Ask Emma: How to handle dishonest scorekeeping

Tips

PGA professional Emma Booth answers your burning questions, including how to commit to your follow through and why you just aren't getting any better

Why does she lie?

Question: My friend is dishonest when it comes to scorekeeping and she sometimes knocks shots off her scores. It really annoys me! Should I say something? Cheryl, Newcastle

Answer: Yes, you should say something but how and when will require real tact. If you can, ask her in private if she realises that she sometimes miscounts her score. She may be completely oblivious to the fact that she’s doing it and grateful that you’ve made her aware of it. But if she acts defensive and says that she doesn’t, apologise (even though you’ve done nothing wrong) and say it’s just something that you’ve noticed once or twice but that you know she would never do it deliberately. Even though she might be. The fact that you have brought it up with her will hopefully make her realise that it’s been noticed and that her magic pencil days are over!

Why am I not getting any better?

Question: I’m thinking of giving up golf because I just can’t take the embarrassment of playing so badly all the time. I’ve been playing for about 18 months now and I’m just fed up of not improving. Why can everyone else around me can do it but I can’t? Christine, Birmingham

Answer: First of all, you need to think about the game that you are trying to play. Golf is hard, there’s no avoiding that. You’ve only been playing for 18 months, which isn’t long at all. I can give you a little bit of good news though; it is not your golfing ability that is making you unhappy, but your expectations of how you think you should be playing. Ask yourself if you’re being realistic. Have you had a good amount of lessons, followed the advice of the pro, practised each area of the game, and reviewed your score and shots after every round? If you answer no to any of these then you need to address that first before huffing and puffing about not being able to do it. Improvement comes down to cause and effect – are you doing enough to cause improvement in your game? And if not, are you prepared to start putting the effort in? If not, then you need to accept that you will hit bad shots more often than you like, but no more than you deserve.

Why can’t I follow through?

Question: My practice swing is always flowing and confident but as soon as I go to actually hit a ball it feels stabby and has no follow through. What can I do to make my real swing as good as my practice one? Brenda, Cardiff

Answer: This is more of a psychological issue than a technical one and it’s a problem that I regularly see with the ladies I teach.

This is generally because they are either embarrassed to have a big follow through for fear of looking silly, or because they are worried about hitting a bad shot if they really let loose. Here are a couple of points that might help you get over this issue:

  1. Have you ever seen a pro play with a short follow through? No, because they don’t result in good shots. So if the best golfers in the world follow through then you need to too.
  2. You only get one go at each shot so you absolutely have to go for it. Don’t be shy about it and hit it like you mean it.
  3. Practise hitting balls at half your usual speed and hold your finish for three seconds. Once you can do this comfortably speed it up. This is a great way to prove to yourself that you can do it when hitting a ball.

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