3 hacks and a scratch… Strokes Gained in a Scramble

Alright so the title is a little dramatic… But the premise is accurate. As a low handicap and as an engineer, I often end up as the “A” player in a group full of “D”s at the charity scramble. Not a problem. Scrambles are always fun, even when I know I’ll be playing my own ball most of the day. It’s a fun atmosphere with a lot of teamwork, cheers, and alcohol consumption.

I’ve pondered in the past how adding a bunch of hacks to a low handicap can affect the potential score as the winners of these scrambles typically shoot seemingly impossible scores. You’d swear the best club in the bag was a pencil. However, with a little strokes gained analysis, it is possible to quantify just how much adding a few (very) high handicaps affected my potential score. So let’s look at how these hacks helped me shoot a 66… And before I come across as a total ass (too late), I’m using hacks as term of endearment. Most of us are hacks.

Without further ado, let’s introduce the team…

The Team

The Team… He told us to jump…

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Big numbers from 2015

Golf is hard… Why not start there? It seems to be a refrain I continue to stress. This season those words were particularly fitting. I struggled.


The highlight was my lone win on the local Dallas tour last November. The remainder of the year I was seldom in contention and really struggled to score. I found new ways to throw rounds away. I did it off the tee, I did it with the flatstick, I did it with the irons. I’ve felt close all year but somehow couldn’t get it together. Instead I’m left with ‘moral victories’ and reassuring myself that I am close.

Despite the lack of results, the golfing year was not a total loss. There was plenty to be learned. For starters, I am constantly learning how to play better golf with less golf. The balance of working full time, spending lots of time with my young son / family, and not ignoring the wife is one that does not lend itself to lowering a handicap at my level (or any level). Contrast that with the guys I am competing with and it’s difficult. A combination of college kids, semi-retired guys with money, and players with older families. Any way you slice it I am competing with guys that are playing more than I am. I am not complaining, just stating a reality. I have to learn to be efficient with practice and efficient on the course. Luckily, I’m an engineer. I specialize in making things efficient.

I’m certainly not the only one in this bucket. Anybody who has a family and loves golf (or other hobby) has the same struggle. I just know that I am still learning how to balance life and play better golf. It didn’t come across this year, but I’m learning. I’m getting better. I also have some advantages that others may not have… A very understanding wife who likes to travel and supports my playing, a son who is starting to show interest in the game, and I recently built a practice facility in my back yard (more on that another time).

So I’ve got hope, it’s time to make a plan to improve. Step one is to identify where I need work. This includes the 6 inches between my ears, which is probably where I lost the most strokes this season. Time to review 2015…

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