Lowering Your Scoring Barrier

By Chris Foley

Over the course of the golf season, each month in this column we will be sharing ideas to help improve your golf game without changing your golf swing. By implementing our advice each month, you will see improvement in your game and lower scores.

When I was growing up in Iowa, some of the best players came from the small towns around the state. As you travel through the state of Iowa, every town has at least a nine-hole golf course. These courses are not necessarily the most difficult courses, but they are fun courses that are very scoreable. They are generally not overly crowded and can be played in a reasonable amount of time.

Something that I have observed over the years is that there are a lot of junior golfers that grow up at these golf courses that are great players and can shoot really low scores! On these courses a player can make a lot of birdies and it is not unusual for them to play 36, 45, or 54 holes in a day.

Playing a lot of golf, making a lot of birdies, and shooting a lot of low scores, a player gets very comfortable shooting low scores. Their “scoring barrier” is low.

Regardless of our level of play, we all have a comfort zone or range of scores that we typically shoot. Your barrier could be 100, 90, 80, or 70. In getting better, the question is, “how do we lower that barrier”.

One method we have used to help players realize their potential is Real Golf developed by Joe Bosco. (www.playrealgolf.com). In Real Golf you play a personal 3-Ball Scramble. On each series of shots you play three balls, selecting the best shot of the three. Having three opportunities on each shot removes pressure and frees us up to play some outstanding golf. The score you can shot playing this personal scramble is surprisingly low and helps you realize your true potential in the game.

A second way to learn to shoot lower scores is one advocated by Operation 36 (https://operation36.golf) and Project Even Par (http://golfsciencelab.com/project-even-par/). You start by playing nine holes, playing every hole from 150 yards. The goal is to shoot 36 or better from this distance. If you shoot less than 36, move back to 175 yards. If you shoot higher than 36, move up to 125 yards. When you achieve a score of 36 at a yardage, move back yards 25 yards more. Once you reach 225 yards, move to the most forward tees and so on.

As you are trying to achieve 36 at a yardage, analyze what areas are impacting your scores the most. Is it approach play, chipping, pitching, or putting.   Spend your practice time working on the area that is the biggest negative impact.

Getting comfortable shooting lower scores and analyzing and working on the areas impacting your game will go a long way in lowering your comfort zone and scoring barrier!