Many things go into a perfect round of golf like nice weather, the course, and your partners. If you were thinking about your golf score, well, that includes natural ability, your temperament, course knowledge, your clubs and equipment, instruction, mental acuity, and practice.
If breaking par were easy, this would be a video, but it’s not easy, and I haven’t played scratch golf regularly since college. What’s the difference between then and now? Time, mostly. I had time to practice all my shots, from fairway bunkers to big fades and draws. I had the newest equipment, I talked to and worked with a seasoned golf instructor, and I knew my local course.
If you want to break par, start by avoiding double bogeys, which can’t be redeemed with a single birdie. Bogeys usually come from being out of position on an approach, meaning your drive was well-wide of the fairway. Easing off on the gas during your drives can help you hit your fairways and reward you with more greens in regulation.
Ever take a four-hour math test? Me neither, but a golf round demands that we stay mentally and physically sharp for hours. Find ways to snap your attention back to your next shot, and your mistakes will fall away. Take notes while you play on wind speed and direction, danger areas for drives, and club selection. These focus your attention on each hole.
Play each hole in control without ego based on your ability, your club selection, and the course features. Then, forget about things you can’t control like the weather, the other players, and again, the course features.
Now, River’s Edge is the best golf course in Central Oregon, and it’s going to throw some challenges at you. So, approach each hole with the right philosophy (you know each hole has a challenge coming at you), you won’t worry about the two beautiful waterfalls on the sixth, or the sand as you come in at nine. Instead, you’ll use your knowledge of the course and concentrate on putting your drive in the best spot for your game – based on your ability and experience – to make a great approach shot.
That little trick keeps your mind on the task at hand. No pressure, just a smooth swing from muscle memory to your favorite spot on each fairway. Just as a pool player can run the table by always setting themselves up for the next shot, you can do the same on a golf course.
Trust Your Golf Swing
Be honest with yourself about your swing. If you can’t hit the draw you want with a big club, dial down and hit short because you know you can get up and down. Go with what works most of the time, like expecting your average 250-yard drive, not that 300-yarder you hit three months ago! That honesty with extended confidence reduces errors and leads to breaking par.