This week I am taking inspiration from the US Open that ended with the winning score being 1 over par.
Most golfers were asking the questions, “Is the course that tough?” “Why is the winning score over par on a short golf course?”
Any golf course can be easy or tough, simply by how the course is set up. Having long rough around the greens, narrow fairways and fast greens is a recipe for tough scoring.
You do not need a long course to make golf tough. One of the main aspects of this US Open course that made scoring difficult was how the greens and surrounds were maintained. The greens have various slopes with subtle
breaks which made approach shots and putting difficult. When a player missed the green, they were penalised. Having thick grass around the greens makes things tough for all. It impacts on the type of chip you can play.
Comments were made on how poorly the field dealt with shots around the green. I do not feel that they played poor shots, it was more about how tough the conditions were, which made the results of the shots look worse than what they appeared.
Having the greens and surrounds playing tough can impact heavily on the scoring. It is fine to hit the fairway, but if you hit the ball in the wrong spot on the fairway, it can make your shot into the green difficult.
Golf is like a game of chess. Strategizing and being patient will win over bold and brash options. You have eighteen holes to play. Think your way around the course. Think about the club selections that will give you the best results.
I noticed that many players were taking fairway woods and hybrids off the tee to position themselves for a good shot into the green. Some players even made sure they strategized by leaving themselves longer shots than normal into the green, rather than bashing driver and hoping to hit wedge into the green.
The US Open this week showed us that the short game will make you score well, or poorly. Your short game can save you from a poor tee shot.
As a player who has played around the world, it is obvious that course designers take the option of making the green surrounds tough to toughen the course, rather than making the tee shot tough. It makes sense, the scoring shots are from around the green. If you make this area tough, it makes scoring tough!
Most people are focusing on hitting the driver longer and making sure their set of clubs are “top heavy” which means that they have lots of power in the bag. Clearly, the US Open showed us that power doesn’t always get you the desired score.
Learning how to chip and putt well is an art. Bunker play is just as important. These areas are neglected, but once learnt will make your scoring improve. Don’t read magazines or watch tv on these areas, get a lesson so you can get a personalised approach on what suits you best.