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Playing for score is 1 dimensional..... stop it


Barfolomew
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I play as a single on an Executive course with narrow fairways and lots of unplayable rough.  I learned a lot by playing the Par 3s as Par 4s to learn course management instead of pin hunting.  

Not worrying about score  really helped at the end of the season, when the course got even harder.  Leaves on green and wet bunkers. 

I three putted on a newly punched green.  Now I know what a punched green looks like. 

 

Took three shots to get out of a wet bunker.   Then on the very next hole, not only was it in a deep bunker, but this time it was in someone's footprint! 

This time I had a much better idea how hard to hit it and got it out in just one swing!

 

I was able to play 15 rounds in two months in wet New England weather.  The best thing about the frequent play was getting my co-workers used to me being out of the office twice a week to play golf.

The new guy in the office next door to me didn't realize this was my first year of playing golf as an adult until I told him today!  I may be able to play fifty rounds next year during the weekdays if the weather allows.

 

Edited by ShortGolfer
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I quit keeping score a long time ago and my games never been better.  🤣 

 

I beat most the folks I play with and that's all that matters.

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All kinds of different ways to enjoy this game. Imagination and shot making ability definitely have their place, ultimately players become better golfers when learn to play in such a manner as suits their personality as well as ability. The ideas of learning different shots and putting a number on card do not have to be in opposition to one another. Some of my favorite times on course have involved walking course in late afternoon with a half set, as it makes you learn how to vary distances, shapes and trajectories as needed. Playing worst ball helps get a true measure of consistency, playing draw vs. fade helps with learning which shots are most comfortable and consistent for each player…etc. Dependent upon player personality, these types of games can either be a mental pass/fail or can be used with any number of metrics to measure success, including score.

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I don't often keep score, primarily because I can't avoid the blow-up hole, and if I'm keeping score, it just ruins the round for me.  Instead, I just keep track of pars or better (not hard to keep track of 3 or less).  And I also always like to go for the 'hero' shot, which, as the OP noted, might be less likely if keeping score.  But if I start putting some rounds together without the blow-up holes, I will start keeping score more consistently.

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I'll keep score but I never add it up until the end of the round so I could shoot 80 or 100, don't know until I count it all up. There are some days where I know I'm not playing well, a stressful week/month that got to me, whatever. But I'll just go out and play and enjoy the 4hrs out there, yeah could have a buddy say "you're on pace for 105" or whatever and I don't care.

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You went from an 18ish capper to scratch in 9 months by not caring about your score...  Something seems more fishy than your avatar...

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OP, there’s nothing wrong with going out and trying to be a shot maker. None of us is going to make a living playing golf and having fun is a fine goal in the game of golf. But if you also desire to become a better player, then learning course management is as valuable as any other skill. You’ll have a tough time learning it by seeing how creatively you can get the ball from point A to point B.  

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I didn’t say never keep score... I said don’t always keep score 

 

If you’re gonna practice then practice.  Keeping score often forces a player’s hand to play 1 dimensional.... to tee it up one height, to play a certain club, to play a certain flight in order to post the lowest number for that hole.  If you experiment usefully and score a bogey it might benefit you in the long run.

 

So a year from now you will play with more rounded game  and score better then if you play desperate golf always grasping at a lower score today. 🦆

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On 11/23/2021 at 12:06 AM, Barfolomew said:

So many players have to keep score.... its like a drug! 🐑

 

If you wanna get better dont ALWAYS keep score..... see yourself as a shot maker, baller, swinger, hitting machine or flight artist or whatever is the skill of hitting pure creative shots and not a scorer.

 

As soon as you keep score you'll play the safe shot to try to score the lowest not the shot to make you better in the long run, its very 1 dimensional.  I see it all the time.... 🐑🐑 Then you identify with the score on that hole which might be way off, good or bad. You wont experiment as much if you keep score. We all need to practice a myriad of different shots, but that will increase the chance of not scoring well so we wont play it.  We need to play the risky shots to get better so they become less risky.  If you dont practice working the ball or hitting shots under branches etc that are not needed then you wont be able to do it when the pressure is up in tourneys or ballin with friends.

 

How many times do we hear I can do it on the range but not playin.... yeah cause you're keeping score when playing.  Stop it and practice like you do on the range out on the course by hitting all the shots. Enjoy being and identifying as a shot maker not a score keeper!

 

I got my game to par golf from bogey golf in bout 9 months by not caring bout score.... I started hitting all the shots.  I started playing lob shots from the fringe cause I knew it developed touch for me and my friends would rag on me or get mad cause it was the wrong shot lol dont worry little friends I'm still gonna compete by playin the wrong shots, then when I had to play a lob shot for real its was no issue cause I hit em all the time and regular chips became easier. 🦄 I started to see the game differently, golf became a mental exercise.  The fairway is huge and I can choose so many shots to hit it so it aint no big deal.... same with the green

 

But I do understand if you do not play a lot and you're going out with your friends everyone wants to play a game and get the bets and $4it talkin going..... buddies would even write down my score even when I didnt want them to lol🤦‍♂️  I used to play a lot when I got to par golf so had many opportunities to not keep score.

