Jon Sherman Profile picture
May 9 11 tweets 4 min read
If you are trying to make birdies to lower your scores, you have it totally backward.

Great golfers know it is more about avoiding the big numbers.

Double-bogey avoidance > birdies.

A thread about the hard truths on scoring:
So many golfers think a birdie represents the path to lowering their handicap.

Trust me, I get it.

Birdies are exciting and can instantly change the momentum of your round.

But the bad news is they are so rare for average golfers that it's not a realistic expectation
Below are typical birdies per round by handicap level.

A typical 15 handicap averages far less than one birdie per round.

Even scratch players, the top 1% of golfers, only make 1-2 birdies per round.
Most people assume pro golfers routinely make 5+ birdies per round.

A typical PGA Tour player averages 3.5 birdies.

Most of them are coming from Par 5s because of their length:

• Par 3 Scoring Avg: 3.07
• Par 4 Scoring Avg: 4.05
• Par 5 Scoring Avg: 4.66
Birdies don't explain the big separation in scoring between golfers.

Double bogeys do!

Look at the difference in birdies per round and double bogeys according to the @shotscope database:
Avoiding bigger mistakes will lead to a much larger reduction in your handicap than making spectacular shots.

Golfers usually have it totally backward.

Their pursuit of birdies is one of the reasons they are making double bogeys.

Golf can be a counterintuitive game
Why do golfers make so many doubles?

• Lack of ball striking skills on their tee shots and approach shots

• Poor strategy: either needlessly aggressive or too conservative

• Throwing away shots around the greens w/ their wedges and three-putting

• Poor mental approach
Changing your philosophy on scoring can totally reshape your golf game for the better.

Ask yourself, "what can I do to save shots?"

rather than, "what can I do to make something special happen?"

You have to be stingy and cheap w/ every shot. Mistake avoidance is critical.
Since 2015 pretty much every piece of content I put out is focused on avoiding more double bogeys.

That's why the official tagline of Practical Golf is "fighting the war on double bogeys."

Birdies happen but think of them as a bonus for playing the game more efficiently.
If you want to reduce the doubles, I've got help!

• follow @practicalgolf for little tidbits of advice

• Read 400+ articles on my website:

• Sign up for my newsletter:

• Listen to our podcast:…
…and if you want my *complete* blueprint on how to become a better golfer, be on the lookout for my new book next month - The Four Foundations of Golf.

Just got my first proof copies!

• • •

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