there.) The course has great big medallions in the middle of the fairway, which makes it easy. I didn't even need my Garmin watch to find where to start.  Teed up and let 'er fly. Shot 85, 40 in.

Trust me, that might sound ridiculous to most of you here. I get it. You're good; I'm not. Try to be okay with it. :-D

It may sound ridiculous to you, but until you try it, you might not get it. I didn't. I played 18 in 3 hours, had fun with lots of people, and couldn't have been happier. At first, it felt weird, but after 3 holes I started to really get into it.

I can't hit consistently 200 yards, but I can get 200 in two shots fairly well. Suddenly I was looking at bunkers and hazards and where to hit to. I began to strategize. I hit everything from a 3 hybrid on wide open holes trying to reach, (not one time well, which left some interesting second shots), from 4i to 9i! I hit a 6i twice. Four 3-putts. Two bad bounces into water--once I didn't even know the water was there, new, remember?--one lost ball, which I counted. A very different experience from the usual bad tee shot and frustration, a lot more interesting. I can't see why anyone wouldn't enjoy it.

I can see scorecards with a Pro level--the usual par, yardage, etc--and an Amateur level, which is 18 holes, 200 yards or par 3 as normal, total score. Each according to their choice.

I played several holes with three other guys who had no problem at all playing their game while I played mine. They forgot about me at some point. Then, I went ahead and hit from 200 when they couldn't reach me, and caught up to the next group. It was great!

I can't wait to do it again. Seriously. Not kidding. It was an excellent experience!

Thank you for your patience.

Don

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This was one thing that I struggled with for a very long time.  I was so enamored with the 70, 71 or 72 at the end of the scorecard that I just played a stupid game that slightly resembled golf.  

Once I established a handicap, it gave me something to shoot towards.  A few years ago, my handicap was i the 23+ range.  On any given course, 'my' par would have been somewhere around 92 - 97 (give or take depending on the rating and slope).  

I knew that I was going to have my blowup holes where I was capable of posting a 10 or a 12 or something stupid.  I also knew that I was going to have a handful (maybe 4 or 5) holes where I'd post a par.  My goal, at the end of the day, was to try and play to 'my' par.  

I'd add dots to my scorecard where I'd get a stroke or two... and I'd adjust the par on that hole mentally and try to play to that.  I quickly realized that instead of playing for a 4 on the 420 yard par 4 listed as the number 1 handicap on the course... I should play for a 6.  Instead of trying to kill my drive and then reach with a long iron, hybrid or fairway wood... I'd swing smoother trying to keep the ball in play, hit a comfortable shot to a distance (50 - 70 yards) where I could get the ball on the green, and then I'd try to make a 5 for a net birdie.  

At the end of the round, I felt a lot better about shooting a 99 on a course where 'my' par was a 97... and when I eventually started to see red numbers, my handicap dropped, so the game was constantly evolving.  

I'm now to the point where I feel I can make a par on just about any hole (with an exception here and there).  My scores are now primarily in the mid 80 to low 90 range.  I have really good rounds where I'll shoot 81... I'll have good rounds where I'll shoot 85... I'll have okay rounds where I'll shoot 91... and I'll have horrible rounds where I'll shoot 94.  

Where I used to see a lot of my high scores come as the result of penalties and poor tee shots... it now usually comes down to short game.  If I'm putting well, I can throw up the 81.  If I'm chipping well but putting poorly, I can grind to an 87.  If I'm doing neither well, it's usually a 92 or higher.  It's rare that I have such an off day with my driver or irons that my score is hurt too badly.  It still happens... but it's rare.  

I say... find what works for you.  If you're comfortable with the '5' on every hole... let it work for you.  If you're comfortable playing every hole from 200 yards to dial in those clubs... let it work for you.  If you're comfortable adjusting par and playing to that... let it work for you.

The game is supposed to be fun.  Don't let others define your fun.  Life is too short to care about what others think.  

CY

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2 hours ago, Blackjack Don said:

I began every hole from 200 yards out.

 

That's a great way for anyone of any age to learn the game, by teeing it forwards (which is what you did, just further than most). I started out playing from 50 yards, then slowly worked my way back to the longer and longer tees until I got to high school and started playing the back tees to prep for tournaments. I would strongly recommend this over trying to change the par value of holes.

