How can I stop losing?

Dear Molly: My buddy always beats me on the golf course, and lately he’s been suggesting bigger wagers! I’m sick of it, and so is my wallet. What do I do?

If he always beats you, then I suspect he is not giving you enough strokes. I further suspect that he is not giving you any strokes! So, first of all, make sure you both have indexes and are using the GHIN app on your phones to convert your indexes to your handicap at whatever tees you are playing on the course of the day. See The Wonders of the GHIN App for help on that. If your indexes accurately represent your games, you should occasionally win, he should occasionally win, and the two of you should occasionally tie.

If that’s not happening, here are some other ideas:

  1. Play from the tees that match your game. Your GHIN app will make adjustments if you decide to move up a tee and he doesn’t. Psychologically, you may feel more confident playing a shorter course, even if that means you don’t get as many strokes.
  2. Make sure your buddy is posting his low scores. You can follow him on your app by clicking on the star, and you’ll be able to track his recent scores. Make sure he’s not “forgetting” to input his best rounds, thus keeping his index inaccurately high, a practice called “sandbagging.” In fact, why don’t you both keep your scores on the app, and then just push the button at the end of your round to post them?
  3. Try a different format. If you’re counting total strokes, how about trying match play for a change? Your GHIN app will set that up for you. You could also try a format that’s popular everywhere except the U.S.: Stableford. There are variations, but generally you get a point for a bogey, two points for a par, three points for a birdie, and so on, with the highest score winning. The psychology differs a bit from format to format, but at the end of the day you’ll still be able to post those scores.
  4. Try a completely different game. Can you win your money back playing pinochle? Parcheesi? Backgammon? Go ahead and lose at golf with a smile and then win it back at something else.
  5. You probably don’t want to hear this last thing: Lessons! Videos! Books! The CGA offers Women’s Clinics, Swing Tips, and even Rules videos to use the Rules of Golf to your advantage. Improve your game to improve your chances and maybe your buddy will ask the question we all love to hear when we’ve lost 10 pounds: “Wow, what did you DO?”

Molly McMulligan, created by golf journalist and CGA member Susan Fornoff, is the CGA’s on-the-course advisor on how to have more fun on the golf course. You don’t want to take swing lessons from Molly, but if you’ve got a question about etiquette, relationships or the culture of golf in Colorado, Molly will find the answer. Send your questions along here.


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