Playing for Par?
By TravisMiller on 8/13/10
We asked for readers to send in blog posts- and Travis Miller didn't disappoint. I'll use this as a little inspiration next time I'm out- and hope you will too. Thanks Travis!
As I was watching the PGA championship first round watching a marquee group on PGA.com, the announcer was describing the tee shot of Y.E. Yang. He used a replay video to show the spine angle of Yang. He used a Madden style display and it showed the ear of Yang moving (about an inch) off the center spine angle and described it as being the cause of the shot slicing to the right. He then proceeded to talk about it being important to the professionals who are shooting for below par; however, that the small distance about an inch that ear had moved was not that big of a deal to amateurs because they only shoot for 85 to 90.
Thinking about this for a little bit upset me for no apparent reason other than the fact that as a golfer, I don’t think anybody shoots for less than par. Anyone that goes to play golf and does not intend to shoot for par or better has no business being on the course. Every hole that I play is for par or better. Anyone who goes to the course with the purpose of being any average amateur they now have no real reason to play the game. I don't know anyone who plans for his tee shot to be in the deep rough and not in the center of the fairway or who plans his approach shot to go long into the water hazard. This assumption that we are amateurs and we have to play for less than par or better is offensive to me and it should be to all amateur golfers.
And I'm not upset at the announcer for the statement, but more for the fact that I had been starting to settle for less, that I had been working for 90 or 80 (to be average.) I don't think that any golfer should shoot for less than par. And yes 90 and 80 are goals to be reached along the way but they're not the culmination of what we're working for. So not only do I challenge myself, all the more, to reach par, but extend this challenge to all my fellow oobers. I ask, have you settled for less than the goal of par? Have you resigned yourself to playing from the rough rather than the smooth textured fairway? Have you decided that you can reach par or are you happy and satisfied with 90 or 80?
Fellow oobers, not only do I challenge you I want to give you some encouragement to the fact that we can reach for a better game. We can enjoy ourselves playing from the fairway, stopping approach shots within feet and inches of the cup, tapping in for eagles and birdies. But we can also develop our shots from the rough and the bunkers. We can create the shots that the pros can, that bend around trees or punch through strong winds.
In closing I want to remind you that as amateurs we can enjoy the great game of golf with expectations of the pros that we can also get a great pleasure at our ability to laugh off the shanks and the ricochets that gives so much grief to our game. Swing well, hit long, and putt well!
This was written by Travis Miller, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.
[ comments ]
One Grammatical error and one capitalization error, dang....but it is still good if I say so myself. Here is the corrected line * = correction.
"In closing I want to remind you that as amateurs we can enjoy the great game of golf with expectations of the pros that we can also *get a great pleasure at our ability to laugh off the *shanks and the ricochets that gives so much grief to our game. Swing well, hit long, and putt well!"
/more like copy/paste
fixed- btw. thanks!
nice editting... not.
I agree, i always am thinking either par or better. I do realize though when i have to start thinking bogey or better to keep the big numbers of the card. Its all about being realistic and unitl i shank the tee shot or split the fairway i am thinking par or birdie, everyhole. now if i miss the green on the approach i think ok get it up and down and if i dont chip close enough i am trying to hole that putt for par. why else woudl i play? good article but for me its almost like common sense.
Good article Travis - thanks! I too, heard that comment and watched the 'analysis.' Personally I think they do it more for talking points and filler than actually knowing why Y.E. pushed it a little right on a pretty narrow fairway on one shot that really wasn't a huge error.
For me from mental aspect, I 'play for par' and try and take advantage of the opportunities when the course and a good shot or two allows me. I tell myself that all I need to do is pace par on the round and I would best my low-round of 77 by quite a bit. Mentally again, I feel this has lowered my overall scores this year.
While we love to feel that one great shot from 245+ out to a water guarded green that rolls to within feet of the cup (I had this year) most often we find ourselves missing this, over-swinging and asking ourself why we 'suck' so bad at times. But agree - this is what we play for!
i was mocking Travismiller. i suck at grammar, didnt even notice the errors.
I play thinking eagle and birdies on every hole from the start then as the hole plays out I adjust the expectation. Think greatness and your mind strives for it for as long as it takes. I keep in my minds eye the belief that I will one day shoot a bogey free round 4 under par.
Well done Travis! I am so pumped up I plan to leave work early and shoot par this afternoon!
When i play, i visualize the shots to equal par. Then i work with what i have. One shot at a time. Obviously i strive to better par, but it's better to have an average starting point than to get flustered because you didn't get birdie. When i'm better, i'll set birdie as the standard.
Expectations are built from results of past performance. Disappointment is the difference between expectations and current performance. Staying on the positive side of that is always hard to do during a round.
