The Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro presents: Shooting Your Best Score Ever

Are you looking to shoot your best score ever?

Well, good luck sifting through the red-stake-marked pool of advice that exists in all types of outlets that cover golf – magazines, the golf channel, your local pro, and of course your golf buddies. Good news though! This column will guide you through accomplishing just that.

The bad news, however, is that it’s going to require you to take a tee and prick the massively inflated bubble that is your sense of self. Take Mr. 85 for example: he goes around with his single digit index of 9.9 and consistently throws away shots by thinking that he should employ the same strategy as the pros. The most important lesson he should learn in order to shoot his best score ever is that everyone is really terrible at golf.

And yet, one might say, Tiger in 2000 won practically every tournament – he wasn’t bad at golf! False. Tiger would consistently take 60 to 75 shots to complete a round, of which only 18 of his shots would find the bottom of the hole. I will double check the numbers but I believe that is way less than 100% of his shots. Perhaps even below 90%. So you see, if Tiger would only put 18 of 69 shots in the hole, a terrible rate, and he was best ever, think how bad Mr. 85 must be at golf – really, really awful!

The goal in golf is to be the least awful you can be. Remember that next time you aim for a tucked pin from 240 out to an island green guarded by alligators.

So let’s go through some common scenarios and see if Mr. 85 can alter his decision-making in an attempt to shoot his least horrible score ever:

Putting

A classic scene when observing Mr. 85 preparing to hit a 15 foot putt is a series of useless rituals that will not put a dent in the high likelihood that he will 3 putt. The problem lies in the fact that the plumbob, 360 degree green reading, and 7 practice strokes do not turn him from a horrible putter into an okay putter but instead turn him from a horrible putter into a still horrible putter whose stupid rituals distract him from having correct speed on his putts and also hold up the group behind him – the same group who earlier in the round were also doing stupid putting rituals but are now drunk and stopped caring about score and may get violent if they see one more plumbob out of Mr. 85. Let’s break it down:

Best player ever: makes 10% of 15 footers

Mr. 85’s opinion: “What do you mean 3 putt? I’m gonna drill this!”

Mr. 85 reality: No drilling but many, many 3 putts

Solution: Skip the pre-shot routine and lag it to 11 inches short and 7 inches right of the hole for an unexciting 2 putt. You’ll thank me after the round.

Chipping

While putting is usually a struggle for Mr. 85, chipping is usually a relative strength. Just kidding! His chipping is putrid. Unfortunately, Mr. 85 does not know this because he hit that one chip close to the hole that one time. Let’s take the common situation of having a tough chip over a bunker with little green to work with.

Best player ever: hits a nice flop over the bunker that will be close 30% of the time, 15 feet past 69% of the time, and flubbed in the bunker once in a long while.

Mr. 85’s opinion: “Watch and learn, boys!”

Mr. 85 reality: 49.9% chili chunk in the bunker, 49.9% skull over the green, and that one chip that one time.

Solution: Chip it 15 feet past the hole, where he will probably 3 putt.

Iron shots

Putting and chipping are undoubtedly important but at least a 3 putt is only a single lost stroke. The result of certain iron shots, on the other ungloved hand, can be the golf equivalent of being beaten over the head by Old Tom Morris’ rusty brassie from the 19th century.

There’s no doubt that Mr. 85’s iron game is hideous. He hits chunks, skulls, slices, hooks, and whatever other negative golf terms exist to describe shots. There’s also no doubt that he will continue to be horrible. However, there is hope! Mr. 85 could change his target line. Tucked pin surrounded by bunkers? Go for the middle. Island green? Go for the middle. More than 200 out over water? Lay up.

Let’s take a specific example: second shot on 18 at bay hill from 210 out with the pin back right.

Mr. 85’s opinion: “Here comes a controlled power butter drawfade right at the pin!”

Mr. 85 reality: Too gruesome to be explained in this column. Not for the faint-hearted.

Solution: Go for left and long of the green where your chunk, skull, slice, and hook will all find grass and where you can chip on and make your 5, which is 2.5 strokes below your current average after choosing That-Which-Is-Too-Gruesome-To-Be-Explained.

Mr. 85 might be asking: well, at what distance should I stop aiming for the middle and start aiming at the pin? 150 yards? Answer: Hmmm….yeahhh…. how about at 100 yards and under just to be safe.

Driving:

The good news with the irons is that the worst Mr. 85 can do (usually) is hit it in the water. That means a nice drop up to where it entered the hazard! The driver, conversely, can introduce a whole new level of punishment in the form of white stakes.

The problem with Mr. 85’s driving is that he believes that he hits ‘ehhhh…. around 70% of my fairways?’ when in reality he’s hit 619 banana slices in a row. Now fast forward to Mr. 85 teeing off on a hole with an array of beautiful, soon to be damaged houses down the right side. Now fast forward to banana slice 620. Now fast forward to Mr. 85 calculating how long it would take him to hop the fence, hit a nice recovery shot back to the fairway without taking too big a divot off of the back yard lawn, and hop back over the fence, all before the angry pitbull in the yard tries to eat his FootJoys and the drunken group behind him gets rowdy. And that’s the best case scenario – worse case is Mr. 85’s playing partners catch him trying to play his shot from out of bounds.

