Marcia and I went out to practice our short game and Tim McKeiver, London Hunt’s Head Professional, was practicing his putting. He played a game with 4 balls and worked around the putting green through the nine holes. The holes had lengths of 25 to 40 feet. To get himself in the frame of mind to sink some putts from this length he would pick up a ball if he made one and only play 3 balls on the next hole. If he three putted he would have to put a ball back down (maximum 4 balls). The purpose is preventing three putts and trying to sink what could be birdies.
Marcia and I played a different game. We both played 2 balls around 9 holes and putted them all out with a par on each hole of 2. We then kept track of our scores by how much we were over or under par. With this I gave Marcia a handicap. If she won, her handicap came down for the next round. If I won, her handicap went up. If we do this many times over the year, we will break even as the handicap adjustment will even out the competition over time.
Afterward we went over to the chipping green and each took 5 balls to see who could get more inside a club length with a chip. On the first round we each got 2, so no handicapping was necessary and we played a best of 7 round with 5 balls each.
I believe that, if you keep score of your practice, you will end up with better scores on the course. Many people say to me that they hit the ball well on the practice tee but do not play the same on the course. In my opinion scoring is a major reason. Once you get on the course and need to keep score, there is a human tendency to tighten up. If you practice scoring this sensation can be reduced.
In golf, not every putt will drop. But to improve scoring one needs to limit the damage (keep it to 2 putts). In investing, not every stock will rise. But to improve return one needs to limit the damage (cut the losers). The more often we work on these skills, the more natural they become when they matter most.
I love the cover on this magazine. There is some good advice for all of us to help introduce the game of golf, a game of life to some children in our lives.
** I have prepared this commentary to give you my thoughts on various investment alternatives and considerations which may be relevant to your portfolio. This commentary reflects my opinions alone, and may not reflect the views of National Bank Financial Group. In expressing these opinions, I bring my best judgment and professional experience from the perspective of someone who surveys a broad range of investments. Therefore, this report should be viewed as a reflection of my informed opinions rather than analyses produced by the Research Department of National Bank Financial **