Did the title of this article grab your attention? Did he really just tell me to STOP trying to shoot lower scores? This guy has gone off the DEEP END!!!

  This is typical of what I hear from students who are struggling to shoot the scores they want. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see you make more birdies and shoot lower scores, but it is more about how you are going to achieve it. This article is geared towards the golfer wanting to break 90 or even 80. I think we can all relate to what you are about to read. The reality is that when you are trying to make birdies, you are usually being aggressive with your decision-making on the course. Whether it is trying to hit a club further than your normal comfortable distance, hitting a club that you don’t have a lot of confidence in, playing a low percentage shot from a poor lie, or just poor course management in general; these all have something in common: they have a tendency to lead to higher scores!            

  There are certainly times where this type of thinking pays off, but the disaster of higher scores awaits more often than not. Let’s look at a few examples: Because you are trying to make birdie, hitting a driver when your driver is not cooperating (always easier to blame the club) on a tight driving hole with hazards usually leads to you diving into your golf bag for another round of ammo. Because you are trying to make birdie, trying to hit that long Par 4 in two shots because you believe that you should hit the green in regulation even though your handicap suggests otherwise – as you wrap that club around your neck and try to hit the ball as far as you possibly can, you helplessly watch the ball wander into the trees, water, along the ground or OB. Because you are trying to make birdie, you get too aggressive on a putt and leave yourself a 5-footer coming back, and then miss that one for a bogey from the middle of the fairway? You get the point.

  Playing a round of golf with sound course management skills is an eye-opening experience for many of my students. They begin to realize that they do not need to hit driver on every hole, they do not need to hit every green in regulation, and they start to see value of mastering inside 100 yards is the best way to start to lower your scores. This is all part of my philosophy in my instruction and coaching programs here at my Golf Academy. We are offering New Student Assessments to gauge your current game and put together a plan of how to achieve the scores you are looking for.

Todd Campbell is the director of the Golf Academy at Mulligan’s Island in Cranston. He writes an Instruction Column in each issue of SNE Golfer. He can be reached at 08-951-4371 or at tcampbell@pga.com