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Game of the Weekend: Go Low



When you practice, you should always practice in the same manner in which you play. And that not only means the shots that you find on the course, but also setting up situations that bring up certain emotions, mental challenges and feelings that you experience when on the course.

In the case of this Game of the Weekend, called “Go Low,” we are setting up an ideal on-course situation: You just hit 18 greens in regulation! Certainly, the game of golf is typically not that generous; great scores are achieved by making up-and-downs and hitting an array of short-game shots, but with “Go Low” you’re in a situation that puts pressure on yourself… a good kind of pressure.

Golfers get nervous when they realize that they’re playing well. They tend to self-destruct and find a way to fall right back into the same range of scores that they tend to shoot. “Go Low” will help you get more comfortable with breaking your scoring barriers and shooting lower numbers. So imagine you’ve hit all of the greens. It’s exactly what you’ve been working toward and practicing so hard for. Now it’s time to finish off each hole with great putting and an attitude of going low!

Game of the Weekend: Go Low

  • Gear needed: Your putter and one golf ball.
  • Time needed: 10 minutes max

Rules: Pretend that you’ve hit every single green in regulation today, giving you 18 birdie opportunities. Each first putt must be between 25 and 45 feet and you’re going to add up your score in relation to par (with two putts equaling par). For example, let’s say that you one-putt five times and two-putt par all of the others giving you a total of 5-under par. Enter your score into the system based on a par-72 golf score. So at 5-under par you would enter 67 into our practice website. Seeing such low scores next to your name is always good for your psyche. This game can help you break through some scoring barriers that you have.

Note: if, when you play a regular round of golf on the course, you tend to hit the greens in one more shot than regulation, then add up the score in the same fashion but enter your score based on a par of 90 instead of 72.

Benefits: Here’s what this game helps you with.

  • It will help you break through whatever your scoring barrier is.
  • You will gain confidence from seeing low scores next to your name.

Bring the elements, situations, feelings and emotions that you find on the course to practice!

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Trent Wearner is the No. 1-rated teacher in Colorado by Golf Digest Magazine, as well as a two-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year (2004, 2014). Along the way, he has been recognized as a Top 20 Teacher Under Age 40 by Golf Digest, a Top 50 Kids Teacher in America by U.S. Kids Golf and a Top Teacher in the Southwestern U.S. by GOLF Magazine. Trent is also the author of the book Golf Scrimmages and creator of the website



  1. Forrest

    Sep 14, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I play a very similar game like this, albeit with a slightly modified scoring setup. My emphasis has been on improving my 2 putt ability to take advantage of my improved ball striking. I’ve seen an uptick in GIR from 7.2 to 9.54 this year. The flip side of course has been more putts because my first putt (for birdie) is likely coming from 30+ feet a few more times than when my first putt (for par) would be coming from inside 12 feet.

    Since our practice greens both have 9 holes on them, I typically just play it out for 9 holes (but could easily go to 18). Every putt starts at roughly 25-45 feet. My scoring system is as follows:
    – 8 points…first putt holed
    – 4 points…first putt inside 3 feet (use my 34.5″ putter as reference) and 2nd putt holed
    – 2 points…first putt outside 3 feet and 2nd putt holed)
    – 0 points…three putt
    – (-2) points…we don’t talk about these

    The one adjustment I make to the game is that if I go 3 holes in a row scoring 4 or 8 points, then on the 4th hole I start from roughly 10-15 feet to have a good look at birdie. Likewise, if I three putt a hole then the next hole I will start from as far away as I can get going to the next hole in my route.

    So far my best score is 32 over 9 holes…and I’ve seen an improvement in my putting as I would typically score 18-22 in this game but am now running 26-32 over the past month. Likewise, my handicap was 8.5 on June 15 and will be at 6.6 on September 15.

    Thanks for sharing this with the site Trent. I’m a big believer in this drill as a great replication of “practicing how you play.”

  2. sgniwder99

    Sep 13, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    In principle I think this is a great game, but just a thought: it seems like you ought to have about 5 of those 18 putts be in the 8-15ft range. That seems more like reasonable birdie range to me, and presumably if you had one of those ideal ball-striking days you’d knock a few fairly close. To me, those are the ones you really have to capitalize on to “go low” compared to your normal scores. For the rest of those, I’d put them in the 25-45ft range, to represent the holes where you’re really trying not to squander a good round by 3-putting the approaches that are a bit more mediocre–if you make one of those, it’s really a bonus.

    Maybe to promote staying aggressive on all those putts, you could adapt the “drawback” game you showed us a couple of weeks ago as an add-on to this: if you hit your first putt past the hole, you putt out from wherever the putt ends up. If you don’t get the putt to the hole, you pull it back a putter-length and putt out from there.

    Maybe I’m just over-complicating things.

  3. Philip

    Sep 12, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    This is a great warm-up to help me trust myself and get more aggressive on my putts – thanks

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So here goes, not in any particular order.


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Set Up/Posture

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Grip Pressure

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Hand position

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Lack of Body Core Rotation

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Club selection

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Clubhead/grip relationship

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