Lower Golf Scores…really?

Most golfers don’t REALLY want to lower their golf score.

Golf BC Canada

BC Canada golf course

What? How can I say that when golfers everywhere spend billions of dollars on this game chasing the lure of the great feelings of achievement they get when they improve.  Here’s why: when you start to read golf instruction in books, you start to find that there are some universal truths about how amateurs should play in order to actually cut their scores. I have and will continue to cover these ways in my writings and lessons in this site.

The problem is that many amateurs are far more interested in things other than scoring lower such as:  big booming drives, making miracle shots, having a pretty swing (rather than an effective one), mimicking their pro idols, keeping up with their playing partner’s club choices, and/or just partying out on the course.

Golf in Radium Canada

Craig Sigl in Radium, Canada

All of those outcomes are fine and dandy and I indulge in them too, but many times, they are directly opposed to you scoring lower!

Wake up and smell the coffee! It’s time to make a decision that you are interested in lower scores and that you are going to do everything in your power to allow that to happen now aren’t you?

Having said that, sometimes you might still want to go out on the course with the idea of just having some fun, or working on the the ideas here and not caring about your score. Great! So long as that is your  INTENTION for the day.  Too many golfers go out there in complete denial of reality thinking they can have that cake of appearances and eat it too. But not you or any of my clients anymore. From now on, you are going to do everything with INTENTION with regards to your game.

INTENTION simply means that you are going to make conscious decisions about what it is you are doing.  Decide right now that when you have the INTENTION to score lower, you are going to follow through with that.  Just so you know, INTENTION is my favorite word and I’m going to be using it and other important words in CAPS throughout the book because words have meanings beyond the obvious.  🙂

In summary, with everything you do, think or ask yourself out loud such questions as:

“Will this ______ help me to a lower score?”

“How can I turn this _____ into helping me lower my score?”

“What can I be doing right now that will lower my score?”

What happens out there on the course is you get tempted. Really tempted to “go for it.”

Resist that temptation with the sweet feeling of looking at your scorecard at the end of a round and not finding any double bogeys. If there is anything that age and wisdom have taught me about this game is that a conservative strategy is the way to go.  When your buddy is using a 6 iron and you feel that a 5 iron is the more sensible choice, LISTEN to that feeling…it’s your unconscious mind communicating to you.

Decide at the beginning of a round that “Today, I am all about making every decision on the course that a lower score is my priority.”

Think back on rounds in the past where you indulged in useless activities, thought, or emotion that hurt your shot at a a lower golf score.  Yes, it’s true, negative self talk is undulgent!  I want you to fight it, dispute it, push through it. Stay focused and robotic on your preshot routine, keep to your plan, and play within your game and you will lower your scores.

Greens and fairways,


  • peter byers says:

    I am 74 yo. Golf is the most challenging of all activities I have ever experienced. I am DETERMINED to lower my scores. I stretch every day, use weight exercises every other day, adopt mental approach tactics and practise frequently. This last week I played five days and shot 80 on each day. Some days I can get down to 74 but that 80 is still lurking there ready to make me understand that I am human! I have played golf since my early 30’s, I am playing my best golf now approaching 80 yo. I intend to continue to improve my scoring and I know that I can do it. 72 SSS is around the corner but my attitude on the first tee is to go out and expect to shoot below 80. This is an encouragement to other seniors not to throw the towel in because you are getting on in years, your best golf is ahead but you have to work at it. It will not just happen.

    • Craig says:

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for writing. This is a wonderful post on the site and hope
      for seniors! With your intention, it is sure to happen!

      Greens and fairways,

  • Craig says:

    Hi Kathy,
    That’s very astute of you to recognize that pattern, bravo! I help people
    with such internal conflicts every day. The answer to fixing that is to have
    some very honest, direct conversations with your husband and with the part
    inside of you and reconcile the differences. It can be done!
    Good luck!


