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It’s a rough game

Well is life getting back to normal for you yet? Not really for me. Seriously missing the caddying. Both the big events and the work at Royal Lytham. There aren’t many better ways to spend the day than wandering the fairways and occasionally the dunes of Lytham. Hopefully, this year is just a blip and both caddying and visitors return next year. Playing plenty of golf and moving in the right direction with my game. Had a few tough Saturdays in terms of weather and enjoy the challenge that creates. I can’t remember ever seeing the links so green in August so it’s playing long.

This recent weather has created some seriously tough golf courses unless yours has a benevolent head green keeper who has spent the last month mowing. Growing conditions have been ideal and it’s not a time of the year Course Managers like to remove too much from an ecological point of view. So, knowing it’s tough out there how does that change our mindset?

My usual starting point is that’s up to you. You can decide that’s the roughs too much, the course is going to beat you up and you can whine to anyone who will listen all the way round. Essentially you have taken yourself out of contention before you start. Or you can turn it around and find a new perspective. Remember the course is the same for everyone. I often hear higher handicappers say only the low handicappers can win when it’s like this and it’s set up for them. I would question that and suggest they just make better decisions.

If you have played your course for years you probably don’t even think when you approach a tee. You reach for your usual club and thrash away as normal. This fails to engage the brain in the activity. Does the fact that the rough on the right is now so bad that you probably lose your ball not change your thought process? It should. Where you can miss changes with the seasons and the condition of the course. So it should be front and centre in your thoughts as you plan your strategy for the hole. Create the picture and give yourself the best possible chance of success.

Stating the obvious but as the course gets harder the standard scratch goes up. Stop being driven by the par of the hole and view it differently. What is the strategy for the hole? If it’s a par four but in these conditions, you can’t reach it in two assess the benefit of hitting a driver against the potential dangers. Then make a good golfing decision. Giving yourself a shot you know you can perform is the quickest way to boost your confidence. Learning to manage your game and your strategy is the quickest way to shave a few shots off but usually the one that’s only talked about when it’s too late. I should have played for position off the tee can often be heard post the triple bogey.

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