Hitting bad shots is annoying, of course. But there are few things more frustrating than hitting lots of good shots, and ending your round without a good score to show for it.
Those good days don’t come around all that often. Taking advantage of them whenever they do comes down to a vague, intangible skill we know as scoring. It’s a hard one to nail down, exactly, but when golfers refer to scoring they usually use it to describe holing good putts and hitting good shots in important moments. It might be an important par (or bogey!) save. It may be a holing a birdie putt after a lucky break, or taking advantage of a good drive by hitting their approach shot close.
The trouble is that it’s hard to improve at scoring. It’s not as simple as hitting a few extra shots on the driving range.
Pros are good at scoring — that’s why they’re pros — and while there’s no magic formula they use, there is one common method that keeps popping up: Playing from the forward tees.
Should you practice from the forward tees?
Bryson DeChambeau made sure he was ready for moments like yesterday. 💪 pic.twitter.com/bvhmVyt7LX
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) August 7, 2023
Obviously, if you’re playing your one round of the week with your buddies, you probably don’t want to spend it playing from the forward tees. I get that. It’s perhaps better suited for the odd evening round you sneak out for.
But you really should make the effort, because it works. Especially if you’re a junior with aspirations of college or pro golf. Tiger Woods said he used it as a junior golfer, and so did Bryson DeChambeau following his victory on the LIV Tour last week, where he shot an incredible 58 during his final round:
“When I was a junior, when I was 15, 16, [my junior coach] Mike Schy would tell me to go play the front tees and learn how to score, so I’d be driving it in these tight areas and getting up-and-down, and my wedge game got really good because of it as well as my putting because it was stressful.
“It’s probably the best thing you can do when trying to learn how to score. You go up to the red tees and try and shoot sub-60 rounds, for a good aspiring junior golfer that’s trying to be a professional golfer. You just go to the front tees, try and shoot under 60. If you can do that and you consistently are able to do that every single round you play, get in that comfortable mind of, okay, I’m 10-, 11-, 12-under, let’s keep going, pedal to the metal, that gets you in a great mindset.”
Not everyone is going to be trying to break 60 from the forward tees. For you, maybe it’s shooting under par, maybe that’s shooting 80, it doesn’t matter. Really, you’re just trying to shoot your best score.
DeChambeau highlighted some of them above, but there are a few reasons why it could help:
3 reasons it might help
- You’ll never need to hit driver off every tee, but you’ll want to. You’ll learn how to play aggressively off the tee, but in a smart way.
- Playing from the forward tees gives you a big advantage off the tee, but you’ll quickly learn it gives you no advantage with your wedges and putter. You’ll hit lots of shots with those clubs, which will help you sharpen those up in a hurry.
- Even if you’re from the forward tees, you’ll start getting nervous when you get a good score going. Practising under pressure is one of the best things you can do for your game.
So give it a try. It may well help, though we can’t guarantee a 58 in your future. At least not on 18 holes.