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i think the stroke index is a great thing for higher handicaps. with where i am at the moment i give myself 2 shots on the 9 hardest holes,and 1 on the 9 easiest .make a par with that and im happy,birdy and im stoked.bogey or worse and disappointed. can constantly keep evolving it this way too.i try to work it so my "par" is always a few shots lower than my handicap.gives me something to aim at,and try to improve

  

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The regular group i play with the scoring is based on stableford.  At the end we get a set "prog".  Kind of like a handicap but points based on stableford.  It you score more points than your prog by 2 or more, your prog goes up by half of what you went over. If you shoot 2 or more less you go down 1. So my current prog is 18. You  could say that it's equal to 90 but stableford allows you to pick up on those blow up holes,  so I can still make my prog but shoot 95+.  

I've had a few rounds where I didn't have blow up holes, double bogeys were tap ins, and I scored over my prog and look back after the round to realize I put up a score in the mid 80's. 

If I play stroke play I tend to play worse. Just a thought, some of us get so worried about playing to par that if we start off well, we try to hold on to it.  With stableford and my prog if I par the first to holes im still trying to play hard and get my points.  If I'm playing stroke play, I start to think that I have a chance to shoot even par so the first bad shot, turns into a bad decision, than a blow up hole. 

 

 

Edited by sirhacksalot

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Okay, maybe this wouldn't be as the guy who thought up this idea envisioned. It's a great way to practice. Keeping score while you practice your middle and short game. It doesn't harm anyone or get in the way. It simply eliminates the tee shot. Practice those separately. On the range, where I find it difficult to practice the mental game.

I've been reading "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect." Rotella suggests practicing the mental game--which I shorthand as grip it and rip it--more than the mechanical game. For pros and weekend golfers, this might be the best advice. But for those who are still in the learning phase, with time to practice and play in a good proportion, then the mechanical game comes before the mental. Yes? 

I can't keep my concentration on either one at the driving range. I have swing thoughts on the range, and game thoughts when I play a round. I am thinking mechanically on the putting green, unless it's before a round. Then it's just concentration on making the putt. They are two different things. Who does enough chipping practice?

With the short game, 200 yards in, it's all practice while keeping score. Par doesn't matter. Strokes matter. 2 shots, 2 putts, from 200 is a pretty good round. Try it sometime. Five is comforting.

The rules say no teeing up the ball in the fairway. Fine. Drop it and play it. It's more realistic anyway, but why add a layer of difficulty to an already difficult task? If 200 is too close and you can hit six irons into the green all the time, then 72, from 200, should be a cakewalk. Try it.

The only reason to add a tee shot is when fairways in regulation becomes a thing. Most amateurs would be happier playing from 200. In fact, this should be what play it forward should mean? Play Two. It might speed up play, improve players faster than the traditional pro game, and just be more fun and grow the game at the same time. 

Play Two

 

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11 minutes ago, Blackjack Don said:

Okay, maybe this wouldn't be as the guy who thought up this idea envisioned. It's a great way to practice. Keeping score while you practice your middle and short game. It doesn't harm anyone or get in the way. It simply eliminates the tee shot. Practice those separately. On the range, where I find it difficult to practice the mental game.

I've been reading "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect." Rotella suggests practicing the mental game--which I shorthand as grip it and rip it--more than the mechanical game. For pros and weekend golfers, this might be the best advice. But for those who are still in the learning phase, with time to practice and play in a good proportion, then the mechanical game comes before the mental. Yes? 

Yes, and most everyone I know is in the learning phase. Even the best players I know are still learning. . .

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15 minutes ago, Blackjack Don said:

I've been reading "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect." Rotella suggests practicing the mental game--which I shorthand as grip it and rip it--more than the mechanical game. For pros and weekend golfers, this might be the best advice. But for those who are still in the learning phase, with time to practice and play in a good proportion, then the mechanical game comes before the mental. Yes?

We've talked about this here at length.

The "mental game" doesn't contribute much to a round of golf. When you're talking about possibly saving a shot or two over 72 holes for the guy competing for $1.5M, sure, it might matter a little bit (though the "tour mental game guru" has been in decline for awhile now, as kids learn this stuff at an earlier age), but to the average golfer… it barely matters at all.

I once played golf with a guy who didn't break 90 but who told me he'd be scratch with a better mental game.

