Category Archives: practice

Do you Ambrose enough?


“Golf is 20 percent talent and 80 percent management.” – Ben Hogan 

By Ian Hardie

Yesterday, I played in a memorial tournament at the golf club

The aim of the day is to get old friends, fellow golf pros and acquaintances of the former club pro together to remember a true gentleman

He was extremely well liked and always had a positive word or tip for any golfer he talked to

The consummate professional golfer – a fine player, a fine teacher and a fine person

As it was an informal day – the format for the event was a team comprised of one professional and four amateurs

The game was called Ambrose – which is also known as a scramble

As the professional in the group, my strategy was to have the other players hit from the tee first

If there was a drive that finished in a good position for the next shot – I could be aggressive

Going for either the very long drive or attacking the flag aggressively

Shots that ordinarily – being mindful of trying to put together a score – I wouldn’t attempt

If the other player’s drives were not in a good position for the next shot – I was able to use my experience

And play the percentage shot, so that the team could move forward without disaster

It got me to thinking afterwards – how can this help your game?

The answer – I realised is that it can help golfers practice more effectively

More importantly than that

I had forgotten that I used to do it myself – when I went to a tournament at a course I hadn’t played before

Most golfers I see out on the course having a practice round are simply hitting one ball – exactly as you would in an organised day or competition

And with the way most courses are busy these days and full of other golfers – I accept that this may be the only thing available to you

But maybe it’s worth heading out either very early or very late in the day

And playing your own personal Ambrose

Here’s why

Watch a professional golfer have a practice round and it’s completely different to what most golfers do

They will play 3 or 4 balls from the tee, possibly each with a different club or at least a different shot shape

They might try different lines or even another fairway

They aren’t that concerned about where the balls end up – they are just trying to find the best shot to hit

Or the best way to play the hole

Then they will hit their next shot from the point on the fairway where they expect their good shot to finish

They don’t blindly hack one ball along just because that’s where they hit it

They build confidence for the future by hitting shots from the ideal places

Because of that when they go to play the real round

They have experience in playing from the best spots

And how much confidence do you think that gives them?

More to the point – what would you give to be able to develop that sort of confidence?

So head on out there when you can and play your own Ambrose

You will be surprised how much better you feel about your regular game after doing it

Play well


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