Want to hole more birdies? Then pretend you’re putting for par

Are you a sports fan-atic? Do you like to gamble with buddies on the golf course?  Do you ever wonder why you miss so many birdie putts?  Would it surprise you to know that the first pick in the NFL draft is worth LESS than the first pick in the 2nd round?

Then I’ve found a book you must read – Scorecasting by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim.

Now, I’m not a big follower of other sports.  Given my fanaticism for golf, I just don’t have time for much else.  I do enjoy baseball, however, and never miss the opening game of the Seattle Mariners every spring.

Next year I’m thinking of heading to Arizona with my golfguy for the Mariner’s spring training.  Imagine, golf in the morning and baseball in the afternoon.  Throw in an occasional basketball game at night and you’ve got sports-lover heaven.

If this sounds like your kind of getaway, then you will love this book.

Without giving away too much, I will share one “game-changer” Moskowitz and Wetheim call “loss aversion”.  Based on a study of 421 players on the PGA Tour and using Tiger Woods as an example (nice marketing move gentlemen ;)), the authors describe how golfers faced with exactly the same putt for par or birdie are more likely to hole the par putt than the birdie putt.  Their aversion to loss (bogey) is greater than their attraction to a gain (birdie).

When I read that, I recalled some of Anthony Robbin’s principle’s of pain and pleasure.  According to Robbins, pain is a bigger motivator than pleasure.  Interesting…

I kept thinking about some of the exceptional players on tour who are held back by their putting. Suzann Petterson immediately came to mind — 12 top 10 finishes and never missed a cut in 2010.  I think she should be the world’s number one player, but she never took home a trophy last year because of her T63 putting average.  I think Suzann needs to  read this book.

I also thought about my favorite baseball team. I believe every Mariner needs to read this book to understand the mental side of a 3-2 count.

What will the pitcher throw next if the batter started with a 2-0 count versus starting with a 0-2 count?

It’s pretty interesting what the pitcher and batter is more likely to do on the next throw.  But you’ll need to read the book to find out what 😉

Scorecasting is a must read book for any sports fanatic or even gambler.  It is not only a great read with entertaining anecdotes (loved the one about the totally unconventional football coach who never punted on a 4th down), it makes watching sports a lot more interesting.  I can’t watch a golf tournament now without looking for the par/birdie scenario to play itself out.

I wonder if you can trick your brain into thinking a putt is for par rather than birdie.  Not sure how to do that, but maybe David over at Golf State of Mind can help us with that. 


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  1. Monique Agatep Ignacio

    I love Indian Wells! One of my favorite courses!

  2. Thanks Monique! I haven’t played but am really hoping to soon.

    Just saw a special deal on http://www.sniqueaway.com/invite/golfgal

    Might just give it a try!

    Enjoy BB. Hope to chat with you when the interviews start.


  3. Nice article. The mind is a powerful thing. When you can harness that power on the course, it is wonderful.

  4. Thanks Mike! It is wonderful. I wish I had a pill for that 😉


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