Jun 18, 2024

[Part 1] Taking on Course Management to Break 80 this Summer with Scott Fawcett of Decade Golf

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In Episode 137 of T-Time with Tori, host Tori Totlis sits down with Scott Fawcett, founder of The Decade Golf Course Management System. Together, they delve into how golfers can harness course management skills to break 80 consistently this summer. Scott’s insights into the mental and strategic facets of the game reveal how his system simplifies the inherently complex sport of golf.

Golf as a Cerebral Strategy Game

Scott sees golf as more than just a physical endeavor. He likens it to chess, emphasizing the need for strategic thinking and calculated decisions.

The Importance of Course Management

Tori notes a consistent trend: the same players often dominate golf events, whether gross or net. She wonders if this is due to their dedication to practice or a mental edge on the course.

Scott attributes it to both. At the club level, there's a broad range of abilities. However, as competition intensifies, the gap narrows, making the mental game crucial.

Understanding Strokes Gained

Scott introduces the concept of strokes gained, developed by Mark Brody, a professor at Columbia University. Strokes gained measures how many strokes a player gains or loses relative to the field average from a specific position on the course.

For instance, on the PGA Tour, players average 1.5 putts to hole out from 8 feet. Making an 8-foot putt gains 0.5 shots; two-putting loses 0.5 shots.

"Everything with putting is just so hard. For example, considering an 18-foot putt on the PGA tour, which has a make rate of 20%, is not the greatest look I've ever heard of in the history of golf." — Scott Fawcett

The Importance of Putting

Scott and Tori dive into the frustration associated with putting. Players who struggle with putting often feel more frustration than those who struggle off the tee.

Scott explains that putting is difficult due to low make rates, even for top players. He stresses the significance of speed control and lag putting from 20-40 feet.

The Tiger Five

Scott introduces the "Tiger Five," five key stats Tiger Woods tracked during his prime:

  1. Bogeys on par fives
  2. Doubles
  3. Three putts
  4. Bogey with 9-iron or less (bogey inside 150 yards for men, 120-130 yards for women)
  5. Blown easy saves (subjective to the player's opinion)

Tracking these stats helps players identify where they're losing strokes and focus on minimizing these mistakes.

Managing Expectations

Scott emphasizes the importance of managing expectations and thinking in fractions of shots rather than birdies, pars, bogeys, and doubles. For a player averaging in the low 80s, a bogey costs 0.2 shots relative to their expectation, while a double bogey costs 1.2 shots.

"Making a double is not just twice as bad as making a bogey. Actually, a double bogey lost me 1.2 against my expectation versus 0.2 for a bogey. Not compounding mistakes is crucial." — Scott Fawcett

Staying Present

Scott discusses the necessity of staying present, focusing on the next shot, and not dwelling on past mistakes or future challenges. Staying present means focusing solely on the task at hand.

The Mental Scorecard

Scott introduces the mental scorecard, a stat tracked by elite players to measure mental performance on each shot. It measures:

  1. Did the player have a clear picture of the shot shape, carry number, and directional target?
  2. When hitting the shot, were they fully present and committed?

Tracking the mental scorecard helps players identify when they're not fully committed or focused, impacting their strokes gained.

"When we run this across all users in the Decade app, the worse your mental scorecard, the higher the problem. For PGA tour players, it's about a quarter to a third of a shot. The goal is to get that to 95%." — Scott Fawcett

Key Takeaways

  • Golf is a cerebral strategy game: Strategic thinking and calculated decisions are crucial.
  • Course management: Critical for improving scores, especially as competition intensifies.
  • Understanding strokes gained: Helps players manage expectations and focus on improvement areas.
  • Putting: Focus on speed control and lag putting from 20-40 feet rather than making more birdies.
  • The Tiger Five: Tracking these stats helps identify where strokes are lost and minimize mistakes.
  • Managing expectations: Think in fractions of shots to avoid compounding mistakes.
  • Staying present: Focus on the next shot, avoiding negative thoughts and emotions.
  • Mental scorecard: Helps identify when not fully committed or focused, impacting strokes gained.

By focusing on these areas and implementing Scott's strategies, golfers can enhance their course management skills and break 80 consistently this summer. Stay tuned for Part 2, where Scott and Tori delve deeper into the mental game and maintaining focus on the course.

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