If the latter happens, he would have to re-tee where he will be hitting 3. 3! With no progress made! Remember the beating you took from Old Tom Morris’ brassie? This is way worse. This is like taking Old Tom Morris’ spoonie, dipping it in a pool of anthrax, spearing a beaver with it, feeding it to an alligator, and then having it bite your leg while you’re doing the move where you take your shoes off to play the ball on the edge of the lake even though the sign CLEARLY said to beware of anthrax gators.

Solution: realistically map out your tee shots in a dispersion pattern that you can then adjust your target line on. That means Mr. 85 needs to know that he hits mostly boomerang slices and on the hole that has the houses down the right side needs to pick a new line down the left.

Conclusion

In short, we have learned that penalties from iron shots in the hazard or drives out of bounds are absolutely devastating to Mr. 85’s rounds. The value of the short game, while still a good opportunity for improvement, pales in comparison with the simple changes one can make in the target line. Follow these directions correctly and you will accomplish your goal of being slightly less terrible at golf.

Advertisements

The U.S. Open returns to historic Oakmont Country Club this week for the 9th time.  This week will be about the course as much as it is the high scores the field will post.  As opposed to last year’s contest at Chambers Bay, this week is a return to true U.S. Open style golf with billiard table quick greens and fairways you have to walk down single file.  Will Oakmont play tough?  Take a look at Justin Thomas’s recent video post on Instagram:

Rough short of 17 green… Yeah, I'd say Oakmont is ready 😳 @usopengolf

A post shared by Justin Thomas (@justinthomas34) on

If that’s not enough punishment, here are the greens just in case you happen to hit them:

Yes this will be a challenge! 😅#usopen #oakmont

A post shared by Max Kieffer (@maxkieffer) on

Let the punishment begin!

Top 10
1 Dustin Johnson -4
T2 Jim Furyk -1
T2 Scott Piercy -1
T2 Shane Lowry -1
T5 Sergio Garcia E
T5 Branden Grace E
7 Kevin Na +1
T8 Jason Dufner +2
T8 Zach Johnson +2
T8 Jason Day +2
T8 Daniel Summerhays +2
12 David Lingmerth +3

LG:
Winner: Jason Day Dustin Johnson; Jason Day finished T8 at +2
Winning Score: +5 -4
Runner Up: Dustin Johnson winner
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Colt Knost I don’t think he was even in the field, LG.
Last Year’s Winner (Speith) will…: Top 10 T37 at +9
How many prior US Open winners will be in the Top 10: 3 1, Jim Furyk
Masters Champion (Willett) will …: Miss Cut T37 at +9
British Open Champion (Z. Johnson) will …: Miss Cut Top 10, T8 at +2
PGA Champion (Day) will…: Win T8 at +2
Last week’s winner, Daniel Berger, will…: Make Cut T37 at +9
Rory will…: Top 10 Strong Twitter game, poor golf game. MC
Phil the thrill will…: Make Cut Phil the go-home-early thrill
Sergio Garcia will…: Make Cut Top 10, T5 at E
Dustin Johnson will…: Top 10 That’s one way to put “win”
Rickie Fowler will…: Miss Cut Correct
Adam Scott will…: Top 10 Close, T18 at +6
Will anyone break par for all 4 rounds?: No. Correct, DJ was closest with a +1 71 in R3. Kevin Na had 3 rounds in the 60s, but started with 75 on Thursday
What will be the highest score that misses the cut?: +30 89/77, which is a cool +26
Odds that JK and LG ever get to play Oakmont?: 2.5:1 yikes
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: The course dominating the field Probably DJ’s penalty….but, shockingly, Oakmont kind of laid down after the rain.
Bold Prediction?: Jason Day has a 4 putt.  WHO FOUR PUTTS?? Not Jason Day

JK:
Winner: Dustin Johnson Correct. JK picks another one
Winning Score: +2 can’t win em all
Runner Up: Bubba Watson T51 at +12
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Daniel Berger T37 at +9
Last Year’s Winner (Speith) will…: T-2 not exactly
How many prior US Open winners will be in the Top 10: 2 Just Furyk.
Masters Champion (Willett) will …: Top 10 nope
British Open Champion (Z. Johnson) will …: MC Top 10
PGA Champion (Day) will…: Top 10 correct
Last week’s winner, Daniel Berger, will…: Top 10 incorrect
Rory will…: Make Cut, probably shoot 62 on the last day, and maybe crack the Top 10 after two 75s.MC
Phil the thrill will…: MC correct
Sergio Garcia will…: Make Cut Top 10
Dustin Johnson will…: Win correct
Rickie Fowler will…: Make Cut incorrect
Adam Scott will…: Can’t Putt / Miss Cut (it’s a haiku) at least i got rhythm
Will anyone break par for all 4 rounds?: not a chance in hell correct
What will be the highest score that misses the cut?: +18 one dude shot +19 for 18 holes!
Odds that JK and LG ever get to play Oakmont?: 1/1 – this WILL happen. more confidence
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: Johnny Miller talking about Johnny Miller wrong network…
Bold Prediction?: Spieth 4-putts….like he did in the British Open AND The Masters…. amazingly, correct