By Arlen Bento Jr., USGTF Member, Jensen Beach, Florida

Do you or your students still have a lot of mistakes on holes that are keeping your score from being lower? You may need to look at how you miss on the golf course to make improvements.

For many players, understanding how and why they miss on the golf course is a very important part of game improvement. If you study  your golf game as we do in our golf instruction programs, including my “Bento Golf Method,” you start to see tendencies. These tendencies  define a player’s game and show how them how to make improvements.

Years ago, I came up with a concept that I call “P-M-I Miss Identifiers.” This concept has been very successful in the development of my  players. When you play golf, you miss shots. Over time, the idea is that you need to identify and categorize those missed shots and eliminate  them from your scorecard.

For example, I once had a player who was stuck at scoring in the low 80s. After looking over a few scorecards and using my P-M-I Miss Identifier system, we determined that his 3-wood was costing him 3-4 shots a round. Before his next round, we took out the 3-wood, used a 5- wood instead, and he shot a 75. We spent time working on the 3-wood over the next few weeks to figure out why the 3-wood was not working  well. We made improvements and inserted the 3-wood back into his bag. This is a simple example, but the concept is powerful and creates the basis for my P-M-I Miss Identifier system.

Another example of how the P-M-I Miss Identifier system works is we had a good player who was having a tough time backing up a low- 70s score on the second day of a 36-hole golf tournament. The player would score a 73 on the first day, then come back the next day with an  81. This is very common in golf.

We broke down his golf scorecard using P-M-I Miss Identifiers and found that the majority of his misses were coming with his 6-, 5- and 4- irons that he was using to hit at the flag on longer par-4 holes and longer par-3 holes. We developed a strategy for him not to hit at any flags  with those clubs, play for the middle of the green, and making sure that if he caught a really good hit that the shot could not get to the back of  the green. This strategy eliminated 2-3 shots per round and protected his birdies from bogeys or worse on these long shots. His scores went  down and he was able to shoot more tournament rounds back-to-back in the low 70s that earned him a college scholarship.

My P-M-I Miss Identifier system offers an analysis of your golf round by looking at how many misses you create on your scorecard. To use  this system, you need to go back through your round and identify every miss or mistake that you made during your round – anything that  costs you a stroke!

There are three types of misses in every golf round in my P-M-I Miss Identifier system. The first miss is a physical miss (P). A physical miss  is just a bad swing or bad technique. When you analyze your scorecard, you label every physical miss with a “P.” An example of a physical  miss could be a slice swing out of bounds, a fat shot from the middle of the fairway with an iron, or a chili-dip on a chip shot.

The second kind of miss is a mental miss (M). A mental miss is any time you just did not have the proper focus on a shot. Examples of  mental misses include getting distracted by people talking or a golf cart moving close by. Even a course worker driving a mower across the  fairway 200 yards away that catches your eye, if you were distracted and you were not focused on your shot and missed, is a mental miss.  When you analyze your scorecard, you label every mental miss with an “M,”

The third kind of miss is an intellectual miss (I). An intellectual miss happens when you try to hit a shot that is just not a good decision  based on your skill set, or a shot that has a very low probability for success. Examples of intellectual misses including trying to hit a low-lofted  club out of the rough, or trying to hit a delicate flop shot off a hardpan lie. When you analyze your scorecard, you label every intellectual miss with the letter “I.”

Breaking down your golf game with my P-M-I Miss Identifiers is a very powerful tool to help with golf improvement. As players break  down their golf rounds, we find tendencies based on my P-M-I Miss Identifier system.

If a player has a lot of physical misses, we need to take a look at instruction, working on how to better hit the clubs that are causing the  misses. If a player has a lot of mental misses, we need to take a look at a better pre-shot routine, or recognizing when we lose our focus and  develop a plan to refocus before we hit a golf shot. If a player has a lot of intellectual misses, we need to talk about shots and the ability to pull shots off, how and why shots work and learning more about the percentages of execution.

Normally, when we do an analysis for P-M-I Miss Identifiers, we find 10-15 misses per round for most mid-handicappers. Once we have  identified these misses, we come up with a strategy to eliminate these misses from the scorecard, ultimately lowering the score of the player.

Arlen Bento Jr. is an award winning golf coach and “Top 100” world-recognized golf instructor. He is the former head golf professional of  the PGA Country Club in PGA Village, Florida, and former director of golf/general manager of Eagle Marsh Golf Club in Jensen Beach,  Florida. He operates his indoor golf center in Stuart, Florida, and his outdoor golf academy in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he specializes in  player development and offers his highly successful “Bento Golf Method” to players that want to learn how to get better. For more information, you can contact him via his website
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