Want To Be More Consistent? Make Your Bad Shots Better.

Want To Be More Consistent? Make Your Bad Shots Better.

Accepting the 'OK'

The key to consistent golf is making your worse shots better and ensuring you and your coach are working on the right things – here PG’s Jack Symons examines why it’s OK to accept ‘OK’…


Having taught, played with, and fitted thousands of golfers, the most common goal of the weekend player is to be more consistent.  Golfers don’t produce what they know they are capable of as often as they want, and it frustrates them.

However, for most amateurs, bad shots are far more likely than good shots.

Take a 175 yard, typical par 3 for example.  An average 12-16 handicap golfer is either going to hit the green and be pleased, or miss the green and be disappointed.  That 14 handicapper is going to miss the middle of the club 75% of the time. So in 5 shots, 4 will be miss-hit.  One will be well struck and find the green, one may sneak its way onto the surface, but at least 3 out of 5 shots will miss the green and result in disappointment.

Where is the logic in this?  You get out of bed, brace the elements, and end up disappointed more often than not.

As golfers improve, the level of frustration diminishes.  If a scratch player were on the same par three, it is very likely that they would hit a shot they would regard as mediocre, the ball may not fly exactly as they had hoped, but it will end up in a position where par is highly likely, and they will leave the tee feeling “ok”, where a higher handicapper rarely does.  This is why, in the bar afterwards, you may hear a high handicap say they played “rubbish”, but more likely to hear a good golfer say they played “ok”.

So by wanting to be more consistent, what golfers actually want is to make their bad shots far better, which, in short, means becoming a much better player.

So how is this achieved?  If you are serious about playing better golf, you have to make sure your equipment isn’t holding you back.  You have to know how far you hit the ball, and you have to improve your swing.  Taking some advice from a high handicap about turning more or lifting your head has, I promise, never helped anyone become a better golfer.  You need to put trust in a coach you believe in and put in some work to improve.

If you improve your swing, you will hit better shots, and your consistency will improve.  If you are having lessons and you are not improving, either your coach is not teaching you anything that will improve your swing, or you are not taking to it.  Either way effective communication between you and your pro is required.

It could also be likely that there is characteristic within your equipment, such as shaft weight, that despite the amount of lessons you have will always handicap you.

One last thing – on the whole, amateurs put too much of an emphasis of importance on short game.  It may help save a couple of strokes, but it wont allow you to play consistently.  If you are hoping to break 80 or play in single figures, you need to be hitting greens on a pretty regular basis – it is the only way you will amass plenty of pars.

So you have two choices, firstly, you accept that you had your expectations too high, accept you will hit lots of bad shots, and instead of punishing yourself, accept them and enjoy the good shots.

Secondly, you embark on a process of improvement.  Work at the right things in a way that you can implement and you will hit more “ok” shots, which, as unsatisfying as it sounds, is the key to the consistent golf you have always wanted to play.