He was wrong. He'd still fail to break 90.

People routinely, IMO, over-state the mental game.

Just like the premise of this thread: you still shoot 90. If you feel better about yourself telling yourself that you shot "even par" relative to your bogey rating, cool. But it's just a little lie to yourself, and there's no reason you can't feel just as good about shooting 90 and knowing it's 18 over par. You should feel exactly the same… because it's the same score in the end.

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18 minutes ago, iacas said:

Just like the premise of this thread: you still shoot 90. If you feel better about yourself telling yourself that you shot "even par" relative to your bogey rating, cool. But it's just a little lie to yourself, and there's no reason you can't feel just as good about shooting 90 and knowing it's 18 over par. You should feel exactly the same… because it's the same score in the end.

I bet its been 40 years since I first read about the idea of "personal par."  To allow yourself to feel a success, its appropriate to set a personal goal that you CAN achieve, your own personal par.  This is one reason that I think even the newest golfers should really consider establishing a handicap.  It doesn't have to be a formal USGA or CONGU number, just something based on your scores and the courses you play.  Take par (or course rating to be more technical), and add your handicap, and that's your personal par for the day.  You can even look at the handicap ranking for the holes, and think of personal par for each hole.  That way, you can make a few "personal birdies", along with pars and bogeys and worse..  Whenever you beat your personal par, you've had a good day.  As @iacas says, its a mind trick, a little lie, but having quantifiable success ("I beat my personal par by 3 strokes today!") can be a positive thing for many people, especially beginners.  

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1 minute ago, DaveP043 said:

As @iacas says, its a mind trick, a little lie, but having quantifiable success ("I beat my personal par by 3 strokes today!") can be a positive thing for many people, especially beginners.  

Yeah, all I'm saying is that I see no difference between saying "I beat my personal par by 3 strokes today!" and "I beat my previous best score by 3 strokes today!"

If you have never broken 100 and then you shoot 97, that's a good thing, whether you call it 25 over par or 7 over par.

I don't know. I don't get it. Maybe it's just me, and I'm weird in that I can't lie to myself in this sort of way. Even though I'd often set the curve on tests in school, I couldn't lie to myself about those either - if I got a 79 and the curve was set at 82, I didn't feel great about myself: I expected to set the curve and for that number to be awfully close to 100.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

Yeah, all I'm saying is that I see no difference between saying "I beat my personal par by 3 strokes today!" and "I beat my previous best score by 3 strokes today!"

If you have never broken 100 and then you shoot 97, that's a good thing, whether you call it 25 over par or 7 over par.

I don't know. I don't get it. Maybe it's just me, and I'm weird in that I can't lie to myself in this sort of way. Even though I'd often set the curve on tests in school, I couldn't lie to myself about those either - if I got a 79 and the curve was set at 82, I didn't feel great about myself: I expected to set the curve and for that number to be awfully close to 100.

I agree in a lot of ways, I have no problem with looking at the real number and evaluating it in relation to my past performance and future aspirations.  But for someone like @Blackjack Don, to whom the word "bogey" connotes a failure, applying a personal par to each hole gives him a way to feel "success" more often, and may encourage him to play and practice more avidly.  

 And as a fellow curve-setter, I clearly remember being shocked at getting a grade of 53 (of 100) on the first exam in Differential Equations in college, and being even more shocked to learn I had the best score in the class, to get an A.  I think that particular professor enjoyed pushing our buttons, making us work through the stress of "failure", and that just maybe he made us better students in the long run.  Although I'll be damned if I can figure out when I've used anything related to differential equations since I finished college 47 years ago.

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Is there a problem that the OP's proposed idea is solving?

As a golfer who would probably "benefit" from alternate rules or score-keeping approaches, I believe in the "whack the ball, find it, and whack it again" approach.  Count the total number of whacks and there you go.  Hopefully that number is less than last time.

The truth is, if you play the same course(s) often, you can see your improvement because you see that on hole X you're making bogeys and pars instead of doubles or worse.  If you're playing with/against someone, then match play or some other alternate score-keeping may make more sense and have a more obvious benefit.

On 1/20/2017 at 1:04 PM, Blackjack Don said:

Yesterday I heard a suggestion I really like a lot. Every hole is a five. Just count strokes. 18 holes, average is 90. Above or below average? This seems to me to be a much better way of scoring a golf game for amateurs. Much more realistic, and could be more fun than making lots of double bogeys.

I don't understand what problem this is solving.  You're still counting all of your strokes...?  If you decide to make every hole a 5, why not just ignore par altogether?  I do.

On 1/20/2017 at 1:04 PM, Blackjack Don said:

I like people who think outside the box. Traditionalists should wear knickers so we can identify them.

Is this thinking outside the box or finding a solution to a non-existent problem?

On 1/20/2017 at 8:00 PM, CarlSpackler said:

Why does everyone want to change the game of golf?!!!! :mad:

Some people just want to watch the world burn. :angry:

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44 minutes ago, iacas said:

I once played golf with a guy who didn't break 90 but who told me he'd be scratch with a better mental game.

He was wrong. He'd still fail to break 90.

People routinely, IMO, over-state the mental game.

Occasionally even golfers with bad swings really get a hold of one, and this reinforces the fantasy that if we only concentrate more, we can do it every time. The reality is for a bad swing to work, the timing is so incredibly difficult, you will never be consistent. It has nothing to do with the mental game.

I had a revelation last season, and it was this: there is no way that golf is this hard, therefore I must be doing it wrong. After seeing an instructor it turns out I was right.

 

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24 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I agree in a lot of ways, I have no problem with looking at the real number and evaluating it in relation to my past performance and future aspirations.  But for someone like @Blackjack Don, to whom the word "bogey" connotes a failure, applying a personal par to each hole gives him a way to feel "success" more often, and may encourage him to play and practice more avidly.  

Yeah, I just don't get it. It's not something I'm going to get.

Like being addicted to cigarettes or something. I've never been addicted so I can't understand. It seems like to me that just quitting is a matter of willpower. Just quit. Just stop smoking.

But I get that it's not that easy, it's not like that, for people who are actually addicted.

But this, this doesn't seem to approach that realm. Of course a bogey is a failure… compared to "an expert player." It's just a number. It's not something upon which you become physically and mentally (chemically) dependent, like a cigarette or booze or whatever.

It's a number. You're not even lying to yourself very well - nobody who sets a personal par of 90 thinks they actually shot even par. They know they shot 90.

It's like my wife trying to set the kitchen clocks ahead. She'd set them ahead by five minutes. I let her, even though I'm never late for stuff, but occasionally I'd say "honey, the clock says 12:55, and we have to leave by 1…" She'd say "Yeah but it's fast, so I have more time than that." :-P

So if you're not even really being successful at lying to yourself… I just keep wondering… what's the point? @Blackjack Don?

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Unless you're a low single digit player or better, we're all bogey golfers.

Bogey is not a bad score, if you are able to shoot to a bogey level, that makes you a better golfer than more than half of all golfers and even better? The golfers with a USGA handicap are around 10% of the golfing public. The average handicap by numbers is about 15. This kind of implies that a 15 handicap who is bogey, is possibly in the top 95% of all people who golf? It's up there in skill level anyway.

Numbers are pretty arbitrary, what's the point of saying I parred with a 90 when the conventional par is 72?

The Wiki definition of a "perfect round of golf" is all birdies. That would be the magical number "54". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_round

Is falling short of this also a failure, because I don't think anyone's done it? http://golf.about.com/od/faqs/f/lowestscore.htm

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19 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Bogey is not a bad score, if you are able to shoot to a bogey level, that makes you a better golfer than more than half of all golfers and even better? The golfers with a USGA handicap are around 10% of the golfing public. The average handicap by numbers is about 15. This kind of implies that a 15 handicap who is bogey, is possibly in the top 95% of all people who golf? It's up there in skill level anyway.

Absolutely. I would wager money on this being true. This forum is not a representative cross-section of people who play golf. If I'm being generous I don't think half the people out there can break 100 if scored honestly.  

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35 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Unless you're a low single digit player or better, we're all bogey golfers.

Bogey is not a bad score, if you are able to shoot to a bogey level, that makes you a better golfer than more than half of all golfers and even better? The golfers with a USGA handicap are around 10% of the golfing public. The average handicap by numbers is about 15. This kind of implies that a 15 handicap who is bogey, is possibly in the top 95% of all people who golf? It's up there in skill level anyway.

 

The Course Rating manual defines a bogey golfer as a 20 handicapper.

But that doesn't detract from your point.

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