Golfing with Better Players
We had a nice weekend on Long Island, so everyone decided to sneak in some golf. My friend and I got matched with 2 other people, who were significantly better than we are. So, how did it affect my game? We were playing at Manorville, NY’s Swan Lake, a quick 9 holes.
I haven’t played or hit a ball in over a month, so it showed the first few holes. While it was crowded, it moved along at a decent pace, about 2 hours for 9 holes. The 1st hole was more for stretching out a bit, trying to get in my groove. My long game was mostly worthless. My short game was spot on. I putt mostly well, considering the greens were wet and slow. We had just had ~18 inches of snow melt, so I’m not going to complain it was wet.
A good thing was these players did not give us advice, just each other. I already knew my swing was off. I thought about putting the driver away, for my 9 iron….. It was one of those days. As far as the question of playing up to them, I did not. I did hit a few good long iron shots, but they were few and far between.
So, I thought about other experiences with better players. Whether I play up to them or not is a mixed bag. There were a few times I played with people playing off the black tees, they were a non event. They drove so far, even playing the whites it took me 2–3 strokes before they hit their 2nd. I’m hitting a 5 iron, they are pulling out a wedge from the same distance, so there is just no comparison in our game.
People playing off the blue tees are a better comparison. Some are good, some are terrible and play the blues just to ‘get their money’s worth’. It is easy for me to play down to the terrible ones, especially if they are slow. I will occasionally play the blues with them, but I generally stick with the whites. My score is generally the same regardless of which tee I play, but it is not good enough to justify me going to the blues.
There are times I will play up to them. It has led to some of my better rounds. I may be a stroke behind them, but bogey golf is my current goal. One thing I noticed with these players, they might help me with aim, but they don’t mess with my swing. I will still have a few bad holes, they let me suffer through it. There are days I will struggle with these players, they are usually pretty understanding about it.
Most of the times, I play worse, the better players are constantly giving advice, ting to change my mechanics. While I appreciate advice when I’m at the range, it kills me on the course. Receiving ‘lessons’ on the course always ends the same for me. I go from slicing, but at least hitting the ball, to not being able to get it off the ground. I know they usually mean well, but they are turning a few hours that should be fun into a 4–5 hour frustrating slog. Trust me, I know I am doing something wrong. You aren’t going to fix it on the 3rd tee box. Needless to say, I do not play up to the better golfers on these days. I have given up after 9 a few times. My favorite part, I have seen some get completely frustrated as I hit the ball 10 feet each shot.
So considering my experiences, ignoring those messing with my swing, what is my consensus? More often than not, I play better. It could be that they are showing me the better landing zones, and I follow them. It could also be that they maintain a good pace and I get in my groove.
By Sebastian Wyczawski