Your Score Doesn’t Matter

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Introduction

The vast majority of golfers are score-obsessed.  We want to shoot lower scores, break through scoring barriers, and drop our handicap.  This is fine, but we need to acknowledge that your score in golf is not a perfect measure of your performance or your ability.  In this lesson, I’ll explain why your score isn’t everything and how you can better measure your game.

This Lesson Is For You If

You aren’t enjoying the game as much as you should

You aren’t scoring the way you’d like to

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Why Your Score Doesn’t Matter

Your final score, whether it’s 68 or 108, is a combination of things you can control and things you can’t.  You hit the shots, but you don’t control the wind, the turf conditions, the bounces, or any number of other factors that can influence your score.  If it’s a course you’ve never played before, a lack of information and knowledge can lead to higher scores.  This unpredictability is part of the charm of golf, but it can also be a source of major frustration.  Here’s how you can be rid of it.

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A Better Way to Keep Score

If you’re looking for a better way to keep score, focus on smaller things.  You can pick the things that you care about most or the things that you want to work on in your game.  Here are some examples:

Mishits

Missed putts inside 4′

3 putts

Missed greens inside 50/100/150 yards

Lack of plan for or commitment to your shot

By keeping track of small things like this, you shift the focus from this one big, abstract picture to a couple small, clear ones.  When you walk off the course, you’ll have clarity knowing that you struck the ball well, made your short putts, or committed to your shots.

Keeping track of these “little” stats is also a great way to learn more about your game and break through scoring plateaus.  If you keep track of your 3-putts and driving accuracy for a few rounds, you may find that your total score is directly correlated to driving but not 3-putts, or vice versa.  You may find they’re equally important.  In any case, you’ll have learned something that you can use to improve your practice habits which should, in turn, improve your score.

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Or Forget Score Entirely

My dad is a lot smarter than most people, and the golf course is one area where he proves it: he hasn’t kept score in years.  He has simply learned something that I’ve tried to explain to hundreds of golfers:

If you’re not going to practice, you shouldn’t worry about your score, and the best way to not worry about your score is to not keep it.

Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  This is exactly what most golfers do: they don’t practice, don’t exercise, and don’t eat well, then they expect to shoot the round of their life on Sunday morning when they walk directly from their car to the first tee.  It’s madness!

Golf is supposed to be fun, something we do for enjoyment.  If your score is keeping your from that enjoyment, the quickest fix is to put the scorecard in the garbage.

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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3 Comments

  1. Go, Christopher, go!!!

  2. WOW!!! You cannot imagine my amazement when you wrote this. I have been doing this for years! It is seldom that I finish a round and have a completely filled in score card. Since I cannot get out as much as I would like to I am happy with small successes like few or no 3 putt holes. Or I find more balls than I lose. Generally speaking I am happy to enjoy the outdoors, spend time with friends and family and not hurt myself in the process. Keep up the good work!

  3. Pingback: Should You Always Keep Score When You Play?

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