The secret to playing well as a high handicapper is normally to plot you way around the layout in such a way to make as few mistakes as possible. It is rarely about playing bold, adventurous golf shots.
The US Open Is For High Handicap Golf
As a high handicapper myself, I can relate to the challenge of a typical US Open course.
Yep, really. A US Open course is set up to beat up the player, punish every mistake.
Related: Is the US Open too difficult?
The secret to playing well as a high handicapper is normally to plot your way around the layout in such a way to make as few mistakes as possible. Most holes I get a shot on, so I aim to use this shot when playing difficult or tricky holes.
That par 4 with an approach over water, requiring a long iron to get on in regulation? Well I knock my second shot up to near to water’s edge to give myself as short an iron as possible to get on in 3. Then two putts on the green and I’m off with 2pts on Stableford.
I don’t try career-best shots. If a daunting hazard can be skirted or nullified using my handicap rather than taken on, I will.
Basically my whole game is trying to minimise mistakes. That is how many a high handicapper plays.
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It is also how to win a US Open. Should that be that right? The US Open is for high handicap golf?
Should the best golfers in the world be forced to employ the mindset of a high handicapper?
Some people enjoy the terror tracks of the US Open, and my colleague Nick Bonfield is among them.
But I do not enjoy watching this style of golf as a spectator. I want to see creativity; I want to see the course give players opportunities to excel, as well as risk being severely punished for certain failures.
Related: Erin Hills hole by hole guide
Most of all, if a player drops down the leaderboard at the US Open, I want there to be chances for him to rise up again through his own efforts.
At The US Open, too often players only rise up the leaderboard as a result of others plummeting past you. At the last US Open at Oakmont in 2007 Angel Cabrera won with five-over par.
US Opens are difficult, and this how the USGA likes it, as USGA Executive Director Mike Davis explains: “The USGA wants the US Open to be a tough, rigorous test. We want it to be the ultimate test in golf.”
But it is the ultimate test? Is golf all about avoiding errors? Is it not sometimes also about creativity, about attacking play, boldness and imagination? Is not the USGA’s approach to course selection and set up with the US Open rather one dimensional?
Should the best golfers in the world really be forced to employ the mindset of a high handicapper? Should it be that the US Open is for high handicap golf?