If you are looking forward to a career in golf, you may want to know how to become a scratch golfer. Well, this isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible too. A scratch golfer is a player who can play to a course handicap of zero or lower on all rated golf courses. In order to become a scratch golfer, you need to practice vigorously, take guidance and follow a few other tips.
Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character. – Arnold Palmer
According to the USGA, a scratch golfer is a golfer who has the ability to play to a course handicap of zero on any and all rated golf courses. To understand the term more clearly, it is important to know what the terms ‘par’ and ‘handicap’ mean.
Par is the standard number of strokes a golfer should need for each hole on a golf course. The minimum par of any hole is 3. It includes a stroke for the tee shot and two putts. Holes are listed as par-3, par-4, or par-5. Par-6 and par-7 are rare. A par-3 is a hole that a scratch golfer is expected to complete in three strokes. So, in a par-3 hole, an expert golfer is expected to hit the green in one stroke, and then get the ball into the hole in two putts. On a par-4 hole, an expert golfer is expected to need four strokes to get the ball into the hole.
Generally, championship golf courses have par values of 72, including four par-threes, ten par-fours, and four par-fives. A player’s score is compared with the par score. If a course has a par of 72 and a golfer completes a game in 75 strokes, then his score is +3 or three-over-par. This means he has taken three shots more than par to complete the course. If a golfer takes 70 strokes to complete a course, then his score is -2 or two-under-par.
A golfer’s handicap is a number that determines his skill level. The handicap is the number of strokes to be deducted from the golfer’s score to find the overall score. As a rule, it is the number of strokes over par during an average round of 18 holes. The lower the handicap, the better the player. A golfer with a handicap of 15 is less skilled than a golfer with a handicap of 10. Golfers with 15 and 10 handicaps can shoot 15 over par and 10 over par respectively during their average rounds. In other words, the latter will be 5 strokes better than the former player over an 18-hole game course. A scratch golfer has a handicap of 0.
The handicap of a golfer gets added to or subtracted from his total score. For example, a scratch golfer who shoots 72 on the round would list his score as 72 as his handicap is zero, while a 10 handicapper who shoots 86 would deduct 10 strokes from his or her final score. If a golfer takes 70 strokes to complete a course, then his handicap is 2, and this value gets added to the score. The higher the handicap of a player, the poorer the player is and the vice versa. As a rule, 18 hole courses total to an overall par score of 72 for a complete round.
Tips To Become A Scratch Golfer
The golfer should see that his score is at least equal to the par value of 72. That means, his handicap should be zero.
The golfer should try to bring the score below the par value so that his handicap is even less. The handicap gets added to or subtracted from the score depending upon the number of strokes a player is taking to complete a game. He will need a score average of 71 or better to be able to make the cuts in the pro tournaments he plays in. Every golf score one has in amateur golf tournaments, needs to be counted.
The golfer and the golf instructor or coach have to build golf practice systems to lower the true competitive score average.
The golfer has to be patient until the best results come.
It is good to get professional help from trained and experienced PGA and LPGA instructors. The training programs will include advanced golf instructions with long-term training plans and methods for building your skills at the game.
The instructor will have the latest diagnostic equipment to monitor the improvements in your game. He will also be able to advise you on your health and fitness needs.
A short game is very important in golf so a player should practice hard on it and then on the other areas of the game. A short game tests the ability of a player to hit short shots like chip shots, pitch shots, and putts with accuracy.
Keep a track of the stats on your rounds. In this way, you will have an idea of where you really are.
Get to know your yardage or distance covered with each club.
Give equal time to practice for different areas of the game. Spend 30 or more hours a week for practicing.
Studies show that in most cases, players become top-level professional golfers after a minimum of two cycles of four years. This means that when a player gets onto a professional golf tour, it takes him four years to go through preparation and development cycles and another four years to start competing in and winning golf tournaments.
Read as much as you can, about the game. Know the theory, gain practical knowledge, and take help from articles and books about the sport. Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, by Bob Rotella and Robert Cullen, Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible, by Fred Shoemaker, and Golf: How Good Do You Want to Be?, by Bill Kroen are some good books you could read.
Years of practice and dedicated efforts go into making a scratch golfer. Practice under professional guidance and watch good golfers play. This should help you master the technique of this game. Remember, to be a scratch golfer, patience is the key. All the best!