  • Kathy says:

    I have been trying to play for 5 years and am still a 30 handicapper. I keep saying it is because I took up golf in my 50’s that I will never be good, but the real answer is that I play with my husband. There is a definate difference in his game if I play well (his game goes down when mine goes up). We are good when playing a 2 ball better ball, often winning prizes because we dovetail well in that kind of competition- when I see he is duffing it, I easily pick my game up) but when I play against him (4 or 5 times a week!), I just cannot hit the ball. I read a book called Psycho Golf, and finally figured out, after all these years, that I really do not play well because I do not want to beat him and have him miserable, so instead, I am miserable with my golf. Easy to diagnose, but more difficult to fix than you can imagine. When you are used to putting your husband and family first for 30 years, to trying to change it on the golf course just does not work.
    I read all your articles, but the heading of this one (Most golfers don’t REALLY want to lower their golf score.) really hit a chord with me.

  • Gene Caton says:

    I guess Iam a little different than the fellows in the above comments in that even though I am 70 y/o I would like to one day shoot in the ow 80’s or even the high 70’s which I did not think was possible for me at my age. However, I am competitive enough and stubborn enough to see whether your program works. So far I have dropped 20 strokes in the month I have worked your program and am very pleased. I am finding out playing golf is alot more fun when I don’t have to go looking for my ball or lose six balls in ;an outing. Keep up the good work and I’ll be in the 80’s before April 28, 2011, my 71st brithday.

    • Craig says:

      Gene! You made my day. Thank you for writing!

  • Bill says:

    Craig, I dozed off a couple of years ago at our club’s annual meeting–you guessed it, I awoke to be the president! My primary task in leading this group of seniors (over 50’s, otherwise known as amateurs or hackers or sandbaggers) is to preside over and distribute the winnings from our twice-weekly games.

    I see the scores and handicaps all the time. If I suggest a game that’s too hard to score, they say they’re only playing for fun. With dollar stakes, we don’t have blood or fistfights, but we do have a lot of ribbing and sidebets. I hear a lot of “thwack #%$^**&%.” Or “dammitJack.” They don’t want to practice, not do they want to admit it, but they do want to improve their scoring.

    Their scores reflect their abilities and their life scoreboard–an artificial hip adds 5 strokes, for example. It’s unseemly to press for improvement, but it’s on our minds all the time. For the under 50’s, beer drinking and serious betting replace skill improvement and stroke-shaving; for most senior golfers, the game is often all we have left. We care, believe me.

    At ages where little chunks of skill and ability are dropping out like our hair, the seniors at least would like to stem the losses and maybe even reverse them. But it’s an internal dialog, made visible by the appearances of new clubs, newly-released “miracle” balls, and the hard-to-suppress smile when one’s index drops a half a stroke.

    • admin says:

      Hi Bill,

      That’s awesome. You made me laugh out loud!

  • John says:


    don’t call recreational golfers amateurs, because they are really not amateurs. When was the last time your were called an amateur when playing baseball, basketball or football. You were called a basketball player or football player or baseball player with no adding of the description of “amateur”.

    Though the dictionary gives a luke warm positive connotation, there is no positive connotation meant when the average recreational golfer is called an amateur by pro golfer teachers. Call them what they are, “recreational golfers”, persons who by and large have no desire to greatly improve their skill set, but are playing for the fun of it and for the enjoyment of being with friends.

    I do not mean this to be negative, instead, recreational golfers should be just as accepted as people who play basketball, baseball, or football for the joy of the game and the fun they have with friends.

    Scores go down….why should they? The average golfer really does not keep score and doesn’t really care about the score. Are missed catches, or strike outs kept in a ledger to see if anyone is improving in their game?

    I play because I enjoy being out and I really do want to lower my scores and get better. But because I am still above par, that does not mean I am any less serious than a pro, I just happen to not have someone paying me (sponsors) to help me get better or afford a great teacher who might help me get low scores. or have forty hours a week to dedicate to improving my scores, since my forty plus hour work week is so I have a place to live and sleep and a way to get to work and have money to pay my bills (and I do want a little life).

    This is not intended to be negative towards you and your desire to see people improve. Your desire is to help people improve. Help us improve, don’t worry about the people who don’t want to improve, they probably don’t even know you have a website where they could learn how to be a better golfer.


    • admin says:

      HI John,

      Points well taken. I only used the word “amateur” because it seems to be the prevailing term in the industry. Now that I read your take here, I think I am going to change that because I agree with you AND, I never do things just because the rest of the golf world does it!!! After all, I’m the anti-practice expert stirring up controversy everywhere. Thanks for writing!!!
      Greens and fairways,

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