How Can A Player Go From Shooting 66 To 84?

My First PGA Event

As you may have known, I played in my first PGA event earlier this week in Laytown & Bettystown Golf Club.

I shot 84 gross, on a par 71. To compare, my best score on a championship course to date is 66 (six under par).

Laytown Bettystown Golf Club Gary Shaw blog
Laytown Bettystown Golf Club


How can a player go from shooting -6 to +13 over a short period of time?

Often times it can happen over the space of a few hours, we might go under par in the morning of a 36 hole event, and in the evening shoot in the 80’s!

For me, there were a number of factors at play. It had been over a year since I had played an event with a card in my hand. Having come from a position where I was almost putting the golf clubs away for good, to now, playing and working full-time in the golfing industry, it has been a big change! It is going to take some time before things fall back into place for my game, getting my body back into a fit and flexible state, and lastly re-igniting my competitive edge once again!

Gary shaw driver K club Ireland
Me driving a ball when I was very tournament fit, in 2014!

I started out with pars, very steady, but then I lost a ball in the links rough, just off the fairway, and parred the second ball. I then got into some more tricky situations having to take multiple unplayable penalty drops and lost balls near the end of the front nine – internally I was beaten. I was not ready for the battle mentally, and eventually it got the better of me out there.

My scorecard:

Gary Shaw Scorecard Laytown Bettystown Golf Club
Gary Shaw Scorecard Laytown Bettystown


How does this explain a 19 shot difference?

For me, when I felt like one of my wheels had come off, it all came apart from the lack of competition and solid preparation. It doesn’t just add a couple of shots to your best score, you go so far from your “best self” out there, to the complete opposite, and over a 5 hour round and 18 holes, a lot of shots add up. All of a sudden you are looking at an 80-something, instead of a 60-something!


How can we prevent this?

Again, for me, it is a matter of preparation, that goes weeks and months back. It is the build of experience of hustling in competition, playing against your playing partners for the club sandwich on a Saturday morning, fighting for your par putt on the last. The exploration of your best self on the course, it must be fine-tuned.

You need to know how to tap into that side of yourself, so that when you look at a target 105 yards away, you are completely comfortable and confident in your club choice, shot visualisation, preparation of the shot and of course, the shot execution. This whole package comes together with the many hours of practice both on and off the competition grounds.

This is why I am not majorly disappointed in my score this week but rather, it has awoken me to where I am with my game and has helped point me in the direction I need to take, so I can get to my peak performance on the course again!




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