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The High-Handicapper’s Guide To The Galaxay

The High-Handicapper’s Guide To The Galaxay
Justin Goforth
October 30, 2023
min read
Golf Courses

The High-Handicapper’s Guide To The Galaxay

“They call it golf because all the other four-letter words were taken.” Raymond Floyd

For many, myself being no exception, golf is mostly a hyper-tension inducing, explicative laden, caddy contemplating self-harm (jokingly of course, by my caddy during a round at Archerfield Fidra, during our 2019 Scotland Golf Tour, after 17 miserable holes of me duffing every tee shot with an iron, in a feeble attempt to “play within my ability,” then lacing my tee shot on 18 after he asked me to please try my driver once, for him), descent in madness.  But that one shot…. exactly ONE.  My 121st of 126 swings that day. When my double bogey putt dropped 5 shots later, I was a brand-new man and looking forward to the next day’s round at Gullane.   A 0.8% success rate is all it takes, to have you standing on the tee box the next morning, ready to do it all over again.   That is the glorious game we call golf.  As a high-handicapper, you have to find and cherish those silver linings. They can be few and far in between, but here are a few things you can do to add a few more bright spots to your rounds (when applicable and appropriate):

1. Stop Keeping Score:

As a high handicap golfer, it's easy to get discouraged when comparing your game to others. Instead of fixating on your score, focus on the progress you're making and the enjoyment you derive from the game. Keep the scorecard in your pocket and keep a mental tally during the hole, then let that score disappear from your mind, just like all the numbers from high school Trigonometry.  

2. Play from Forward Tees:

One way to enhance your enjoyment as a high handicap golfer is to choose tee boxes that suit your skill level. Play from forward tees, as it reduces the overall length of the course, creating a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. This allows you to hit shorter shots into greens, leading to more opportunities for success.

3. Emphasize Course Management:

“It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.” ― Hank Aaron

Rather than relying solely on distance, concentrate on course management. This involves carefully planning your shots, strategically avoiding hazards, and playing more conservative golf. By focusing on accuracy rather than power, you'll reduce the risk of hitting errant shots, leading to a more pleasant round.

4. Establish Realistic Expectations:

“Golf has probably kept more people sane than psychiatrists have.” ― Harvey Penick

High handicap golfers often put unnecessary pressure on themselves by expecting perfection. Accept that golf is a challenging game, and even the best players make mistakes. Set achievable goals for each round such as hitting a certain number of fairways or focusing on improving your short game. Are you an 18 handicap? Increase par on each hole, by one stroke.  Celebrate small victories and embrace the learning process of the game.

5. Golfing with Others:

“But in the end it’s still a game of golf, and if at the end of the day you can’t shake hands with your opponents and still be friends, then you’ve missed the point.” ― Payne Stewart

Playing with like-minded individuals can significantly enhance the enjoyment factor. Surround yourself with friends or fellow high handicap golfers who have a positive approach to the game. Sharing laughs, encouraging each other, and enjoying the social aspect of golf often outweighs any personal disappointments on the scorecard.

6. Take Lessons:

Consider investing in professional golf lessons. Working with a knowledgeable instructor can help you identify areas for improvement in your game. Even making minor adjustments can lead to noticeable improvements, boosting your confidence and overall satisfaction on the course.

7. Enjoy the Surroundings:

“Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Mark Twain

Don’t forget to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the golf course. Whether it's a picturesque sunset, lush greens, or the scent of fresh-cut grass, immerse yourself in the serenity and embrace the opportunity to spend quality time outdoors.

8. Take Lessons:

Just in case you skipped number 6.

What are you waiting for?  Go grab your clubs, tee it high, and let it fly!

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