🦆🐫

 

Anyone try it?

I completely get what you are saying and agree with you for the most  part.  I always keep my score mostly to document how many rounds of golf that I am getting in but I know that I can hit it good or bad and score good or bad on any given day but I also keep my stats to show the true reflection of how I am playing.  I will say that from my experience the more important factor isn't actually keeping score or trying to protect it, it is the amount of golf that you play.  For the better part of the last decade I only get to play golf for three months per year due to the nature of my work and I was super protective of my score and a very defensive player when I knew that I was only going to get to play 4 or 5 times and then it was back to work.  Conversely I made huge strides in my game when I was in between jobs and got to play 179 rounds over the course of 6 months. I knew that I was going to play again tomorrow, or even later on that day, and that unleashed the "shot maker, baller, swinger, hitting machine" that you spoke and made me more in tune with the aggressive golfer instead of being so defensive.  I then learned to blend aggression and defense within a given round and became better for it.  

 

I better understood that there is a process and that you have to go through it to find your best golfing self.  You have to first try  to hit that shot on the range, then try to hit it on the course, then in a money match, then in a tournament, knowing that you are likely to fail initially.  You have to be willing to fail in the short term to learn what your limits are for the  long term.  I know that I can hit a green from 270 out and cover the water carry now because I showed myself that I can. That being said the path to get there involved doing it on the range, then being on course by myself and dropping 20 balls and failing over and over before it finally did it, to then doing it in the money match with the buddies, to doing it in the monthly medal tournament.  

 

The only time I don't keep score is when I am playing in a skins match because I know that the objective is not to shoot a score, but to win a given hole.  This is a time where I truly let it fly and play more aggressive than I would ever actually play if I was keeping score.  This is the time when I go for broke on every hole and it is actually quite liberating to play a round holding nothing back. The goal is to make birdies or better and if you take an X on a hole it doesn't matter.  I also find that playing from a forward tee box (white or even red tees) also unleashes my aggression and it is also good for learning how to score and make birdies and look for opportunity to score.  Good topic though and I agree with your premise for sure. 

Edited by Righty to Lefty
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I think there's a correlation between how much you practice, the shots you try to improve and execute and trying to lower your score.  It's fine to play a great round on any given day with no scorecard in your pocket, no pressure and just fooling around with your buddies.  Now Saturday medal play comes and you start thinking about that opening shot on the first tee and well, pray I start with a bogey and it'll be fine and so on and so forth. That's the moment to execute your shots, whether you keep score or not, in the end you more or less know where you're standing and this game is about counting shots.   

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9 hours ago, Barfolomew said:

I didn’t say never keep score... I said don’t always keep score 

 

If you’re gonna practice then practice.  Keeping score often forces a player’s hand to play 1 dimensional.... to tee it up one height, to play a certain club, to play a certain flight in order to post the lowest number for that hole.  If you experiment usefully and score a bogey it might benefit you in the long run.

 

So a year from now you will play with more rounded game  and score better then if you play desperate golf always grasping at a lower score today. 🦆

Is this "dimension" in the 'score matters' constellation? 

 

The only thing that makes a player play 1 dimensional golf, is the player...  They are the ones who pick what shot they want to hit.  Hole dictates a draw would be favoured for better position and shot shape safety from water/bunkers/trees/OB/etc.  But nothing is saying you can't hit a fade or straight ball. 

 

General rule of thumb is the centre of the green is always safe, but you can aim anywhere you want on the green, or even miss the green if you so choose... 

 

If anything, I think having people play with minimal sets would benefit far more than just not keeping score.  It will then force you to manufacture more shots and use your imagination which builds more of a shot repertoire to use going forward, which I'm sure is part of what you're trying to say, but taking a very convoluted way of saying it.

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58 minutes ago, Elkhair said:

Unless your in a league or competition there is no reason to keep score. I play for fun. What I score doesn't matter. I can tell if I played well or not

But this isn't true at all.  If you aren't keeping score and someone asks you your cap/index, you'd literally be lying to their face if you gave them a number...

 

I would do practice rounds where my main goal was working on solid contact, and score was of secondary importance, but a score was still taken, even with a grain or pound of salt attached to it.

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Of course you aren't really playing golf at all if you aren't keeping score. Agree that practicing on the course is far better than hitting range balls.

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Normally when a round falls apart is when I will try to push my boundaries. You do need to try things or you’ll never learn what else you are capable of.

