Category Management : Using CM to Improve Golf?  Gimme a Break!


Take a quick poll:

[poll id=”10″]

I used to play a lot of golf and somewhere along the way I decided I was good enough (I wasn’t) to give lessons.  I also wrote this, which I’ve never shared on this blog and think that it actually is a perfect representation of Category Management applied to the game of golf.  The logic I was using in golf was that by focusing on the scorecard that the professionals use, we were ignoring ALL the other Value Drivers AND that was probably impacting shooting your best golf.  Similarly, the point we try to make in CM is that by negatively focusing primarily on the wrong metric(Price/Cost), not only do we sub-optimize ALL the other Value Drivers but actually end up sub-optimizing actually achieved Price/Cost as well.


 Golf Blog

Monday, November 22, 2010

7:14 AM



Okay, if you made it through the title, let me get the price, cost stuff out of the way. My advice is free….nothing to buy here…seriously!! All I ask is that you try this for 7-8 rounds and just send me some feedback, if you care to. I am not in the business of selling anything remotely related to golf. I’m a management consultant by profession and help run a small firm that also has nothing remotely to do with golf or the golf industry. Other than everyone in the firm having to put up with my golf life. And what I am going to ask you to try will not cost you anything. I promise. Other than a willingness to try it for a few rounds. No new equipment. No new training aids. No magic balls. Special grip gloves…nope. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I promise not to try and sell you any new methodology or CD sets. You don’t have to identify yourself to me for any follow up. There is no mailing list to sign up for and be bombarded. Hope I haven’t forgotten anything?

Let me get another quick thing out of the way. My assumption is that this will have very little impact if you are already a good player (10-12). I would love to hear your thoughts about what I have to say and if you agree, then perhaps you could encourage others to try this approach?

Let’s get the round started with where we are today (or the first hole if you will). Depending on where you may have read it, most people playing golf in the good old USA struggle to break a 100. And by most, I mean significantly over 90%. That is an astonishing number. Let that sink in. And apparently it hasn’t changed since the early 1900’s. The average score has hovered around a 100. Yup…..waggle your driver over that one for a second. With all those improvements in course design, equipment, research, blah, blah,blah. Now some will argue that the average also includes people who may play 1-2 rounds a year. Ok, fair argument. But the composition of the people playing golf hasn’t changed that much either I assume? Meaning the average number of rounds played by all the people that make up that average score of a 100…n’est ce pas? So can we get past arguing where we are and focus on perhaps why we are here and what to do different? Oooooops, I forgot another thing in the first paragraph. I am not asking you to try a new grip, swing, stance, waggle, and alignment blah blah blah. Although people have told me that playing with me is good for their averages (if they can put up with my cigars and my analysis of their swings!!).

Given the above statistics, it would be interesting to understand why most people play golf? In a very informal poll I conducted it turns out that there is a very consistent list of reasons people come up with (in no particular order):

  • Enjoy being outdoors for 4-5 hours
  • Camaraderie, 19th hole etc. etc.
  • Improve my game
  • Not get frustrated or hold up play for others
  • Win(when I’m competing)

Now you may have others but would you be willing to agree that if we broadened these definitions and agreed on those definitions, then perhaps most of your reasons might fit under them? Or, would you agree that while this may not represent your list, then perhaps it may represent the list for a significant number of people who play golf? In that case, let’s move on to the next hole?

Now nowhere in that list will you ever see a need or desire to be a playing pro, semi-pro, golf professional, golf teacher etc. etc. Yet, yet…..we all use the same scorecard that they use. We are all trying to get as close to 72 as possible. Our entire life we chase that mythical number. On every hole our target is par? And while the scorecard is a perfectly valid device for competition, it may not be the best device for learning and improving? And if you are at least willing to consider that question, then we may have something to talk about. So meet me outside the clubhouse. I have a couple of cold ones and some cigars (if you smoke).

Why do you need a scorecard when you are either learning the game or when you are playing to improve (meaning you are not competing so no need to keep score)? Some would argue that it is a good way of knowing if you had a good round or not. Ok, please raise your hand if you need to maintain a detailed scorecard to know if you had a good round, an average round or you were better off staying at home? And if you think you do, try playing a couple of rounds without a scorecard and see if you can tell what kind of round you had? I betcha you can! Now if you need a little bit more structure in your golf game, just keep score of your pars and bogeys (or pars and birdies if you are a better player).

The other thing I would like you to do is to play every par 4 as a par 5 and every par 5 as a par 6. So every time you come to one of those, just add 1 stroke and play for that score. All right, it may sound goofy and you may have heard it somewhere before but what the heck. You’ve probably tried everything else? And it’s all sitting in your closet or garage? And this don’t cost you no money!

Once in a while (every 5-6 “rounds”), if you want and are suffering from withdrawal symptoms, go ahead and use the scorecard the way it was intended. Otherwise, use the scorecard to plan out every hole after adding one stroke to every par 4 and par 5.

That’s it for the changes I’m asking you to consider. Hey, what did you expect for how much you paid and I threw in a triple money back guarantee????? Here are some additional thoughts to consider. What I am suggesting is that you focus on the “value” that you are looking for when you play golf and make sure that your plan to get at that value is aligned. I see so many clients where significant value is literally being destroyed right in front of their eyes. In this case, the “value” is not to get to 72 yet our plan is all designed to get us to 72 and the metrics we use are built on that premise and our equipment, practice everything is built around that. Our value is in those Intended Consequences that we talked about earlier. Now, I’m sure you have also figured out that by using this approach, I am really re-defining the scorecard to be 86? Very good, Mr. Holmes. Sure, that may be one way of thinking about it. Let’s not try to go from a 100 to a 72 because it has serious Unintended Consequences (Frustration, wrong equipment? Wrong practice?) that actually end up destroying “value”. So if you would like to (sometime in the future), use a scorecard with an 86 on it…fine by me! As long as you only allow yourself the extra strokes on the 4’s and 5’s. Because I want you to focus on each hole. And by the way, I have essentially converted all the par 4’s and 5’s into par 3’s. If you do the math, you will quickly figure out that on the par 4’s I am giving you 2 shots to get it within 165 yds.(average par 3?). If the average par 4 is 400 yds., that gives you 2 shots to hit your ball 235 yds. or 118 yds. per shot. Same logic on the par 5’s.

So go ahead and try it at least. I have tried this myself and have had others try and the results have been very, very consistent. Significant improvement in the game and immensely more fun on the golf course. What do you have to lose? I already took all immediate and future costs off the table.


1 Comment

Leave A Reply

Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.