Dumb Golf My Way

Frustrated golfer

If you’ve ever read any golf books to try and improve your game, no doubt you’ve come across Jack Nicklaus’ book, Golf My Way. It’s an essential read for anyone learning the game of golf.

Dumb Golf My Way

Smart vs. Dumb Golf Decisions

In his book, he talks about making “smart” decisions on the golf course. Needless to say, he’s made his fair share of good decisions in his golf game, having won more Major Championship tournaments than anyone else in the history of the game.

Usually, a smart decision on the golf course means playing a conservative, high-probability shot. Dumb decisions are often caused by being overly aggressive when you need to be conservative, resulting in wasted strokes, lost balls, and rising blood pressure. If you’ve ever swung a golf club, I’m sure you’re well acquainted with the feeling.

Inspiration for “Dumb Golf My Way”

Although I play a fairly good game of golf (7 handicap), I make PLENTY of dumb decisions on the course.

I hate being conservative. I’d much rather be aggressive; you know, risk vs. reward. I get a thrill out of making BIG shots. A good example is going for the green in two on a Par 5, over a huge water hazard, bunkers surrounding the green, swinging as hard as I can to try and reach it.

How to Hit a Par-5 in 2

I’m no statistician, but I figure you have approximately a 0.001% chance of making an Eagle if you’re not on the green in two!

Not smart. Dumb.

I’ve often joked about writing a book entitled, “Dumb Golf My Way”; modeled after Jack Nicklaus’ book but inspired by John Daly, one of the most aggressive golfers ever to play the game.

John Daly

Since I don’t know how to write a book, nor would anyone buy it, I guess a blog post is the better option…

Chapter 1: “Drive for Show. Period.”

There are dozens of clichés in the game of golf, many of them offer very sage advice. Arguably the most memorable one… “Drive for Show. Putt for Dough.” It makes sense. Putting is where the most strokes are saved. Great putters shoot low scores, poor putters struggle to break 100, or 90, 80, or even 70. Good putters make more money/dough than poor putters.

For me… it’s MUCH more fun to crush a drive straight down the middle, 280 to 300 yards, landing in the center of the fairway! The problem is that the driver tends to be an inconsistent club compared to the irons in your bag. It’s hard to hit it straight consistently and when you do screw it up, it’s easy to spray the ball far to the left or right and usually in deep trouble or lost. As the saying goes… “There are plenty of long hitters in the woods!”

Imagine this scenario… what would you do? You’re in the lead in the tournament, you’re in the final group, and you’re standing on the 18th tee, a tough par 4. If you score bogey or better, you win. Do you hit an iron or 3-wood off the tee in order to improve the chances that you’ll land in the fairway?

Heck no! “Drive for Show. Period!”

Not smart. Dumb golf my way.

There are plenty of long hitters in the woods!

Chapter 2: “Practice”

The experts say that practice makes perfect. It’s well known that the pros spend several hours per day on the practice range. Amateur spend far less time than that on the range. I guess that’s why they’re pros and the rest of us are amateurs!

So, given the choice between going to the driving range on a beautiful Saturday or going to the course instead and playing a game with your friends… which do you choose?

“I can practice on the course while I’m playing.”

Not smart. Dumb golf my way.

Practice is essential to improving your golf game

Is practice important for improving your game?

Chapter 3: “Effective Preparation for your Round”

What’s the best way to prepare for a round of golf? Well, for starters:

  • Get lots of sleep the night before
  • Pack your bag the night before so that you don’t forget anything
  • Get to the course early so that you’re not rushed or stressed out
  • Warm up by swinging a club, preferably on the course’s driving range
  • Do a full stretching routine to limber up those stiff muscles
  • Eat a light meal prior to the round
  • Bring your own healthy snacks and a water bottle

This is exactly what I do. NOT!

My standard approach is to stay up until 1am the night before, leave my house or office late, drive too fast, and get to the course mere minutes before my tee time, taking my very first swings of the club on the first tee.

Not smart. Dumb golf my way.

Golf practice

Who needs to warm up? Just give ‘er!

Chapter 3: “Psychology”

Golf is obviously a game of skill. However, it’s also a huge mental game. I don’t know the exact stats, but in my estimation, the mental side of the game can range anywhere from 50% to 90% of the game, depending on how skilled you are.

Here are some examples of a strong mental game:

  • Playing it purely shot by shot, rather than trying to shoot a particular score
  • Not getting angry when you miss a shot or two, or more
  • Visualizing the shot and picking a specific target on the fairway or green
  • Laser focus and able to put all distractions out of your mind
  • Playing your own game, rather than worrying about your opponents

Sounds easy, right? Yah, right! I play a strong mental game all the time. I never slam my club into the ground when I hit a terrible shot, I never count up my score on the 15th hole and try to birdie the last 3 holes in order to break 80, and I never worry beating my friends.

Not smart. Dumb golf my way.

Frustrated golfer

Golfer Breaking His Clubs — Image by © Scott Barrow/Corbis

Chapter 4: “Club Selection”

How far do you hit your 7-iron? 150 yards? Maybe so, but I’ll bet you a delicious club sandwich that your club distances are calculated from your BEST shot with your 7-iron, not your worst. The problem is… how often do you hit your best shot when standing over the golf ball? Unless you’re playing golf on TV, it’s a very low % of the time. No wonder you often end up in the pond or bunker in front of the green!

Not smart. Dumb golf my way.

Selecting the right golf club

Selecting the right golf club

A Work in Progress

By now you get the idea. I won’t continue to bore you with all the details…

Chapter 5: “Fairway Mulligans: Yes, they’re Allowed.”

Chapter 6: “How to Maintain Your Composure While Hitting 5 Off the Tee”

Chapter 7: “Removing your ball from the green after 4-putting, without taking a deep divot.”

Chapter 8: “Let the Club Do the Work vs. Swing as Hard as You Can”

Chapter 9: “Proper Etiquette: 10 Easy Ways to Distract Your Opponent”

Not Smart. Dumb golf my way…

Did I miss anything? If you have any well-honed strategies for Dumb Golf, let me know in the Comments!

Wooden Sticks Golf Club #17 - Uxbridge, Ontario

Wooden Sticks Golf Club #17 – Uxbridge, Ontario


  1. Consider a mandatory beer restock at the turm. 18 beer minimum for some!


  2. Jay Parker March 3 at 8:24 am

    Hahaha, love it! How about a chapter on “Polite Induements to Elicit a Gimme”.


    1. Ha, right! I was trying to keep that strategy a secret… 🙂


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