• Welcome To ShotTalk.com!

    We are one of the oldest and largest Golf forums on the internet with golfers from around the world sharing tips, photos and planning golf outings.

    Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon!

Match play = Better scores

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
I normally shoot 90-100 when playing Stroke play.

I played four rounds last weekend, all match play, and I think 90% of my hole scores were pars and bogeys. I picked up on about five holes all weekend; holes that would been doubles or worse. I really feel that on each of the match play rounds I would have scored in the 80's, maybe the low 80's in one round.

It is better focus?

It is a mental freedom that comes from not worrying about my total score?

Is it just perception, i.e. would my scores have really been in the 90's?

How do I quantify this? And if I do play better when playing match play, how do I translate that performance into my stroke play game?
 

Sandpiper3

Golf Course Designer
Aug 9, 2006
5,058
2
I think it really has a lot to do with not thinking about your score at all, and just the other person and the course instead of that number in the back of your head.

Agreed, I usually play a lot better in match play also, its usually when i mess with my own head or think about score on the side when i mess it up.
 

Irish

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2007
688
0
how many putts were conceded? I always conceed anything inside 2 ft...I'll also conceed someone a 10ft bogey putt if I'm inside him and putting for birdie...once i have a two shot cushon...

probably something to do with the competitive nature and also feeling like you're in with a chance to win a hole...in stroke play if you start bad you're probably out of the comp
 

SilverUberXeno

El Tigre Blanco
Jul 26, 2005
4,620
26
You played more effective golf because you didn't care what you got on the last hole. You played 18 matches, instead of 1.
 

goatster

SUPER SOAKER
Feb 20, 2005
2,360
2
i think alot of it is just what everybody has said.your not focusing on a #.your just focusing on the one hole.

some of my better rounds have come when i was on the course with someone new to the game and trying to help them out,because i wasnt thinking about my score.

another example was 2 yrs ago i was in a survivor tourny in bowling.you had to atleast spare to move to the next frame.i went 28 frames without an open.about 85-90% were strikes because i wasn`t worried about striking just hitting the head pin so i would have manageable spares.

golf for me anyways is the same if i can play without thinking about how i am playing i shoot better.although most the time my grain gets in the way.
 

sandwedge

Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2006
790
0
I believe it has everything to do with playing one shot and one hole at a time. Each hole is a new beginning and whatever you did on the last hole doesn't matter. You put your bad shots and holes behind you and focused on the only one that counts which is the next shot.

This is really something that I have been working on lately. I have always gone out and had the same goal every round, to beat my previous best score. After a few bad shots and a blowup hole it would screw my whole round up. Now I am learning to forget about the past and future and only concentrate on the present shot. Scores are getting a little better and I am hitting better shots now because of it.
 

SilverUberXeno

El Tigre Blanco
Jul 26, 2005
4,620
26
Indeed, Sandwedge... We all talk about the mental game, about forgetting bad shots... But I think we all leave out a particular component of that.

We must actually have the ability to hit good shots. False confidence is as destructive as no confidence. If you can hit great drives, it's not so bad to lose one right or left. You still know you can recover. But if you hit several bad shots in a row, you start to question your own aptitude to actually play a good round of golf.

Match Play is a lot more forgiving. You can shoot a 19 on the first hole and still be even after 2. Match Play is a clean slate every hole, so it feels like a new beginning. In Stroke play, it's one long series of the same "match". Your mistakes get to you, because you know every single one counts.

So before the mental game, I think it IS necessary to have a physical game. Then need to use the former to influence the latter when necessary. And of course, play within your means. If you're not sure if you can hit a 30 yard draw over the treeline, stroke play is not a good time to test it.
 
OP
Eracer

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #8
So how does one "forget about the score"? How does one focus on each shot when each shot adds up in stroke play? As you say, in match play each hole is in essence a new game. How does one carry that feeling over to stroke play? Would it be helpful to set a stroke limit that forces one to score better? If one quit after bogey on each hole, then the worst score one could have would be 90. Could one train their mind to target 90? Or rather, to target bogey?

Should I quit keeping score altogether, and just hit shots? Is that possible?

I'm really curious about this. I believe that a sports psychologist might understand why the mind plays differently depending on the format. You guys seem to have some understanding of this as well. I need to figure out to integrate these observations into my game.
 

Sandy

Well-Known Member
Aug 29, 2006
907
0
Should I quit keeping score altogether, and just hit shots? Is that possible?

Yes, you absolutely can!

When I was getting frustrated last year shooting in the low 100s but never quite breaking the 100 barrier I played 4 or 5 rounds where I didn't keep score once. It felt totally different to rounds where I'd kept score for the first few holes then given up if I was having a bad day, as in this case I didn't attempt to keep a score either mentally or on the card, and just used the scorecard for distances and the diagrams of the holes.

I went out and just concentrated on making the shots I needed to for taking on that particular hole, and not caring how it fitted in to my overall score.

After about a month I decided to play a round keeping score again, and instantly came in with a 98! Then I finished the year off without ever scoring above 100 again. I strongly believe that month of just playing the course and getting those shots and that mentality into my head, while not caring about the score, getting ahead of myself with how many shots I had left to break certain barriers, things like that, was the prime reason for my improvement.

Especially now winter is coming, it's a perfect time to drop the scorecard and get some *real* practice in. I know I don't intend to keep score for any of the rounds I play from now until the Spring comes back around.
 
OP
Eracer

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #10
Yes, you absolutely can!