I think it's important to have a "personal par" for each hole and each round. If you have never hit a tee shot 250 yards, it's not positive thinking to attempt a 300 yard shot over the water, it's just stupid. I often tee up on a hole with the intention of hitting the green in regulation +1. It's called course management. For me two high probability shots usually work out better than a shot that has a 10% chance of giving me a birdie and a 90% chance of giving me a double boogie. So, in tomorrow's round, my course management strategy will make it impossible for me to shot par but will hopefully allow me to shoot a personal best.
P.S. Great article and I realize you're not suggesting we throw away course management in a futile attempt to par every hole. I'm just trying to stir things up on a Friday afternoon.
Bryan K says:
You know...I don't shoot for par on every hole. I shoot for birdie on every hole.
But I'm realistic. I know that I don't have the skill (yet) to birdie every single hole. I know that I don't have the skill to par every single hole. I know I'm typically going to either mess up one shot per hole or I'm going to have two shots that are just enough off so that I lose a stroke on each hole.
That's why I say that for someone of my skill level, bogeys are good. Pars are great. But birdies are the ultimate goal.
Good post Travis!
Banker: lol - you've now put yourself in a position where you have to throw out a disclaimer everytime you make a joke. lol.
I think the "Moneygolf" article stated it best:
"One of the many ways that golf boggles the mind is how you can be both so bad at it and so good. Golf will allow moments of grace, like the 5-iron that rolls to two feet or the 40-foot putt that finds the cup. For that brief, shining moment, you hit a shot as well as a human being possibly could. You will never wrongfoot an NBA defender, you will never turn on a 95 mph fastball—but on the golf course, you can occasionally equal the best in the game. Right?"
While I get what you're saying, I don't think the commentator was being disrespectful or unrealistic about amateur golfers. The fact is that for us to play to our best score, we have to sometimes admit that par is unattainable and work at cutting our losses. When you're as good as a pro, you can attempt what would be insanely low-percentage shots for the rest of us. These are the kinds of shots where a slight miss turn into a nightmare situation. A pro can try to, say, save par by flopping over a bunker to a short-sided pin; I'd be a fool to try that, better to play for a bogey with a safer pitch. Basically, the pro can normally control those tiny mistakes, so can realistically go for that kind of shots. You or I better expect to make a mistake like that, so we have to choose a shot where it's an acceptable miss.
Aim for the stars, you may hit a lamp post, aim for the curb and you will probably end up in the gutter.
I think par golf is why handicapping works - playing to "your" par makes you feel like a pro when you shoot under (net) and then when you shoot 18 over, you feel like Tiger :-)
I have noticed the bravado at hole 1, every golfer tees up and is talking the talk. By hole 6, it is all about focusing on the little things, swing speed and body alignment.
Great game, it is so addictive...
Nice post, Travis. A few years ago I decided the same thing (that the goal should be nothing less than par, every round). If anyone's interested, I occasionally blog about it at: missionevenpar.blogspot.com.
@Banker: Thanks for the support!!! Ha ha.....
@everyone: Thanks for the great comments. I had actually decided not to write this until last night I was working on getting my speech recognition software working and during it I just started talking about golf and the announcer and this is what I got.
@select few: I know the announcer did not mean anything derogatory towards amateurs, it was just how he said it that started the whole thing.
Sorry, that link from my post isn't working. Try this one: missionevenpar.blogspot.com
i agree & i am 32 years old & i play to play on tour one day pga or seniors. realistic or not i play like i want it. it is one of the rare sports you can play a million times just trying to best yourself. got blog buddy.
yeah & if you are on the course not trying to get par let me play through.
Played today and I hit a shit from 126 out so smooth so high so straight and it land with a thud but couldn't see where since the sun was in my face to my surprise it was one inch from the cup it landed a foot in front and stopped an inch away. Mercy that was the easiest birdie in my life and it's bc of shots like that I keep playing.
That was supposed to say shot not the other words please forgive me seriously. It was a typo I am sorry I don't like to use profanity.
Anyway to delete the comment or edit it?
I do somewhat agree with you - but golfers every day go to the course and resign themselves to bad rounds. How do I know? Because I see countless golfers with handicaps over 20 and 30 play from the back tees.
I played the other day with a guy who played from the back tees and was driving about 140... WTF?! Or the guy ahead of me who hits his drive crooked about 180 into the rough and then waits for the green to clear some 220 ahead of him. Like he's gonna knock a 4-iron from the rough 80 yards longer than his driver off a tee. I agree that we should all strive for greatness, but be realistic too. that wait turned my 2 hour round into a 3 hr and 45 minute 9-hole round...
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