Taking it on the road

Would love to understand how to truly take it on the road, figure out a course. What are the ‘must dos’. Or the way to approach it, the principles and the process.

Especially how to figure a track out having never seen it before and without using the internet; playing blind. Played a course Monday after 3 hours drive and dismantled it on the back nine using nothing more than a 5 iron and 220 - 250 total off the tee, with the course running super hard and baked out.

But… didn’t figure it out until the 5th hole. By then my card was lost.

Do I just chalk that off to ‘you scored as well as you could’? I’m 70/30 about accepting that. And the 30% is just wanting to have a ‘be in the present it’s gone’ attitude. I want to learn the lessons before moving on.

There’s an interview somewhere talking about how Moe could/would not shoot at a pin he couldn’t see. That’s a common dilemma when you play a tight track for the first time. I think you could manage that by playing it safe and only putting the ball where you KNOW will be ok from your line of sight. You’ll cost yourself a few extra strokes, but that’s better than striping one OB.

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Well… that is good advice for sure…

Hitting is a much better technique to taking it on the road… much easier to rely upon the body rotation than trying to time a swinger’s release. Too many variables to deal with timing a very active toe moving through the strike.


Been doing ABS swing since 2014. After drilling for 3 years. All I focus on now is post speed acceleration. Infact all my practice swings are never a full swing. I start at impact and speed to the finish with a low left shoulder squaring the face. I do this on the course, and let my trained drills do the work. I know where to apply the speed. Feels like it takes forever for the slot - gravity drop- squat into the back leg. All the momentum is after the ball. I play 3-4 times a year and still shoot 70 golf with no practice but backyard swings of club starting at impact to followthru. My face is very stable, and my hand attitudes and pressures kick in with that one intent. Used my 1964 hogan irons last year and carded a nice 73 walking right to the first tee


Generally speaking… the vintage blades are better golf clubs. Heavier heads, firmer shafts, better feel, better feedback, no offset, flatter lie angles. What’s not to like?

All of those specs I just mentioned are a “technology” that have to do with the physics of hitting a golf ball. It has nothing to do with when they were made, past, present, future… the laws of the physical universe haven’t changed… the ball doesn’t care what decade or century the clubs were created. More mass, better energy transfer, better compression, flatter lie angles hit straighter and move the left vector of possibilities to the right… or closer to the pin. Stiffer shaft resist torquing, and load better and more consistent when hitting and holding shaft flex. No offset means you don’t have to over rotate or throw the right arm at the ball at impact. Flatter lie angles also naturally work the shaft more behind you so you can properly use your pivot to build energy into the golf shaft. More mass means less over acceleration and easier to hold shaft flex.

This all has nothing to do with nostalgia… just common sense really. If this is wrong, then Hogan was wrong…


Hesitant to ever change from my Hogan Apex Edge Pros 4 shaft. They feel flatter and I didnt like them when I was flipping the club down the line. Now they seem right

It can be hard to play a course well the first time out. There can be blind tee shots, hidden bunkers, little creeks or water hazards that you never realized were there.
On tour, the tuesday practice round is when you figure out your strategy for the week. We have the luxury of hitting a few balls off the tee with different clubs to find out what shot best fits the hole. Some holes are obvious, some aren’t.
Funnily enough, some of my best rounds have happened when I’ve played a course blind. I’ve stood up and ripped it down those tight holes with a bit of danger, not realizing it wasn’t the best strategy. Someone else who has played that hole a thousand times may be just trying to guide a 3 iron down there.
If you play a course enough, there will always be a hole or two that will get in your kitchen, a tee shot that just scares you. Then it’s a mental fight to swing free and not put the big guide swing on it. Number 4 at Wolf Creek in Canada comes to mind eh John [lagpressure].
Ultimately, course strategy is just practice, like reading a green. Some do it better than others. You have to know your game, know your limitations. Know what shots are easy for you to hit consistently, keep the risk to a minimum. It’s going to be different for everyone.
Of course the better ball striker you become, the easier course management will be.

