Rethinking "bad shots" - how to constructively evaluate your rounds

Here’s a new article I just posted that explores the concept of a “bad shot” and how you can constructively evaluate how your round went. Enjoy!


This article is great!


thanks, I think the post-round evaluation is a really important (and often overlooked) part of getting better at this game!


WOW! No words. Utterly thoughtful, amazing article!
I’m going to turn these points into a ‘personal’ scorecard for the course!


thank you! After all the articles I’ve written each time I hit publish I still wonder if people will like them, so it’s great to hear that you got something out of it :grinning:

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It’s clear you put lots of thought & time in!

Just curious, you didn’t mention short game or putting. Upcoming article?:wink:

To be honest, I didn’t want to go on for too long with examples. Whenever I’m writing articles I try to weight length and attention spans. If I spend too long on one area it might prevent some from getting on to the other points. It’s a difficult proposition!


This is one of my favorite Practical Golf articles in recent memory. I actually shared it with a friend who struggles a lot with constantly feeling bad about his shots.


Thanks! That means a lot coming from someone who has read so many of them!


Good article. I have always thought a lot about my round after I am done. Thinking about where and what I could have done to improve. One big thing that I need to correct is that when I screw something up I tend screw another shot up by still thinking about the first screw up. As the old instructor said " you botch then you son of a botch".
On the course I know pretty much at the point of impact
whether I will be satisfied with the result. I’ve always been able to know where on the face I hit the shot and where it went. I could almost play in the dark and still find my ball. One issue I really need to stop is having negative thoughts after just a slight miss. I hit it a little thin and I’m frowning but the ball is going right down the middle.
It is almost mandatory for me to hit fairways. At age 77 and being distance challanged I only have 4 par 4s and the 4 par 5s where I have have a chance of hitting an iron approach even from the senior tees. Rest of the time it’s 3 wood, 5 wood or hybrid. And our rough is really rough. I am still working this Winter to get longer though or to not get shorter.


@jon your articles always seem to have impeccable timing and hit me when I need to hear it most. The latest is no exception. The last few months have been huge for me and I feel like I cleared the first hurdle in a 440 race. There are still quite a few hurdles to clear but the first one is the most important. I have crossed a threshold that was holding me back and most of it was exactly what you described in this article. So, this reinforces what I’ve been going through. I’ve learned to relax and just swing and not worry about the outcome before the outcome. Then when the shot settles, I analyze for a brief second if it was good or bad and what happened. I don’t try to change anything but just a quick analysis to see if there was a mistake I made that would carry with me to subsequent shots. If the answer is no, I enjoy the fact that I am in play and the problem solving I need to make to correct an errant shot and not score high numbers. This was a huge learning step for me and I’m finally in a place where I can really understand the risk reward. Sometimes you just have to settle for a bogey and be ok with it, because if you try and force something you will most likely end up with double or worse. Every stroke counts. Thank you Jon for always providing such great content.


you’re welcome, and what you’re describing is an important evolution that takes place in golfers who are really starting to wrap their head around the game (it only took my about 15-20 years!). Always ways to get better at this game, and understand it more!


I think that one of the biggest gains in my game (mental and scoring) since joining this forum has been to start keeping a “shot journal” after rounds. I don’t use any of the arcos or other shot tracking tech (yet…)…but started walking through every shot (after the round concludes) and putting it into a notebook for review and analysis.

It’s helped me in 2 ways…
#1 - being more mindful of “true” club distances
#2 - being more mindful of course strategy before the round ever begins…meaning it’s lead me to another discovery from this forum…using google to plan out shots before the round.

I’m at a 12 for the first time in my life (was a 20+ just four years ago when I started tracking my handicap)…and hoping to continue to improve through planning and review strategies.

Thanks @jon great article and forum!!! Thanks to you all as well for your knowledge and willingness to share this passion!


that’s exactly what I hoped people would get out of this forum when I finally started it! That’s great to hear.


Very good article! I started to think about this too late in the season, but I did have some good rounds in the end so maybe it helped…or maybe I had just given up lol. I tend to beat myself up because I don’t play as well as I used to, but that’s not fair as I did practice much more then. I did realize a few things:

Many of my “bad” shots aren’t that bad, but my short game is not what it used to be so I’m not recovering like I used to. Late in the season I replaced my wedges (fresh grooves do help) and practiced chipping a bit and definitely saw improvement.

Many of my “bad” shots result because I’m not comfortable with the shot and don’t commit. I still have a lot of work to do here, but at least I’m more aware of the problem. I’ve seen stats saying just hit driver as far as you can, but I started laying back on some holes to get a level lie and it seemed to be helping. I was better with a 5i from a good lie than a 7i from a downslope with the ball below my feet. Of course if I can add some swingspeed then it’ll be a 9i from just a downslope.


Really interesting to understand further. Convincing! Looked at the video from Decade also.


Two things I applied to my mental game last year was not a post round evaluation as I always did that, however what changed is how I looked at shots. I always start with the good shots now, drives, putts, approaches and short game. It amazed me how no matter what my score was the vast majority of the shots were good. So in turn evaluating bad shots became easy, there were way less than what it “felt” like. (understanding SG is huge in this regard).
Second was not evaluating said shots on the course. This freed my mind up to focus on the next shot and not worry about the one previously. I am still working diligently on “releasing the outcome” and just swinging my swing.

This game is a never ending battle with myself and I draw huge enjoyment from that.


Well put … could not agree more! :ok_hand: