The Golf Screw-Up Quotient

By Charles Prokop

Copyright © Charles Prokop. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

“Manage the screw-up quotient. That’s what life is. Deft management of the screw-up quotient.” (From Edisto Revisited by Padgett Powell)

The Golf Screw-Up Quotient 1
Flickr image via dalechumbley

LATELY I HAVEN’T BEEN MANAGING the screw-ups very well. I keep turning mid to upper 70’s rounds into low to mid 80’s rounds by having just enough bad holes to wreck my score. I can look back at each round and say, “Here, here, and here are exactly where I messed up.”

My home course is pretty intolerant of screw-ups. It’s possible to (and I have) hit it out of bounds off of every tee. Most of the fairways are relatively narrow and this is the windy time of the year. The lies are tight due to the long drought we’ve experienced and it’s easy to find yourself dealing with tree trouble even if you haven’t hit it far off line. But you can manage your way around the course if you pay attention and don’t compound your errors.

When I’m scoring well I avoid doubles by giving some thought to my tee shots and playing recovery shots for what they area chance to manage the screw-up quotient. When I’m not scoring well I just bang away off the tee and then whack away at improbable miracle recovery shots. After a few of these management errors I flail harder to try to make up for it and there goes the round.

I know things are slowly getting better because I can spot the individual shots that wrecked my score. When I’m playing poorly I just have a generalized sense of bad golf, not specific recollections of bad shots. If I could just manage the screw-up quotient a little better, I’d have a chance to erase most of those doubles.

It also wouldn’t hurt if it would rain a little (at night, of course) and the wind would lie down.

Charles Prokop is a clinical psychologist who writes about golf at fairwaywords.

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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