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The 4rth tee at Wolf Creek… I agree, the scariest tee shot I have ever seen. I remember a guy hitting a 6 iron off the tee… then laying up short of the green gambling on an up and down from there. Not the worst strategy. I remember guys making 10’s 12 on the hole. No safe place to bail out… just terror. Then the shot into the green with water all around the back and left side… and the creek on the right all the way to the green.

I experimented a lot with that hole. The shoot off the tee was just spine chilling… but it did actually open up slightly if you could get the ball around the corner left. I did try hitting a high 2 wood with a draw to get the ball over in that pocket left. If I hit it perfect I would just have a 7 or 8 iron into the green… major reward. If I hit it dead straight it would go through the fairway into the creek but I would take the 1 shot lateral and probably just make bogey. If I overcooked the draw it would be in the trees and weeds left and not good. Two club lengths or back to the tee… just have to hope you had a lie and a way out sideways with a wedge out of jail.

What I didn’t like was hitting a 4 iron off the tee then having to go into that crazy green with a long iron. Not good.

Bottom line, I still think about that hole from time to time and don’t know how to play it… but pretty memorable… right?

How about that par 3 in Perth Australia at the quarry course? Jundalup or something like that with Kangaroos bouncing around the fairways? If you missed the green to the right you were up ontop of a 100 foot cliff. I remember Brett Officer getting up and down from there…

The PGA Tour today just looks so boring. I loved the diversity of the foreign tours, and just the general life experiences on and off the course. Really precious times.

I suck at golf, lol…

Failed at taking it on the road today. Played a course for the first time in years. I played it probably a hundred times before. However, this was the first time I’d been since they redesigned it. Some holes brand new, and all the others were changed in some way.

I make it about 3 minutes before my tee time and run to the tee and meet a twosome I’m paired with. They are surprised I’m playing the tips… Even more surprised when I pull out a laminate 3 wood! They’re looking at me like I’m insane.
The first hole is what used to be #13. I used to hit driver there or maybe 3 wood. I’m hitting the 3 wood to be safe and absolutely rip it. Drew about 10 yards but looks good. I don’t see it bounce, when the guy I’m playing with says it ran out into the water… Okay, that was not reachable with a vintage 3 wood 8 years ago. Oh well.

I go up and drop. Laser the pin at 260. Some water in play, but looks roomy enough. I decide to hit a 4 wood. I hit it pure again, but blocked a bit right towards a bunker. No, forget the bunker, I airmail that into another hazard. No idea if I lasered a tree or what, but I’m pretty annoyed two shots in. Drop and chip on and 2 putt for a double on an easy par 5… Ugh

So, I get to number 2. A par three and chunk a 6 iron as bad as you can. The ground is wet and it probably went 120 yards. Another double.

Number 3 I hit my drive in some fescue. Blade turns over like mad on the approach and I hit it about 30 yards left. Another double…
Anyway, shoot 46 on the front. Ouch.
Played fine on the back and shot 38, but who cares at that point. 84 total in fair weather on a medium difficulty course. Birdied the last which was nice, but everything else was garbage.
Oh, airmailed number 9 also. I gotta be more careful with that rangefinder.

I sometimes wonder why we do this to ourselves :joy:

Any time your front 9 is significantly higher than back you haven’t warmed up in my opinion. Either physically or mentally, also I don’t see anyone who has four good rounds in a row, most have two ok, one good, one not so good. Remove the top and bottom five per cent of a world class field and I seem to see pros with 4-5 strokes between best and worst. So for a handicap golfer it’s probably 8-10 strokes. Some of us are streakier than others too. In reality you’re probably being typically consistent.

Sure as s*** don’t feel like it though at the time!


This last half of the season I’ve treated the first 9 as the real deal. Thinking about score only. Than the 2nd 9 I think about golf swing and forget what I put on the score card. Even resorted to dropping a ball or two to work on my swing. Seems to have helped me make some real progress. If I have to play all 18 for score I will. But luckily the courses have slowed down so I have the opportunity for that type of scenario

I don’t know that it really fits in here well, but I’d highly recommend searching Scott Fawcett and at least listening to a few of the podcasts he’s done. He does sell a product (app) that is widely used in high level amateur and professional golf and, while I would recommend it, you can still gain a lot just by listening to him (or watching various YouTube videos he’s done).

