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John Renslow: Just get out and do it

Errant self-appraisals seem to keep us from doing a lot of things. “Gee, I’m not good enough to do this or that.” For some things, this may be true. We will likely not qualify for the upcoming summer Olympics. Yet, for many things, we just need to get out and do it.

Not only are some things a lot of fun even if you’re not good at them, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that you’re not as bad as you may think.

I have known many golfers who turn down an invitation or simply avoid venturing out, because they think that everyone else is so much better than they really are. For this and other reasons, let’s take a look at reality when it comes to those you might come in contact with on the First Tee.



According the National Golf Foundation, a total of 97 is the average score for 18 holes. Candidly, I believe this is low. It may be a result of many players not actually counting every (e.g. penalty strokes) shot. Yet, it still gives us a good benchmark. A total score of around 100 is what we would see from the average player.

Possibly even more important, however, is a look at the percentages. Only 8% of all golfers break 80. Just 20% will shoot between 80 and 89 and 31% will have a score between 90 and 99. Here is the interesting category, 30% of all golfers will shoot between 100 and 119. Scores of 120 and account for 11% of players. These scores are based on men’s scores…on balance, average women’s scores are 10 shots higher than men’s.



Here is the reason those last two categories are intriguing. Although the average score for golfers is 97, over 40% of all golfers do not break 100.

One important aspect of this information is a perspective of your game relative to other players. You don’t have to be negative about your own game or feel inadequate when you’re invited to play.

Another perspective is this. If your game is in one of those upper categories, it won’t take long to improve your position. Get a few lessons and dedicate a little time to practice, you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly you move up the ladder.

Here is the most valuable nugget for those who are a bit reticent to tee it up with new playing partners. They don’t really care about your ability, if you can move along. That’s right, a score of 80 or 120 doesn’t matter if you can play at a good pace.

In fact, most golfers would prefer to play with a less skilled player who can keep things moving than a better player that bogs down the group and slows the pace.

So, if you’re in the 90% that shoots a score of less than 120, don’t worry about your ability. Have fun with your group and be aware of your pace of play. If you score above 120, invest in your game with a few golf lessons and some practice.

It won’t take long for you to feel better about your game and put yourself in position to enjoy more time on the course with your friends or new friends.

John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses

John Renslow

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