Golf tips to avoid compounding errors

Golfer annoyed at compounding an error

This golf tips article from Shot Scope uses data from their database of over 180 million shots to identify common mistakes and areas of improvement for handicap golfers.

Avoiding compounding errors – how to reduce your scores

Avoiding big numbers on the card is an easy way to help reduce your scores. We would class anything from a double bogey upwards as a big number.

To analyse this we have taken the average number of birdies and double bogeys (or worse) per round for five different handicap categories.

Looking at the table it is clear to see that between 8 and 26 handicaps there is minimal difference between the number of birdies per round. However, when you look at the average number of double bogeys, the 26 handicap golfer makes five more a round than a 2 handicap golfer.

This is where the difference lies between those top end handicaps and mid-range handicaps.

Shot Scope statistics bogeys doubles

It is clear that the fastest way to improve and reduce your handicap is not to make more birdies but to reduce the number of double bogeys in a round.

One way to do this is change the strategy with approach shots.

A tough pin tucked behind a bunker is a no go, unless a perfect golf shot is executed, which is highly unlikely for a handicap golfer.

Yet time after time, golfers find themselves being sucked in to going for the flag, which brings bogey, double or even worse into play.

A simple way to reduce these scorecard demons is to play for the middle of the green. Hitting the ball here will reduce the likelihood of going in the bunker short and making bogey or worse.

If you hit to the middle of the green you will always have a putt to the flag rather than a difficult short game shot, plus, you will never be too far away from the flag if you’re in the middle of the green.

Avoiding compounding errors – being aggressive or conservative

Being aggressive has its pros and cons, you need to be skilful enough to pull off the aggressive shots, otherwise it will cost you even more shots. Everyone would love to pull of these miracle escape shots but the chances of you successfully pulling off the 30 yard hook round and under a tree are slim.

So if you find yourself in this situation, this is when it is appropriate to lay up further away from the hole. This is an exception to the statistics on laying up as close to the hole as possible.

Take your medicine and make sure you get the ball back in play, to give yourself the best possible chance of hitting the green with your next shot.

Having a longer but clear shot to the green ensures the error is not compounded.

If you were to go for the miracle shot – chances are you end up further in trees or in more bother, what we call compounding the error of the first bad shot. So if you find yourself out of position on the course, do not compound the error by attempting to hit a ‘miracle’ shot.

Put your conservative head on, and figure out the best way to get the ball back into play, leaving yourself an easy shot to the green. This strategy will help reduce the number of scorecard wreckers you have in a round and over time, will help reduce your score too.

Shot Scope diagram about being aggressive or conservative

Avoiding compounding errors – three top tips

Next time you find yourself with a tightly tucked away pin or out of position on the course, consider these three tips to avoid compounding errors:

  1. Think about your skill level. While we would all love to hit these great escape shots, it more-often-than-not results in a high number.
  2. Don’t hit a shot that will more than likely leave you in a worse position than you were.
  3. Think about where you want to be hitting your next shot from.

More golf tips

  • Improve Your Chipping – find out more about how changes to body position, ball position and swing movement can impact your chipping accuracy.
  • Improve Your Driving – find out how to hit better and longer drives by making small changes to your tee height, body position and swing.
  • Golf tips for fixing a slice – find out how small changes to your grip, swing path and alignment can help you hit more fairways and avoid the dreaded slice.