As much as people want maximum control over their golf shots, the fact of the matter is that you are shooting a shotgun, not a rifle. Every player has a shot pattern and you aim the entire pattern at a target. Yes, you are just hitting one ball, but you don’t know where within that shot pattern your shot is going to finish until you hit it. You have to take all reasonably possible results into account when you pick a target.

Scott’s DECADE program is in depth and math based. It does involve charting courses, looking at layouts in advance, etc. But you could still use the basic principles even if you’ve never seen a course.

Another big part of it is expectation management. Look at Tour averages proximities from various distances and then compare that to a 12 handicap getting made because they hit their wedge to 20 feet from 115. Look at putting stats and see what distance is 50% make rate for the best putters in the world and then evaluate your reaction to missing a 12 foot birdie putt. It’s eye opening and puts the game in perspective.


I have used this and another tool too. Good advice. But I’m also interested in those situations you play a course blind, I see good players being good managers of the game even without prior prep. Trying to understand what principles they use, possibly (probably?) even just ‘feel’. Or is it a general attitude?

Had a great score recently where even just a general focus on management helped, was thinking about grain, strike, lie a lot more for example and I reckon it saved me several shots. Also getting that front nine to be as low as the back nine.


Good players shoot good scores on courses they’ve never seen primarily just because they’re good. They just hit the ball good. They know how far they hit their clubs, they know the distance of the shot they’re trying to hit, and they strike the ball consistently enough that they can predict outcomes fairly well.

But DECADE has some basic principles about where to aim that translate even if you don’t have anything charted out. You just need to know what roughly 60 yards wide looks like off the tee and you can determine if you can fit your driver pattern between penalty hazards. If you can then you need to hit driver as often as you can. And then from the fairway into greens you want to aim 6-10 yards away from whatever side of the green the flag is closest to. You have to learn to disregard the middle of the fairway or the flag and aim your shot pattern at the mathematically correct target and then force yourself to commit and accept the outcome.

Go back through your DECADE stuff, revisit the core principles, and focus on those things. You should have enough information between a GPS app, GPS on a golf cart, and a laser to get good enough information to play reasonably well even if you’ve never seen a course.


I like decade…makes course management easy for younger players that haven’t gained all the experience. Dont love forcing a driver off every tee possible, but i understand how it lowers score if you can keep it in play.

Mark Broadie really shook things up…

It’s a hugely interesting topic with lots of “seems as ifs” and cliches being shattered by evidence and data.

I wouldn’t explain it as “forcing driver off every tee possible”. I would just say that there are certain parameters where it’s mathematically beneficial to hit driver and if those parameters are present you should hit driver unless there is some unique outlier thing going on.

Sort of…i mean, 50 yards in the rough is no different than 100 in the fairway. Its all about trade offs. I agree, its just odds…still gotta get it in the hole. Thats where i love ABS, i “play” golf now. Its more intuitive. More dynamic. I know my game travels…ive tested it. My head is a different story, :man_facepalming:

The best system is your own system i guess.

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What i do like about decade is the mental checklists…

  1. Situational Awareness
  2. Pick a shot, visualize and all that stuff
  3. Commit

No rocket science, but i think Situational Awareness and spatial Awareness are key to playing well. I do this better using a hitters protocol. Using a swingers protocol, i couldnt always connect to my environment.

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I’d say a couple things: Yes, 50 in the rough is the same as 100 in the fairway. 125 in the rough is the same as 175 in the fairway. But again, it’s not just about comparing those two things because you’re not going to hit every drive in the rough and you’re not going to hit every layup in the fairway. It’s about the entire probability of the shot pattern, not just one specific shot. You’re really playing against the entire stroke average of the entire field. Driver into the rough to 125 may lose you .3 shots to the field, but driver into the fairway may gain you .6 shots against the field. So if you go 50% in a 4 round tournament you’ve gained .6 shots on that tee shot.

The biggest thing for me was just accepting that nobody hits it as good as they think the do or should. Shot patterns are just kind of large. Helps me swing more freely, let it go athletically, and move on and accept the results.

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