 

It doesn’t have to be a hero or zero shot either. It may be simply a change in course management. I can hit a 7w 170ish. Gotta carry a stream and a pond fronting the green. 170 to back means 7w will reach safely. My normal play was lay up, now I go for it unless the lie or wind conditions dictate otherwise… Most of the time I’m okay but as a 25, some are gonna be wet, lol

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I'm normally in favor of keeping score, as course management is a big factor is shooting lower rounds. And score is the ultimate identifier of how you are improving. But, there is something to be said for the practice round. It is good to experiment with shots, and drop an extra ball. Should you play under or over the tree. Is 135 to a back pin a soft 9 or hard PW. Can you hit a hybrid of fairway bunker? Can you get a bump n run or a high floating wedge closer from certain lies. You learn by experience, and it is true that you might be able to manufacture more experiences in a practice round without a score. 

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12 hours ago, Righty to Lefty said:

I completely get what you are saying and agree with you for the most  part.  I always keep my score mostly to document how many rounds of golf that I am getting in but I know that I can hit it good or bad and score good or bad on any given day but I also keep my stats to show the true reflection of how I am playing.  I will say that from my experience the more important factor isn't actually keeping score or trying to protect it, it is the amount of golf that you play.  For the better part of the last decade I only get to play golf for three months per year due to the nature of my work and I was super protective of my score and a very defensive player when I knew that I was only going to get to play 4 or 5 times and then it was back to work.  Conversely I made huge strides in my game when I was in between jobs and got to play 179 rounds over the course of 6 months. I knew that I was going to play again tomorrow, or even later on that day, and that unleashed the "shot maker, baller, swinger, hitting machine" that you spoke and made me more in tune with the aggressive golfer instead of being so defensive.  I then learned to blend aggression and defense within a given round and became better for it.  

 

 

For me, I don't play golf often enough to play "practice rounds". I pretty much get to play 18 every other weekend, and try to get range time and maybe the occasional 9 hole exec course outside of that. Luckily I live in an area with a 12-month golf season, so at least I don't have to shut it down for winter. 

 

I play with full foursomes on muni courses most of the time, on weekends, so I don't have the opportunity to "drop 3 balls from the fairway" and try different shots. It would screw up pace of play.

 

If I could play more golf and actually deliberately use some rounds as "practice rounds", I would. I just don't really have that luxury right now.  

 

3 hours ago, Itsjustagame said:

Of course you aren't really playing golf at all if you aren't keeping score. Agree that practicing on the course is far better than hitting range balls.

 

And that's what Barf seems to be advocating. If you go into a round with the express objective to play a "practice round", then your score doesn't and shouldn't matter. It's like a driving range session to work on expanding your skill set, without really having to worry about results. 

 

After all, PGA tour professionals don't keep score during their practice rounds before a tournament. They can't. They're trying to see the lay of the land, taking multiple shots from various places on the course, putting multiple times on the same green to see if there are areas which roll differently than they look, etc. I'd venture that most of those players don't keep score when practicing on their home courses either--they're practicing shots and trying to accomplish certain tasks. It's not like PGA players need to "maintain an index" lol. 

 

If you're not keeping score, you're practicing. If you embrace practicing to the fullest, it's about working on skills that maybe you don't get a chance to EITHER on the range or during real rounds. 

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5 hours ago, tthomasgolfer605 said:

I'd like to see proof that you play par golf since you've said it in pretty much every one of your posts. 

 

"Tommy Boy you been riding me like a kid on one them plastic ponies in front of the supermarket." Ted Lasso 🏇🤣

 

You got Butt hurt when I didn't agreed with you cause you said well it worked for Jack,  people can have different opinions and approaches to the game.  Look at Moe Norman he didnt play like Jack you gonna change his swing too...

 

 

 

Edited by Barfolomew

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18 hours ago, Ghostwedge said:

Sorry B, they put the numbers on a scorecard for a reason. And I try to shoot my best score every time I tee it up, always have, always will. 

 

Do you ever play a practice round?

 

More importantly do you always do what you're told to do? 🤣

Edited by Barfolomew

I try and like my own posts but can't figure out how...

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6 hours ago, tthomasgolfer605 said:

I'd like to see proof that you play par golf since you've said it in pretty much every one of your posts. 

 

Here's an easy 3 wood from few weeks ago, since I dont keep score its only proof lol 😝 Homemade swing no lessons... be nice or not haha 🦆

 

 

Edited by Barfolomew
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To each his, or her, own.  But, IMO, if your goal is to get better at golf, I think you have to keep score during most rounds.  Playing good golf is a lot more that hitting the ball well.  I get satisfaction when I'm hitting it well, of course.  But when I'm not hitting it that well, I also get satisfaction by shooting a decent score anyway -- by grinding and making good decisions.  If you don't care about your score during "routine" rounds, you are probably not forcing yourself to learn what you need to learn to shoot a decent score when you don't have your "A" game during a round that "counts."    

 

OTOH, on-course practice has its place, for sure.  The range alone is no substitute for shooting at real greens, from realistic lies, etc.  If nothing else, having some "data" about how often you can actually pull off those "hero" shots is valuable (hint - for most of us, it's not that often).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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