Playing “Smart”

njt1986

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I have a question for you guys, particular the lower handicap players, on how you feel about playing “smart”?

So, my definition of that is to play safe, not to make gambles etc. on shots. I ask because I played “smart” on Monday in a practice round with a mate and shot my best round in a long time, 89, which may not sound like much but I play off 31. The only thing is, I didn’t find it as enjoyable for some reason.

So normally I’m shooting in the high 90’s or lower 100’s because I have a tendency to try to rip a drive around a corner or over trees etc, rather than pull out a long Iron and lay up at the corner etc. - and I know for my scores it’s by far the worst thing I can do, easily sabotaging any chance I have of scoring well, but when I pull one off it feels way better. But when I force myself to play safe and smart I just find it all a bit timid and boring.

How do you guys who do play that way do it, mentally? I see golf as entertainment, really, so I try crazy shots etc as a form of entertainment, even though playing safer would lower my scores. Does anyone else play the same way I do and find it hard to play the safer/smarter way?
 

Imurg

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It's called Course Management and it's not as easy as it seems.
You need to know your limitations, your ability and how you're swinging on the day.
Just because you made that 200 yard carry over water last week doesn't mean you can do it every time
There are variables to take into account. The wind may have changed direction:LOL:
There are times when you need to go for it but probably more times when a lay up is better.
It comes with experience, it can be taught but it takes time to learn.
Playing smart can lead to lower scores but it's not a guarantee. And it's not as enjoyable as ripping a driver over the dogleg or parachuting a lob over a bunker to a tight pin
But, over time, scores will likely be lower.
 

User20204

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I've been playing the game for 40+ years or so and have yet to learn to play smart, always go for the carry, always try and hit it over the trees at the corner and never learn :ROFLMAO: may be one day I will :unsure: and I play off of 4 :sleep:
 

srixon 1

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Do what you need to do to get the best enjoyment out of the game. For me it is getting the best score I can on the day, and if that means the occasional lay-up then so be it.
 
D

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Do what you need to do to get the best enjoyment out of the game. For me it is getting the best score I can on the day, and if that means the occasional lay-up then so be it.

Totally this, no greater enjoyment than making a good score.

Very rare you can make a good score going for the 'TV' shot. We have a handicaps because we ain't that good therefore crazy shots usually mean disaster.
 

Lump

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Totally this, no greater enjoyment than making a good score.

Very rare you can make a good score going for the 'TV' shot. We have a handicaps because we ain't that good therefore crazy shots usually mean disaster.
I agree about making a good score, the sense of enjoyment and pride you get to shooting low scores...... but pushing for a score can sometimes cause people to walk away from the game.
Not everyone is able or willing to play smart golf to lower scores, which is 100% fine by me, golf is not always about a number.
IMO smart golf is not about laying up, it’s about playing to strengths and pushing when you can. Knowing your limitations and percentage play is key to that. For me it’s sometimes going for it rather than holding back as the miss around the green is better than a missed layup.
 

jim8flog

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Playing smart for me is not taking on a shot that not even a top class pro would consider. I often see high handicap players take on shots that I would not even consider, rarely do they come off and often result in a double or triple bogey rather than a single bogey or less with a good chip and single putt.
 

User20204

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Playing smart for me is not taking on a shot that not even a top class pro would consider. I often see high handicap players take on shots that I would not even consider, rarely do they come off and often result in a double or triple bogey rather than a single bogey or less with a good chip and single putt.


Welcome to my world :rolleyes:
 
D

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I agree about making a good score, the sense of enjoyment and pride you get to shooting low scores...... but pushing for a score can sometimes cause people to walk away from the game.
Not everyone is able or willing to play smart golf to lower scores, which is 100% fine by me, golf is not always about a number.
IMO smart golf is not about laying up, it’s about playing to strengths and pushing when you can. Knowing your limitations and percentage play is key to that. For me it’s sometimes going for it rather than holding back as the miss around the green is better than a missed layup.

Great post, excellent advice.
 

duncan mackie

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I completely agree with Lump that playing smart is about percentages; the most obvious parallel is professional snooker players who can give you detailed % on both an individual shot and the implications - and the winners play to those figures.

Whilst I completely understand the enjoyment factor referenced by the OP, and observe many who act on that motivation all the time, ultimately it comes down to your own targets.

Personally mine is to have an outward appearance of control over the little white ball; for others it's to hit it further, higher, with more spin on approach shots, drop and stop on their pitches etc etc

The secret is to play it the way you enjoy rather than in either a restricted, or gung-ho, manner when that's not you!
 

clubchamp98

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I've been playing the game for 40+ years or so and have yet to learn to play smart, always go for the carry, always try and hit it over the trees at the corner and never learn :ROFLMAO: may be one day I will :unsure: and I play off of 4 :sleep:
TBF it’s very difficult to play smart off 4.
I am off 6 and you must play the required shot most of the time.
The only exception really is if your in trouble or deciding to go for a par 5 in two.
The rest of the time you must execute really to score well.

The guys with plenty of shots can score by playing smart and cutting out those stupid shots.
But it gets boring,
When someone asks what you scored though ,they usually don’t ask how you did it.!
 

Roops

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For me, it's go for it. I can't really remember many of my low rounds, I keep a record of them because I can' remember them ! But individual shots I can. I guess I sort of see shot making as the real reward and the score is a by product of the shot making.
 

garyinderry

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There is nothing to stop you playing balls out golf when out practicing or playing games with your mates for a pound.
When trying to win a comp or get a handicap cut it pays to play smart.
There is a million and one ways to play smart and generally people get better at it as their handicap comes down. As rory said recently, "find people who are better than you and play with them if you can." You pick up so much this way.
Learning how to manage your way around a course can be as rewarding if not more so than that one shot a round you pull off when you really shouldn't have been even attempting it.
It will help your scores no end to hate double bogies more than a random memorable shot.

I generally play quite differnt in comps than i do in practice rounds or social games with friends. In comp rounds I play quite conservative but always trying to make par or at worst bogie. In social games I will bang driver on most holes and aim for every pin trying to birdie everything. The funny thing is I'll probably make more birdies the other way.
 

patricks148

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I've been playing the game for 40+ years or so and have yet to learn to play smart, always go for the carry, always try and hit it over the trees at the corner and never learn :ROFLMAO: may be one day I will :unsure: and I play off of 4 :sleep:

i suppose its knowing your limitations, if you are more that capable of carrying it over tree;s or water from 200 yards away, you would go for it, but if you could only do it once in a blue moon with your best ever shot, it smart golf to lay up or get the ball back in play.

i play with guy a lot who's off plus one, his idea of playing smart are far differnt to mine, he can take on a green from a reveted fairway bunker some 100 yards from the green, where as for me even off 5 its get it out and back in play, so for me playing smart is all down to what you are caplable of
 

patricks148

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TBF it’s very difficult to play smart off 4.
I am off 6 and you must play the required shot most of the time.

The only exception really is if your in trouble or deciding to go for a par 5 in two.
The rest of the time you must execute really to score well.

The guys with plenty of shots can score by playing smart and cutting out those stupid shots.
But it gets boring,
When someone asks what you scored though ,they usually don’t ask how you did it.!

i don't agree, you would play to your ability, playing smart for someone whos a good player and off scratch or less is very different to say someone off 18
 
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