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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Missing It in the Right Places

I had played Dunes West for the first time several days ago with Hank, managing to end up with four sevens on my card. Playing a course for the first time can sometimes be a bit tricky and a bit embarrassing. That's what separates the really good players from the guys who might play pretty well on their home course, but often find themselves unable to score on a strange course.

I am pleased to say that I played Dunes West three more times; breaking eighty every time and breaking par with a 71 on my last outing. Playing different courses is great for your game because it forces you to think your way around a layout that often calls for different shots into different greens. What we sometimes fail to give the top pros credit for is their ability to quickly size up a new course and shoot a good score. It isn't easy to do. Skill alone won't necessarily cut it on a new course. You have to very quickly learn where to "miss it" on every hole, or you can find yourself making some big numbers.

Golf is a game of misses. The guy who manages his misses, and misses it in the best spots, is the guy who will likely do the best. And this involves good planning, as well as execution. In the end, the guy who knows his own game, and is able to adapt his play to a variety of golf holes, is the guy who can do well taking his game on the road. It doesn't just come down to mechanical skill. In the end it always comes down to course management. And only experience, or a good caddie, will teach you how to manage your misses. 

That's why I think Bobby Jones was right on the money when he recommended that serious golfers seize every opportunity they can to play different courses under different conditions. That's the only way to really grow as a player--even if it sometimes means making a few sevens.