Every single week CTRL sends out a newsletter to our devoted followers. One of the segments in the newsletter is Todd’s Thoughts. My dad, Todd, has a lot of ideas on how golf is played, and I have learned pretty much all of them before this, but every week, I send him a text and ask him for his golf-related thought of the week. Each of these thoughts makes enough sense on its own, but I wanted to take some time to elaborate on what they mean. Let's get into his head and understand why he might say these things.
Don’t ever aim at a Tucked Pin if you aren’t a single-digit handicap.
So what does this mean? While even single digits should not always go for tucked pins, it matters for players that aren’t single digits. If you aren’t a single digit, chances are, you are not super consistent, and your short game isn’t good enough to save you if you mess up. For instance, if you go at a tucked pin and come up short, you will be in some kind of trouble. A single-digit is a good player, an excellent player, and they understand their game enough to go for these pins. As a double-digit handicapper, you are far better off aiming at the middle of the green, and two-putting for your par, instead of hitting it into a bunker, then trying to get up and down out of the bunker instead. So if you are a ten or above handicap, do not go for a tucked pin!!!!
Most Golf Bets are won on the first tee
This one says it all when you get to the first tee and you want to bet with your buddies, the key to winning comes down to the negotiation of how many strokes are given. If you plan to win, you need to know how many strokes you can give up or how many you need to get to win. For example, I was about to play wolf with a group of good golfers friends. All of them scratch or better. Well, I’m a scratch golfer as well; when we get to the tee, we start talking about the game; one of them goes, Nick, we will give you three strokes aside, I said yeah, let's do it! They ended up pretty upset after the round, but they didn’t ask about my handicap, how I was playing, nothing; they assumed they were that much better than me and they were going to kick my ass, so they offered me three strokes a side when I can play with them pretty close to straight up. So I took advantage of it big time!
The fastest way for a high handicap/beginner to improve is to learn how to hit driver consistently 230+ in the fairway
One of the biggest killers for beginners or high handicap players is their drivers. You tee it up, hit it into the shit, and then retee, you are automatically hitting three from the tee box: two strokes gone forever, Aaron Hernandez. So the first thing you need to do is learn how to get off the tee to get better. Having no penalty strokes significantly improves your chances of breaking 100, 90, 80, and even 70. So this is something you need to do as a low handicap player.
If you are going to lay up, LAY UP
So this one was told to me every round of my early golf “career”. My dad is an absolute stickler on this one. It makes sense, and there isn’t much to say to elaborate, but here goes. When you are out on the course and come to the decision to lay up, you need to lay up with a purpose. You need to pick the distance you want to be from the pin, where in the fairway you want to be, and imagine a flag on that spot you are trying to hit your flag. Laying up is a part of golf; even the best players do it, but you need to do it by hitting your next shot close to your chosen target. Once you have decided to lay up, pick how far, and LAY UP. Do not try to get too close to a hazard; if you are going to flirt with the hazard on that shot, you may as well just go for it. If you are going to lay up, give yourself a chance to hit the green on the next shot so you don’t have to lay up again. If you are going to lay up, lay up.
Never try to hit a shot you don’t practice in a round that has any meaning.
Here's another pretty self-explanatory one, do not go out into a round that means something to you, and try to hit a shot you do not practice. If you don’t know exactly how the shot will react off the face, do not hit it when the round means something. Now the only way to find out how some of these shots work is to hit them while on the course, but not if you are going for a personal best, playing for money, or a tournament. Practice a variety of shots you find on the course, but if you don’t practice hitting a fade off the tee, and a hole demands fade if you are hitting driver, then drop down to a club you can hit your normal shot shape, DO NOT TRY TO FORCE THE FADE! If you do, bad things happen, and the round won’t mean much to you for long.
If you are a good player, play fast; if you are a bad player, play faster.
Waiting to hit my next shot is the worst. Waiting on every shot, every round is even worse. So here is the rub, play fast; no matter how good you are, you need to play fast, but if you are a bad player, you need to play even faster. Look, I hate to be this guy, but I have a great home life; I enjoy spending time away from the course, just like I do being at the course, but rounds should never take 4 hours if you look in front of you, and can’t see the group in front of you play faster. You are holding up the rest of the course. None of us are good enough that an extra minute thinking about the shot will ever help us, nor does it matter that much. You aren’t playing in the US Open; you don’t need to take your time on a shot. I’m a pretty good player; I take a look at my shot, I take a couple of practice swings, and the second it is my turn, I am over the ball taking my swing. If I am that way, you should be too. Just play ready heads-up golf, know your turn is coming and hit the shot if you are a good player. If you are a bad player waiting to hit your ball because the wind is gusting, do you think that will help? But this advice isn’t just for the people behind you but for those who play with you. If you are a bad player, help your case by playing fast. I play with a guy all the time that sucks, he hits a bad shot, and before you look back down, he is taking his mulligan swing; if a ball is lost, he just moves on, drops one, and plays. He plays fast even though he can’t break 110 on a good day. But if you suck and take your time, and even worse, mope after a bad shot, you just aren’t that good; you don’t get to mope! It will make everyone else's round so much better, and they will want to play with you more!
If someone offers you $200 Million to change where you play golf, you take it.
This one could catch some slack and piss people off, but I wholeheartedly agree. This is, of course, talking about Phil Mickelson leaving the tour to play on the LIV golf tour, and people are angry about it. But if you tell me you would never take the money, and you would never do that, bullshit. It's just bullshit; if you wouldn’t stop thinking about taking the money, you are full of it. It's easy to grandstand and virtue signal when there is no hope of you ever getting offered that kind of money. But hey, if you want to stick to it, I guess you are just a better person, is that what you wanted to hear? But, if I were offered a spot in the tournament, I would play and take my $120k for last place. I will choose to put my family in a better position financially, and I will wipe my tears on the $100 bills as people criticize me. People criticized Phil for playing on tour for the last couple of years and taking up a spot a younger player could have taken. Now that he has moved on, you all hate him for his decision? He took the money, get over it.
If your dad is an avid golfer, don’t get him a golf gift unless you know what you are doing.
As an avid golfer, most golf gifts I get are relatively useless, and I never use them. I use a specific type of ball, and when most people get a golf gift, it is a cheap gag gift that a player will never use. A glove that won’t fit, or a crappy towel. In this case, if your dad is an avid golfer, and you don’t know anything about golf, get him something else or let him choose his golf gift; there is no reason to waste money on a gift they will never use because you get them a dozen noodle golf balls. But, if you are reading this blog, I am guessing that you 100% understand what I am talking about here.
These have been Todd’s thoughts explained to you! Thank you for reading this far down!