Very often when I am at a golf club I overhear golfers grumbling about their rounds. Their errant drives or three-putts overshadow all other conversation. The truth is that even the world's greatest golfers play very few rounds to their expectations. Tiger Woods says, "I probably hit a maximum of two good shot in a round".
I believe that every golfer should enjoy his round regardless of the score. The best way to do that is to be focused on what you want to achieve. Before you go out onto the course, figure out what you expect from a round. Do you just want to post a good score or crunch a drive 300 yards? Does finding every fairway off the tee make you happy or would you rather play for that perfect swing?
Be realistic-if you're going for a good score than at some holes you may just have to lay up and not go for the green. I remember the legendary Ben Hogan's famous quote about playing the 11th hole at Augusta (which is flanked on the left side by water). So rigid was his plan of making a chip and putt from the right side of the green that he said, "If you find me on the green, it only means that I have missed my shot."
Determine what gives you more pleasure because, believe me, if golf makes you happy at the end of the day, you are bound to improve. If belting the ball is your game, just go ahead and enjoy yourself. If you want to cut corners with your driver, be prepared to risk the shot going out of bounds.
Length has its risks and rewards and while a reward will make you smile, the risk should not sadden you. You have to learn the importance of accepting a result. If scoring is important, you must put strategies and routines into play. When club selection becomes important, you have to play to your strength and at various times sacrifice distance in favour of accuracy.
I would suggest that you experiment. Go to the course one day and give it your best. Use the most dangerous routes for reaching the green. Don't worry about the score. Keep recalling the few shots that actually turned out as per your plans. On another day, go with the intention of reducing your strokes. Play conservatively. Then analyse both your days to see what gave you more happiness. Once you know that, you will find ways of improving your game.
Remember, the most important thing on the golf course is to enjoy the course's lush green fairways and ambience.
Deepak Acharya is a golf instructor and Golf Director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. email@example.com