The title, “How I Cut 50 Strokes Off My Golf Scores,” gets any golfer’s attention, and, of course, that’s the idea, author Fred Fields says.
But, Fields quickly adds, “It’s true.”
Fields, a retired Columbia developer who has survived cancer and heart surgery, says the title, and the book, “is the story of my golf game. I hope it will intrigue people, and they can do the same things I did to improve their games.”
Maybe many golfers don’t need to chop 50 strokes off like Fields did. He started in the high 120s, steadily improved, and, eventually, earned a 6 handicap by regularly shooting in the 70s. But the advice he offers in his second book on improving scores can help players at any level, especially beginners and high handicappers.
“The game is ‘stay in play, and chip and putt like a genius,’ ” he says. “Any golfer can train himself to be a genius around the greens with chipping and putting. Those are easy shots. When you chip and putt well, your scores will automatically be lower.”
“Stay in play” is sound advice that so often is ignored. Even the best fall prey. Think about Phil Mickelson’s and Sam Snead’s “near misses” in U.S. Opens, Fields says.
This is Fields’ second book on his approach to improving golf games. His first, “How Short-Hitting, Bad Golfers Break 90 All the Time,” sold more than 14,000 copies.
“Distance is great, but it isn’t crucial,” Fields says, and recalls the 2008 U.S. Open. Tiger Woods outdrove Rocco Mediate by 30 yards or more, yet the two had the same score after 90 holes, which included an 18-hole playoff. Woods won on the 91st hole.
Fields, a member of Columbia CC and Fort Jackson GC, advocates an easy, simple and natural swing, and utilizing strategy. He quotes Bob Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan on the importance to “thinking” on the course, and points out a drive, approach shot to the green and two putts create the same score as a drive, second close to the green, a chip and a putt.
“The game most amateurs play and the game the pros play are far different,” he says. “I judge my shots on a scale of 1 to 5 with a ‘1’ saving a stroke and a ‘5’ costing me a stroke such as hitting out-of-bounds or into the water. So, play to your strength and master the short game.”
Fields’ book is available online at amazon.com and in the Columbia area at Woods and Wedges, and Play It Again Sports, for $9.99. The Kindle version is $2.99.
Women’s eventsThe Women’s SCGA season, which opens Tuesday with a pair of one-day events, will feature major tournaments at some of the state’s top courses, climaxed by the Women’s Amateur in September at the Patriot at Grand Harbor in Ninety Six.
The organization’s majors begin March 22-24 with the Team Championship at Dataw Island Club. The Country Club of Lexington will host the Women’s Senior on May 11-13, and the Match Play will be staged at Carolina CC (Spartanburg) June 15-19. The Junior championship is set June 22-25 at Sunset CC in Sumter. The complete schedule is available at wscga.org.
Chip shotsIn the Columbia Golfweek Amateur Tour event at Fort Jackson GC, flight winners included Aaron Hawkins (championship), Mike Griggs (A), Dave Ezell (B), Jeff Orr (C) and Paul Sharples (D). Players compete in flights based on handicap indexes. The next event is Saturday at the Members Club’s WildeWood course. For information, go to a mateurgolftour.net or call John Livoti (866) 918-4653. ...
Five-time champion Davis Love III, recently named captain of the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team, has committed to play in the RBC Heritage, set for April 16-19 at Harbour Town GL on Hilton Head Island.