Gorilla Golf Guru Advise: Lose the Golfing Ego and Make Par

The two courses most local to me, and ones which I enjoy playing most frequently, are both similar in that their first two holes are relatively benign. This gentle opening is a nice warm up before you approach the third tee for the first really difficult hole of the round. I have absolutely no idea why these courses were designed this similar way, whether it was merely fate or intelligent design, but in both cases it is a quite brilliant way to begin a round of golf for the amateur.

Second-hole-golf course -Montreux-Switzerland


Here’s why; I have lost count of the number of times I have stood on the third tee and either myself or my playing partners are already rueing the fact that what promised to be a great round of golf on the first tee, has descended already into 18 holes of damage limitation.

Almost without exception, the reason for this has not been dreadful weather conditions, utter misfortune or lack of golfing ability. In almost all cases, it has been caused by submission to the nemesis of many an amateur golfer, the golfing ego.

There is something about a 300 yard par four opening hole that is almost perfectly straight, that lures a golfer into a false appraisal of their own golfing ability. It matters not a jot that they have not warmed up, or even hit a practise shot in anger. It is conveniently forgotten that when on the range, they are lucky to hit a ball straight 250 yards once in ten drives. When you stand on that first tee and the fairway opens out in front of you, it is like the beguiling song of the siren on the rocks, you can’t help but grab the driver, tee the ball up and thrash away.



And for the amateur, nine times out of ten, the net result is a ball either deep in the rough, the trees or even bouncing merrily along the car park threatening to damage the windscreen of some poor sap who has erroneously parked their car facing the tee. The beguiling sirens have won once again, your golfing ego has overridden your sensibilities and now you’ll pay the price, in shots.

It is a peculiarly male phenomenon too. Women golfers I have seen playing have absolutely no interest in trying to prove their strength and power by launching the ball into orbit in the hope it will land somewhere near the green. They take the “soft” approach and hit the ball down the middle into position for a relatively easy approach. Frequently they’ll walk off the green with a par more often than not.

On the other hand, us men will willingly prove our masculinity by thrashing at the ball every single opening drive. We hope that this will be the one time we hit it long and straight and that the drive will leave us a chance of a birdie or par. That glimmer of hope is tainted with the implicit understanding that in all likelihood, come the end of the hole, we’ll be writing down a 6, 7 or 8 after we’ve located the errant ball from a nearby jungle and struggled to get it into the hole.




Bobby Jones once said that “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course; the distance between your ears”. How right he was. I have since decided on a new approach to these opening holes. Now I drive with a seven-iron and approach with a nine-iron into the green. Every time.

Of course, that doesn’t come without a penalty. I know, my aura of masculinity has fallen dramatically as a result, my testosterone levels have probably declined and I’m becoming seriously enamoured with the scent  of lavender, but oddly enough, I find I’m writing 3 or 4 after the opening hole far more frequently, rather than 6, 7 or 8.

In short, golf courses are there to test all elements of your golf game, not just how far you can hit a driver. Part of that challenge is the mental capability to realise what is the right shot at the right time. Learning to select that, and not give in to your desperate golfing ego, will help you become a better player overnight.



For sure, your playing partners may giggle as you take a seven iron and don’t “go for it”, but see who’s smiling when you are writing a 3 or 4 on your scorecard, when they are writing double that on theirs.


Images by Gorilla Golf Blog©


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If you enjoyed this post please leave us your comment below

Jordan J. Caron October 26, 2011

You are so right, the golfing ego (especially the male one) needs to checked on the first tee. It’s like the classic example of a man standing 250 yards out from a green protected by water short of a the green. Because he once (the key is once) hit a shot 250 yards, he’s going to wait for the green to clear and take a lash at the green even though his odds are stacked heavily in clearing the hazard.

Now being a golf coach I have seen how my students improve by implementing the strategy of developing and playing towards a personal par for each hole. I don’t understand why the majority of golfers aim for par and let it dictate their play when it’s not geared towards they’re playing ability.

It makes no sense to me that “par” which is what a scratch or 1 handicap player is supposed to shoot, is used to dictate a suggested score on a hole for players with 8 handicaps and above.

If you are your readers are interested in my post which talks about the how irrelevant “par” is, just click on my name for the link.


Tommy Priest October 26, 2011

Thank you for your comment and suggestions. We will definitely take a look at your post.


Krystal Miller October 27, 2011

I am the sports editor for Before It’s News and we are looking to add quality sports news to our site. We would love it if Gorilla Golf Blog would contribute. There is no extra work for you. We will simply take the full feed from your RSS feed and re-post it to our site, along with a link back to your website. You are more than welcome to also link your FB and Twitter accounts and post any message to our readers before or after your post.

We have 4 million visitors a month, so this would be great exposure for your site.

If this is something you are interested in, please let me know. If you have any questions about my proposal, don’t hesitate to ask.

Have a great day,


Tommy Priest October 27, 2011

Hi Krystal,

thank you for your comment and proposal, I sent you a private email already 🙂


... November 23, 2011

It’s a nice blog you have over here! It’s very usefull information for me and I just want to thank you for that! If you post more threads as this one, I’ll follow your blog active!


Tommy Priest November 29, 2011

Thank you! We try harder…. 🙂


The Danger of Being an Ego-Junkie on the Golf Course | Training for Optimal Performance February 9, 2014

[…] Gorilla Golf makes a great point that “golf courses are there to test all elements of your golf game, not just how far you can hit a driver. Part of that challenge is the mental capability to realise what is the right shot at the right time. Learning to select that, and not give in to your desperate golfing ego, will help you become a better player overnight.” […]


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