Warren Buffett and golf are not two things you generally think of together, but perhaps you should start. Let me explain.
For the uninitiated, Buffett is one of the most successful American investors of all time. He took a long term and conservative approach to investing and lived by two investing rules:
- Never lose money.
- See rule #1.
Simple advice, right? That’s all there is too investing, just don’t lose money, sheesh, why didn’t I think of that?
But here’s what I really think Buffett meant by this set of rules: take risks that are calculated and hedged against losses. Your goal is to increase your investments, but not at the cost of losing any of it. Sound advice that has survived the test of time.
But why am I talking about this on a golf instruction website? Because it’s going to help you achieve your golfing dreams just like it will your retirement goals.
I want to challenge you to a new set of rules for the rest of the golfing season. Your new rule:
- Never lose a ball.
- See rule #1.
Well gee Chuck, if I knew how to not lose a ball, I wouldn’t be on your golf swing instruction website in the first place! Even tour pros lose their golf balls! I understand your hesitancy, but let me explain further.
If your primary objective is to never lose your golf ball, if that was the only thing that mattered over the course of a round of golf, you’re going to change your approach to each and every shot. You’ll be playing more conservative, even defensive. Conservative doesn’t sound very exciting, maybe even not the most fun.
But, imagine your scores over the past year alone if you were still playing with the same golf ball you started with.
Ya, it’s going to be pretty dirty and beat up at this point, but very experienced! Imagine never having another penalty stroke! Ok, it’s not realistic to do this, to only play with one golf ball for the rest of your life, but if your goal becomes to preserve the life of this expensive little sphere, you’ll stop trying to hit heroic shots that you can only pull off one out of every ten times.
The reality is that golf is a very challenging sport that no one will ever master, there are just too many variables at play every day. The pros still struggle to break par and they still make silly mistakes attempting shots that they are unlikely to pull off - shots that the rest of mortals shouldn’t be attempting.
How many times have you tried to hit a shot over water, hit it poorly, made a double and blew up your round? How about the time you hit it out of bounds with an aggressive tee shot when you really only needed to bunt it down the fairway.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never take risks, but they have to be hedged. Any risk you take should only put you in danger of shooting one shot worse than your max USGA stroke allowance. For example, as a +2 handicap the USGA only allows me to make a double bogey on a hole for a posted score. Which means, any risk I take should only allow me to make a bogey in the worst case scenario. If you’re a 20 handicap you can’t post worse than a triple so you should never put yourself at risk of making worse than a double.
With this conservative, hedged approach, you’re going to take out the big numbers that destroy rounds and you’re going to learn a lot about course management. You may feel that this limits you from shooting a really low score, and to a degree, this strategy will.
Just like investing, following Buffett’s advice will likely not score you 40% returns on your portfolio and accepting my RotarySwing.com 1 Ball Challenge will keep you from shooting 59. But it will also help you learn how to CONSISTENTLY shoot the best scores you are currently capable of.
This is just a challenge, what do you have to lose (other than strokes off your handicap!)? Give it a shot and see what happens. On a hole where you normally hit driver and try to hit a shot that you can’t consistently pull off, hit a long iron or hybrid or some other club that is easier for you to put in play. Yes, you may have to hit an extra club or two into the green, but that will be less penal than a distance stroke penalty for losing your ball!
Go to the range and work on a safety shot that you can safely put in play no matter what, whether it be a two iron stinger or low cut with a driver, get to know what that shot can do for you to get you in play off the tee.
On your approach shots, don’t attack the pin, aim for the fat part of the green and work on two putting. On your chip shots, play the bump and run instead of the high risk high flop shot. Find a way to keep the ball low to the ground so that if you do hit it poorly, it has less time in the air to go severely offline. For your putts, try to make them, but never risk a three putt, no matter what.
See how long you can go playing with just one golf ball from now until the end of the season. Write the date on it with a sharpie as a reminder of my challenge each time you tee it up and write back to us to let us know how it goes. Just like investing and other things RotarySwing, this isn’t a quick golf tip or a get rich quick scheme. This challenge will help you lower your scores over a long period of time, over the long haul. Your average score will get lower as you accept this challenge and if you’re working on your RST golf swing mechanics, your golf swing will be improving at the same time so that you’ll be more capable of hitting better and better shots.
We want to hear your story, so let us know, good or bad, funny or sad, in the comments below of how your RotarySwing.com 1 Ball Challenge went!
Whoever goes the longest will get a free RotarySwing.com hat and a free 3 month membership to the #1 online golf instruction website on the planet!