09/16/2013

How do you want your tombstone to read? If you asked me that a few years ago, I would have said:  “He had unrealistic expectations for his golf game!” But that was before I read Easier Said Than Done and specifically Chapter 11. This chapter contains the 4 best pieces of advice on golf I have ever found! So if you have similar thoughts about your tombstone inscription – read on!

1.  Stop trying to explain away your poor score. This is the “would’ve” disease. “I would’ve broken 80 had I not three putted four times!”  Well – you did – and that was your score.  Hey, try this instead!  “I broke 90 today because I made three birdies!” Explain the positive. It’s just a different mindset!  Check out Greg Liberto’s (The HEAD Coach) thoughts on positive thoughts.

2.  Your scores will fluctuate around your median score. Believe it or not, you have a median golf score. And, if you keep a handicap, you can easily calculate it using your last 20 scores available through GHIN.  The median score is that number where, roughly, half of your scores are above and half of your scores are below. (If you just want to simply calculate your average, that’s fine too.) Now, here is the important part.  Anything within about five strokes of your median score is NORMAL. My median score is 87 and 16 of my last 20 scores are within 5 strokes of the median. So, if my next score falls in this range, my only complaint perhaps should be the lack of a frequent beer cart! What you really want to do is to lower the median rather than focusing on an individual score. I recently replaced an 89 with a career best 78. My median went from 88 to 87! Now we’re talking! This is great advice on golf!

3.  Resist using your handicap index to set a score expectation. This is the “should’ve” disease and I’ve been afflicted with it most of my life. My handicap is 12 so I expect to shoot around 84. And I’d be upset otherwise.  Wrong! An 84 (~72 plus my handicap index) is simply my potential playing ability. It would be a good score because it would be within approximately the top 25 percent of my last 20 scores. But, statistically, it is not likely. If you need an “I should’ve” statement, try this: “I should’ve set a positive expectation for each shot and let the score take care of itself.”

4.  Accept this fact – there are factors during a golf round that out of your control. And we all know it! How often do we start a round on a beautiful sunny day and say “Well, I don’t have any excuses today?” Yet, even on nice days, the inconsistencies of a golf course are numerous: unraked bunkers, divots in the fairway, newly aerated greens, etc. Rely on your preparation and control your emotions! When unusual conditions exist, you must focus all the more on one shot at a time.

So what will your tombstone inscription say?  I’m changing mine to: “Here lies a golfer who finally lowered his median!”

There are my thoughts on Chapter 11. Join the discussion of advice on golf! Share your opinions! If you don’t have a copy of the book you can still get one and catch up.  Also, if you miss a week, my archived blogs are at: http://usgolftv.com/author/steve-zahn/

If you want you can also contact me at steve@usgolftv.com

Steve Zahn