Hi,

This is the first in a series of articles that I will be writing about the issues I see in the golfing challenges that my students have.

When I first meet someone who wants some help, I try to find out all I can about their game and then come up with a game plan.  This involves setting out a realistic way to plan each hole and come up with a score to aim for.

Most golfers have limitations on their game that makes a round of par golf an unrealistic goal.  It may be achievable in time, but it helps to set smaller goals along the way until you have the distance, accuracy and variety of shotmaking to do this.

Follow this outline below and see if it makes sense to you.  Playing shots that are within your current capabilities and setting a personal par is the first step.  Then set the bar higher as you add new shots and refine your skills.

Game Plan Worksheet

Name -

Handicap -

How often do you play (or intend to play)?

Experience:

Lessons:

The Ingredients to golf:

  1. Ability – good
  2. Plan
  3. Techniques – need to learn
  4. Experience – little
  5. Practice
  6. Play
  7. Competition with handicap

You play golf against:

  1. Yourself
  2. The course
  3. Others

Your performances are measured against par.

Your handicap is an allowance for your level of play against par and allows you to compete with others at any level of play.

It is calculated by taking 5 averaged scores and comparing the score to the course rating.

The course rating (ACR) is close to par, it varies with the difficulty of the course and the conditions of the day (CCR).

Maximum handicaps for men is usually 27 (can be up to 32) and for women 36 (now 45).

For example, if your scores are as follows your handicap is calculated like this:

105

96

99

102

93

495/5

99

-72 (ccr)

=27 handicap

 

When you have scores under the Par (CCR) your handicap is reduced in increments of 0.1, 0.2 or 0.3 depending on your handicap for each stroke better than the CCR.

So if CCR was 72 and you had 96 – 27 = 69, beating your handicap by 3 x 0.3 = 0.9, then your new handicap is 27 – 0.9 = 26.1 = 26.

Goals for golf

Goals for golf include the following

  1. Scoring goals
  2. Hole goals
  3. Shot goals

 

Scoring goals

The best way to play to your handicap is to divide your allowance over the 18 holes and change the par to personal par.

The holes are rated in order of the difficulty by the stroke index. So Index 1 is the most difficult hole and Index 18 is the easiest hole.

Par 72 + 36 = 108 is the equivalent of Par +2 strokes every hole.

So change your card from

443 545 344 36 543 444 345 36 72

To

665 767 566 54 765 666 567 54 108

For handicap of 27, your allowance will be 9 holes with 2 shots (on the most difficult holes rated 1 to 9 in the Index column) and 1 shot on the easiest holes (ranked index 10 to 18).

So you change your card as follows:

Par       4   4   3   5   4  5   3   4  4  36 5   4   3   4   4   4   3   4   5   36

Index  17  7  11 15  3  9  13  1  5        16  6  18  4  10  8  12  2  14

PPar     5   6   4   6   6  7   4   6  6  50 6   6   4   6   5   6    4  6   6   49 99

Hole goals

The next step is setting up your goals for each hole.

There are three types of holes in golf

Par 3s – Distance 100 metres to 240 metres

Par 4s – Distance 250 metres to 420 metres

Par 5s – Distance 430 metres to 550 metres

For the handicap player there are:

Par 3s – Distance 100 metres to 240 metres

Par 4s – Distance 100 metres to 240 metres

Par 5s – Distance 100 metres to 240 metres

Par 4s – Distance 250 metres to 420 metres

Par 5s – Distance 250 metres to 420 metres

Par 6s – Distance 250 metres to 420 metres

Par 5s – Distance 430 metres to 550 metres

Par 6s – Distance 430 metres to 550 metres

Par 7s – Distance 430 metres to 550 metres

1.Putting green goals

On each hole, the number of shots expected on the green is 2 putts.

Up to 1 metre, the goal is 1.

Up to 5 metres, the goal is 1 putt holed from 3.

From 5 to 20 metres, the goal is to get the ball within a radius of 1 metre, therefore total of 2 putts.

2.Inside 50 metres from the green goals

From 50 metres or less, the number of shots expected to get on the green is 1, therefore the total from 50 metres is one shot plus 2 putts = 3 strokes.

