Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #59

This is the time of year we make new year resolutions. You know, lose weight, stop smoking, play more golf.

As we approach 2022, this golf blog is dedicated tot not resolutions, but goals. There’s a difference. I played exactly 30 rounds of golf in 2021. I know because I carted every round. A resolution would be to play more golf. A goal would be to break 80. My lowest round ever is 66. People say, “you should’ve turned pro.” I laugh because there is so much difference in shooting one round of 66 on a 5,800 yard golf course and averaging that for a week on the world’s toughest courses. There’s a lot of difference in 79 and 66 too.

It takes hard work to shoot in the 60s on any course. I practiced every day to get to that point. You have to be a good putter, keep the ball in play on every hole and hit some great wedge shots. Anybody that can shoot 89 can shoot 79 but few people that shoot 76 can shoot 66.

You’ve probably heard the expression play one shot at a time. That’s never so true as when you are trying to go low. Golf is in the here and now. To shoot really low you have to be able to trust your swing and not tense up.

Of all the times I’ve had a chance to break 70 I’ve only accomplished it maybe 10% of the time. What happens is you play defensively. I’ll give you an example.

My lowest round at my old high school home course in Rolla was three under 67. I had a chance to beat that heading to the 16th hole. The last three holes on this course are bears. 420 yards, par 4 uphill. 189 yards uphill par 3, and 567 yard par 5. I hooked my drive OB on 16 and deliberately aimed straight right so I wouldn’t do it again when I reloaded. Then from the rough on my 4th shot I stiffed it with a five wood and tapped in for a bogie with the stroke and distance penalty. I was flying high after that and parred the last two holes for a 67.

Another time I was even par in a high school match going into the 18th hole. I hit two good shots then bladed a wedge over the green onto hard pan. After three fluffed chip shots and a 3-putt I scored a 40. My golf instructor wondered why I didn’t putt from the hard pan. He said, “just get it on the green somewhere and take your bogie.” But I wanted to shoot par so I tried to be a hero and you see what happened.

Play one shot at a time. If you goal is to break 80 next season, practice your short game. You certainly aren’t going to hit every green in regulation, so up-and-down becomes your friend. Turn 85 into 79 by taking 30 putts instead of 36.

Hit ’em straight!

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