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By David Fineg

  1. The fastest (and surest) way to lower your score from the onset of your golfing career, is to play from a teebox closer to the green. Doesn't that sound right to you? What are you doing playing from the farthest tees, when you can't even shoot a 95 from the forward set of tees? Do you want to get better, faster? The forward set of tees eliminates the need for what is probably the lowest percentage club in your bag, the driver. What does the "Big Dog" do to your score and your confidence? It dogs it!! Can you hit a seven iron with laser-like efficiency in your sleep? Then how do you figure you can hit a driver for score? You know, you can probably still find an errant four or seven iron somewhere up there in the fairway. But a driver hit off line is rarely ever found in a playable position.

  2. When you start playing golf, you should play the golf course looking to shoot double bogey golf, thrilling to the bogeys. I'm talking about strategy here. Add two strokes to par on every hole. This will allow you to make golf swings with no "need" in them. It will also allow you to have some success from the get-go.

    When you are shooting double-bogey golf, start looking to shoot bogey golf, and thrill to the pars. By the way, bogey golf is phenomenally good golf! When you are finally shooting routine bogey golf, move back to the next set of tees and start the process all over again. Eventually, (MAYBE) you will be looking to shoot par golf and enjoying the rare birdie. When you work your way up in the difficulty levels slowly, you are maximizing your potential for success. And perhaps having more fun along the way.

  3. Size does matter! But (in golf) smaller is better. The smaller your swing is, the more control you have over it. What do you mean when you say you want to hit the ball harder? How do you hit a golf ball harder? There are only two ways to impart more force to a golf ball. One way is to increase club head speed. The other way is to hit the ball closer to the center of the club face. This is the way you should be wanting to hit the ball harder. While I don't know for sure, I would bet that more energy is imparted to the ball with the center of the club face, than with increased club head speed. I do know the highest club head speed you can muster is useless, if you miss the center of the club face. The thing you should be looking to measure is not how hard you can hit the ball, but how purely you can hit the ball. Give up all the club head speed you have to, in order to hit the ball purely. This will be the most efficient swing. And the most powerful. And probably somewhere near the smallest.

  4. The difference between your 3-wood and your driver could be as much as 20 to 30 yards. But it is not the 20 to 30 yards that you think it is. On your best day you might hit the driver 20 to 30 yards farther than you hit the 3-wood. On EVERY other day the yardage difference you experience is the dispersion yardage you get when you hit the driver as you normally do. And 20 to 30 yards right or left is more than enough to put your usual (poor) drive into the woods. Now, your looking at the hero shot you have to come up with, just to get back in play. When you score a double (or triple) bogey on a hole, you have to make 2 or 3 birdies just to get back to net zero. How often do you do that?

    So lets see now (scene of you as the scales of justice, moving both hands up and down, weighing the risk versus the reward) NAAAH!! Remember, its the TEE SHOT, not the DRIVE.

  5. There are two things you must do every time you have a wedge in your hand:

    1. You must decide what kind of a shot you are going to make, AND THEN COMMIT TO THAT SHOT!!! Even if you have chosen the wrong shot, the wrong shot executed correctly will be better than the right shot executed incorrectly. Maybe not from the standpoint of distance to the pin, but from the fact that at least you will have learned something from the correctly executed shot. Trying to change your mind about your shot at the top of your backswing, is a recipe for failue.

    2. You must watch your tool do the work you intend it to do!! Look at the impact zone long enough to let your mind remember the path of the club, so you can compare it to the path of the ball when you finally look up.

  6. Greens in regulation, is a concept best left to the better players. Greens in regulation is the way better players make it possible to get the occaisional birdie. Less capable players thinking about "G.I.R." are forcing unnecessary "need" into their golf. Trying to get to the green in regulation is a lot of pressure, often resulting in poor tee or approach shots that yield up disaster. What are you doing looking for birdies and pars? You ought to be looking for pars and bogies.

  7. A 640 yard par five is a hole you must be within putting distance in.....................wait for it..............4 shots! So let's see...640 divided by 4 is...........wait for it....160 yards! You have a 160 yard shot in your bag, don't you? A 525 yard par four is a hole you must be within putting distance in 3 shots. 525 divided by 3 is 175 yards. You have a 175 yard shot in your bag, don't you? If you approach your golf from this angle, you are looking at maybe some pars mixed in with your bogeys, which sets you up to score in the high eighties or low nineties. All of this information assumes that your mission is to try to relax and have an enjoyable time on the golf course. If you want to play at the competitive levels, this stuff will not serve you as well. Do you think you can play pro golf? During your reading of this article, (rant?) did you find yourself resisting any of the concepts therein? If you did you are in for some dissappointment. Golf is a lot more methodical than you think. You have to know what you can do, and what you CAN'T do. Try to do only what you can do, because often times it turns out you can't do that. Give yourself a chance to do well. Your primary mission should be to relax and enjoy.



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