From inside 50 metres you need a variety of shots (in order of trajectory and amount of roll) –

  1. Putt (from off the green)
  2. Chip
  3. Punch
  4. Pitch
  5. Lob

The shot you choose is dependent on the distance, the amount of green you have to work with which in turn determines the height required of the shot and the lie, (for example short grass, rough or sand in a bunker).

  1. From the Tee to the Inside 50 down the fairway

This is the zone you need your full swings. You need to avoid hazards for offline shots such as fairway bunkers, long grass or rough, trees, water hazards and out of bounds.

The distances of each club (for a professional are as follows):

D         250

3W      225

5W      210

3          180

4          170

5          160

6          150

7          140

8          130

9          120

PW      105

SW      85

LW      65

These are the clubs you need to use with a full swing to get to the Inside 50 Zone and the green. In addition, you also need low shots, high shots and curved shots to recover from poor shots.

This is how you calculate a Hole Plan.

Example 1 –

First, decide on how many shots you are allocated for the hole using your handicap and the index of the hole.

What is your personal par, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7?

Let’s take a long Par 4 of 400 metres where you get 2 shots on the hole, your personal par is 6.

You are allocated 2 putts each hole.

So take 2 shots from personal par, 6 – 2 (putts) = 4.

You need to be able to hit the green from 50 metres, no matter if you need a high, medium or low shot, from short grass, long grass or sand. This requires good chipping, punching, pitching and lobbing skills with your wedges.

So take another shot from personal par used for the shot from the Inside 50 metre zone, 6 – 2 (putts) – 1 (inside 50) = 3.

This leaves you 3 shots to get into the 50 metre zone.

Remaining distance for three shots is 400 – 50 = 350.

350 metres divided by 3 is about 120 metres.

So you need 3 straight shots of 120 metres which will get you within 40 metres of the green.

Then one 40 metre shot onto the green and 2 putts, gives you 6 on a difficult hole.

Maybe you will hit a good approach shot or hole a good putt, then you have 5 which is a bogey, but a birdie for you.

Example 2 -

Let’s take a medium Par 4 of 330 metres where you get 1 shot on the hole, your personal par is 5.

You are allocated 2 putts each hole.

So take 2 shots from personal par, 5 – 2 (putts) = 3.

You need to be able to hit the green from 50 metres, no matter if you need a high, medium or low shot, from short grass, long grass or sand. This requires good chipping, punching, pitching and lobbing skills with your wedges.

So take another shot from personal par used for the shot from the Inside 50 metre zone, 5 – 2 (putts) – 1 (inside 50) = 2.

This leaves you 2 shots to get into the 50 metre zone.

Remaining distance for three shots is 330 – 50 = 280.

280 metres divided by 2 is 140 metres.

So you need 2 straight shots of 140 metres which will get you within 50 metres of the green.

Then one 50 metre shot onto the green and 2 putts, gives you 5 on the hole. Maybe you will hit a good approach shot or hole a good putt, then you have 4 which is a par, but a birdie for you.

Example 3 -

Let’s take a medium Par 5 of 450 metres where you get 1 shot on the hole, your personal par is 6.

You are allocated 2 putts each hole.

So take 2 shots from personal par, 6 – 2 (putts) = 4.

You need to be able to hit the green from 50 metres, no matter if you need a high, medium or low shot, from short grass, long grass or sand. This requires good chipping, punching, pitching and lobbing skills with your wedges.

So take another shot from personal par used for the shot from the Inside 50 metre zone, 6 – 2 (putts) – 1 (inside 50) = 3.

This leaves you 2 shots to get into the 50 metre zone.

Remaining distance for three shots is 450 – 50 = 400.

400 metres divided by 3 is about 135 metres.

So you need 3 straight shots of 135 metres which will get you within 45 metres of the green.

Then one 45 metre shot onto the green and 2 putts, gives you 6 on the hole.

Maybe you will hit a good approach shot or hole a good putt, then you have 5 which is a par, but a birdie for you.

So let’s get your putting, chipping, punching, pitching and lobbing to a competent level, which in turn will help your full swing technique.

A Great Way To Improve Your Golf Game
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22 Part Golf Improvement Series

by PGA Pro Doug Kercher

This free mini-course is full of common sense, easy to do, yet little known strategies on how to lower your scores systematically week by week.

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