Home   Bury St Edmunds   Sport   Article

Subscribe Now

Simon Byford’s golf column: Three tips to improve your 2024 scoring

The turn of the calendar year will always bring about fresh hope and renewed perspective on many areas of our lives, and it should be a time that we look forward to great golf in 2024.

From my 20-plus years of coaching golf, here are three ways I think you can easily improve your scoring potential this year, without changing your swing.

Firstly, and this may sound obvious, but please take a good look at how your ball is lying before choosing your shot.

Simon Byford is looking forward to seeing what 2024 has in store out on the golf course
Simon Byford is looking forward to seeing what 2024 has in store out on the golf course

I see so many people while out on playing lessons, blindly grabbing their fairway wood if the shot is over 200 yards, or selecting their lob wedge for a short pitch.

If the ball is sitting on a bare patch of mud, it will be very hard to strike the ball cleanly with a lob wedge, and maybe an 8 or 9 iron would give more consistent rewards.

The same goes for the long shot. If you are in the rough, it could be more sensible to hit a mid-iron down the hole and then wedge on to the green, rather than risk the wood that you might not move as far.

The next area for easy improvement is to find a simple process and stick to it. A lot is often made over a pre-shot routine, but I would also include your post-shot reaction to that.

The best players I see will have a clear process from the moment they arrive at the ball, to the moment the club goes back in the back after the shot is hit. It is also imperative that you leave the previous shot behind as you move on. Don’t take any negative emotions through to the next shot, there is literally nothing you can do about what has happened.

The final area I would recommend is to find out how far your clubs actually go, and then trust this.

Please take your ego, or how far a club once went (with a dry hard fairway, favouring wind etc) out of the equation. If you can get on a launch monitor with a pro and go through your bag getting carry numbers, this is the optimal.

There are driving ranges locally with built in data systems that you can go on for yourself, but even if you just go to the practice ground at your club and hit 10 balls with your 6,8 iron and PW. Then walk out to the average distance of where the balls have finished, this will give you a starting point. Then when you play, trust the yardage your device (or fairway marker posts) give you.

Stowmarket GC

The Stowmarket members competed for the Bill Crane Trophy, a mixed Stableford event.

Paul Clarke will have his name on the honours board after returning a very credible 38 points. Ben Grogan got the nod from the count for second place, with Jane King third after the pair both scored 37 points.

There was also a weekend of Stablefords for the men. In the Saturday Stableford, Dan Ruegg topped the pile in Division 1 with 40 points, with Trevor Golton taking a pause from his club managerial roles to claim second place. Frank Bennett stormed Division 2 with 43 points, and Nigel Burch was second with 38.

In the Sunday edition, Grogan went one better and emerged victorious, this time in Division 1. He was once again again aided by the count, which determined his 38 points to be marginally better than Colin Leathers, who scored the same.

In Division 2 George Prentice scored 39 points to lead, with Ian Hurst-Cotton second on 38.

The Hangover Stableford also took place (which the author is guessing occurs on New Year’s Day). It was a fantastic start to the year for Matt Holbrook, who showed a clean head to came out the correct side of the count’s calculations and win Division 1 on 36 points, beating off Liam Double.

In Division 2, the world was a little more hazy, with 34 points the winning score by Simon Simson. He was one shot ahead of Dan Allen on 33.

Division 3 continued this trend of more commitment to the NYE party than the golf (leave that to the superstars in Division 1), however Donna Brown emerged victorious on 32 ahead of Jane King on 30 points.

The Suffolk GC

Continuing the trends as the most competitive club in the county, The Suffolk managed to hold three competitions between Christmas and New Year, which is amazing.

Before Christmas, however, the Suffolk Seniors held their Turkey Scramble. They used the Florida Scramble format, where each member of the team receives a different percentage of their handicap to make up the team handicap allocation. The scoring was excellent with every team of three returning level par or better.

It was the team of Haslett Schofield, Derek Bloomfield and Roy Bance who were the winners, scoring both the lowest gross and nett score, 82 for nett 67. Andrew Rudd, Ian Jonsson and Paul Anderson were second with a nett 68.

Chris Tate showed that the mince pies had no effect on his golf in the December 27 Midweek Medal.

A fantastic gross 74 from his 6 handicap was good enough to see off Ivan Snelling, who was one shot adrift on nett 69.

The Seniors’ Stableford on the next day was a happy hunting ground for Richard Graves, who scored 36 points. In second place, still full from his Seniors’ Turkey win a few day prior, was Schofield on 33 points. The gross 74 and a subsequent handicap cut wasn’t enough for Tate, he was determined to finish the year in style.

In the regular social event held on New Year’s Eve, Chris scored 44 points from his new 5 handicap. This is 8 under his handicap, which equates to 3 under par and a gross 69.

David Wilbraham and Edward Moore, who both returned 41 points from their 10 handicaps, would have to settle for second and third place respectively. Congratulations Chris, you have always been a fine player and this score hopefully gives us an indicator of what’s to come in 2024.

Bury St Edmunds GC

Just the one competition for the members of Bury St Edmunds and it was a Men’s Midweek Stableford.

Richard Conway was the highest scoring player on the day, returning 35 points. Ben Aves and Guy Holland both had 33 points, and with his final act of the year, the count determined Ben’s back nine to be superior.

To everyone who read this column, let me wish you a prosperous 2024, filled with many many great golfing weeks.