When I was getting frustrated last year shooting in the low 100s but never quite breaking the 100 barrier I played 4 or 5 rounds where I didn't keep score once. It felt totally different to rounds where I'd kept score for the first few holes then given up if I was having a bad day, as in this case I didn't attempt to keep a score either mentally or on the card, and just used the scorecard for distances and the diagrams of the holes.

I went out and just concentrated on making the shots I needed to for taking on that particular hole, and not caring how it fitted in to my overall score.

After about a month I decided to play a round keeping score again, and instantly came in with a 98! Then I finished the year off without ever scoring above 100 again. I strongly believe that month of just playing the course and getting those shots and that mentality into my head, while not caring about the score, getting ahead of myself with how many shots I had left to break certain barriers, things like that, was the prime reason for my improvement.

Especially now winter is coming, it's a perfect time to drop the scorecard and get some *real* practice in. I know I don't intend to keep score for any of the rounds I play from now until the Spring comes back around.

Interesting. Thanks Sandy.
 

sandwedge

Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2006
790
0
So how does one "forget about the score"? How does one focus on each shot when each shot adds up in stroke play? As you say, in match play each hole is in essence a new game. How does one carry that feeling over to stroke play? Would it be helpful to set a stroke limit that forces one to score better? If one quit after bogey on each hole, then the worst score one could have would be 90. Could one train their mind to target 90? Or rather, to target bogey?

Should I quit keeping score altogether, and just hit shots? Is that possible?

I'm really curious about this. I believe that a sports psychologist might understand why the mind plays differently depending on the format. You guys seem to have some understanding of this as well. I need to figure out to integrate these observations into my game.


If you are like me it is difficult to forget the score but possible. I have been reading a bunch on golf psychology lately and it has helped. Two books that I have just read are 'Every shot must have a purpose" and "Zen Golf". I am learning how to put past shots behind me and not think about future shots. I have always had 2 or 3 blowup holes a round that just kill my score. The reason is because I hit one bad shot and then get pissed, hurry up and hit another bad shot. The only shot that ever counts is the one that you are about to hit.

The last year or so I have kept a little stat book on the course and wrote down the score, club I used, GIR, fairways hit, putts, penalties, etc. I found that I was focusing too much on this and not playing the game. The last few rounds I have had someone else drive the cart and keep score. I don't want to know what my score is until I am done with my round. This helps me quit worrying about what I am shooting and allows me to focus on just hitting good shots.
 
OP
Eracer

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #12
If you are like me it is difficult to forget the score but possible. I have been reading a bunch on golf psychology lately and it has helped. Two books that I have just read are 'Every shot must have a purpose" and "Zen Golf". I am learning how to put past shots behind me and not think about future shots. I have always had 2 or 3 blowup holes a round that just kill my score. The reason is because I hit one bad shot and then get pissed, hurry up and hit another bad shot. The only shot that ever counts is the one that you are about to hit.

The last year or so I have kept a little stat book on the course and wrote down the score, club I used, GIR, fairways hit, putts, penalties, etc. I found that I was focusing too much on this and not playing the game. The last few rounds I have had someone else drive the cart and keep score. I don't want to know what my score is until I am done with my round. This helps me quit worrying about what I am shooting and allows me to focus on just hitting good shots.

I bought that stat book based on your recommendation a while ago (at least I think it was you...
icon6.gif
) I've been using it, and so far I find it useful, but distracting. Not sure it's telling me anything I don't already know, i.e. my chipping sucks...

But yeah, I know what you mean about the blowups, particularly around the green. I get in a hurry and that's doom.

Speaking of which, my match play opponent last week told me "we need to hurry up, there's a group behind us". No problem, except he did it in the middle of my routine. If he wasn't a good friend I would have been pissed. As it was I told him to never do that again, or I'd kill him.:laugh:
 

Pa Jayhawk

Well-Known Member
Nov 15, 2005
7,101
4
I would chalk it up to the mental aspect. Whether you want to call it focus, preparedness or ZEN. When you play matchplay you have to keep your head in the game the entire match, every hole whether you are playing bad or not. In stroke play I know when a round has gone south and I start to lose focus and in many cases take shots I would not otherwise take. Practice in a sense. In match play I stay in every stroke and have even won a match in a tie breaker when I was giving the guy a stroke and took a 10 on the hole. He had 12. All 10 of the shot counted. On the flip side, if I take a 10 on a hole and my opponent takes a par, it makes no difference going into the next hole. We are still tied on the next hole when we tee off, unless of course one is giving strokes.

I do better in match play as well. It is not because I pick up either. In the leagues we play we still finish the hole as the matches are handicapped, but with the ESC. So we play to at least the ESC value if we are out of the hole so as not to short ourselves or our team the next week.
 
OP
Eracer

Eracer

No more triple bogies!!
Oct 31, 2005
12,405
8
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #14
In the leagues we play we still finish the hole as the matches are handicapped, but with the ESC. So we play to the ESC value so as not to short ourselves or our team

I've been wondering how to play match play and still keep up a handicap index. Thanks. Problem with my group is that I'm the only one that keeps one. When the hole's over we move on.

Guess I'll just have to have an artificially high index...:laugh:

{oops - did I just say that?}
 

sandwedge

Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2006
790
0
I bought that stat book based on your recommendation a while ago (at least I think it was you...
icon6.gif
) I've been using it, and so far I find it useful, but distracting. Not sure it's telling me anything I don't already know, i.e. my chipping sucks...


That was me. I stopped using it the last 5 or 6 rounds. I like the idea but looking back I think I was getting too distracted with it.
 

Most reactions

Latest posts

Top