After turning another nice mid-to-upper 70’s round into a low 80’s round with a few stupid shots, I decided to review the source of my stupidity. The most obvious flaw in my recent play has been poor execution of the second shot on par 5’s. That shot easily cost me 4 shots in my last round.
I often approach the shot with no real plan beyond “go for it” or “lay up.” If I go for it, it’s “hit it as far as I can.” If I lay up, it’s “just hit the fairway somewhere up there.” A vague target and a nonspecific distance.
When I lived in Florida I played some golf with a neurologist friend who had the secret to golf and life sewn up in a neat bundle. When you encountered troubles on the course or in life he would dispense his “all purpose prescription,” presented in the illustration below. (The neurologist’s name has obviously been changed to protect the guilty.)
I was always entertained when he dispensed the prescription to me, but “Do Better” has the same problems as my second shot on par 5’s. It’s a good plan, but it’s mighty vague. It needs some how to work.
Maybe I can make “Do Better” better by being more specific. It’s hard to commit to a shot that’s not well planned out, and being committed to a shot is universally mentioned as an important part of good golf. Next time I’ll approach those second shots as if they were second shots on par 4’s. Not just go for it but go for a particular spot on the green. Not just lay up, but visualize a pin in the fairway and hit to there.
Maybe even take Bob Rotella’s advice and not even hit driver off the tee if I know I won’t reach in two. There’s a par 5 at my home course where I risk out of bounds or in a hazard with my drive, and I’ve never reached in two. Why risk it off the tee?
So I’ll try to “Take dead aim”, as Harvey Penick says in his Little Red Book. Maybe that will make me “do better.”