How to recover from a poor start – part two

“I get p***** off. I simply do not understand someone who hits a ball that lands behind a tree and can look at it and say, “Well, that’s golf”. Simon Hobday

By Ian Hardie

In the post ‘How to recover from a poor start’ I began to explain my first piece of advice to work towards recovering from a poor start

Which as you will remember I wrote in response to a question from a frustrated golfer

Who was thinking of ‘giving up golf for a while’

Due to him losing interest in the game after a run of recent poor starts

The first piece of advice – which is the first of six things that need to be done or understood

Was actually to accept that the first few holes of each game

Won’t always be that good

As in general

The golfer in question either did no warm up or on occasion a very limited one

Before heading to the first tee

The same as most other golfers

And as I have said a few times before when discussing the lack of proper warm ups.

‘Is it any wonder that most golfers start poorly?’

Most golfers start their game behind

Both physically and mentally

So during that first six or seven holes before we loosen up on the course

Accepting that poor shots may happen

And that mistakes will be made

Helps the golfer to ‘let it go’

The solution is to focus instead on every shot as a single event

Making no judgement as to whether the result is good or bad

This can begin to eliminate the problem of poor starts

Focusing on every shot as a single event

Once you manage to achieve it

Takes away one of the biggest problems that most golfers have

Which is having every miss hit or poor shot that they hit

Compound their mental state in a negative way

I’m sure we have all experienced it at some point in our golf

As nothing can destroy a round as easily

Which brings me to the second piece of advice on this topic

One that is going to be against

What we have all been taught by other golfers on the course

So as simple as this is to do

It’s going to be difficult to practically do while playing

As all the other players will still be doing it

And wanting to let you know about it.

What is it?

Stop adding up your scores after nine holes!

Most golfers play 18 holes as their round

And as you will have experienced over the years

Anything can happen during those 18 holes

So what has happened during those first 9 holes

Which in this case is ‘a poor start’

Doesn’t necessarily set the tone for the final score of the round

In fact one of the better rounds I have had over the years

Which came after a two week period of intense practice

Began with 10 pars in a row

Which you may be thinking wasn’t really ‘a poor start’

But in the context of my form at that time – it was

Anyway, it had me wondering if all the practice over the previous two weeks was worth it

Until I birdied 6 of the last 8 holes

For a 6 under par 65

And knew the practice was worth it!

If I had mentally been affected by the score for that first 9 holes

I may not have gone on to shoot that score

Which is what I notice that most golfers do

They stop after 9 holes and add up their score

Even going as far as debating it with the other players in their group

And comparing it to what happened yesterday

Last week

Or last time they played

Which creates two problems

The first is what we are talking about here

Which is losing interest after a poor start

Even though you will realise that you aren’t playing well

The last thing you need is to have that confirmed by a 9 hole total on the card

Reinforcing the fact that you aren’t playing as well as you may like

It’s a sure fire way to keep you headed on a downward mental spiral on the course

Which generally leads to a loss of interest in the game

Like the golfer who asked the question was experiencing

It also negates the advice I gave above about focussing on one shot at a time

Which is critical to recovering from a poor start

So treat the scorecard as it should be treated

Simply write down your partners score for each hole

As well as your own score for each hole

Then once you are finished your 18 hole round

Add the score up and sign it

You will be amazed at how often you can recover from a poor start

By not adding up your scorecard halfway round.

Play well

Gee, I nearly forgot

The other problem that adding up your scorecard after 9 holes causes I talked about in the post ‘What’s your golfing identity?’ check it out here if you missed it


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How to recover from a poor start

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Lower your golf scores by switching off

My best ever simple putting tip

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