Making a Score

Rob Rashell
Director of Instruction
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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I was working with a junior golfer the other day and he was telling me a story about a recent tournament, and how he played one of the par fives. At this point in the tournament he was very much in contention and had a difficult decision to make under pressure. I asked him how he played the hole, five iron, five iron, wedge, two putt par.

Tournament golf is a wonderfully complicated beast, altogether different than the recreational game. The only currency in a tournament is the score you put on the board at the end of the day. No one ever asks how you shot a number, just what that number is/was. Great tournament players develop a great sense and understanding of themselves, and how they play best in tournaments, despite any social pressure that may be present around them.

I hear TV analysts talking about this all the time, a player decides to not look at a leaderboard all day, similar to Jordan Speith at the Masters this year, and the analyst criticizes the player for not knowing what is happening around him. If you asked the same analyst at the beginning of the day the only way for Jordan Speith to shoot 64 in the final round at the Masters was to not look at any leaderboard, I wonder what they would say? Remember the social pressure I was talking about earlier? This is a great example.

Great tournament players know what makes them play their best, how to get every last ounce out of a round of golf. If that includes staying away from leaderboard watching, teeing off with a five iron on a par five, well then that’s exactly what they do. Just because someone has a microphone, and is on TV, does not make them an expert of you. The same can be said for your playing partners or your friends, they may know you but they don’t know or understand what you’re trying to accomplish or the best way to accomplish it.  

I strongly encourage you to have a deep belief in what you’re trying to do, setting a plan, and executing to the best of your ability. Fully expect to hit some hurdles along the way, embrace the challenge, and learn as much as you can. Good Luck!   

Rob Rashell is now the Director of  Instruction at TPC Scottsdale. You can reach him at