How to Break Par Like Wells Adams

Updated: Nov 16

Welcome to My Best Score Ever, a new mini-series from The Par Train where we examine the ins and outs of players who have recently shot their personal best.

In this session we look into a couple Best Scores Ever from Wells Adams of The Bachelor fame, as well as The Par Train’s own, Evan Singer who sit down to report what it took to score their personal bests.

Before The Round

A quality process is key to giving yourself the best chance at scoring your best. The average tour player spends between 45 minutes to an hour and a half warming up. Some of us don’t have that kind of time. If not the same amount of time, at least an equal amount of shots by percentage could be taken. A reasonable warm-up breaks up shots into thirds between putting, chipping and full swings. For older players or those with physical limitations, this might be adjusted to include more or less full swings depending on what their body needs to feel appropriately stretched, but not exhausted by the end of the round.

Developing a quality process can be dynamic, altering order or amount of time. The goal is to find a few exercises that help a player to feel relaxed and confident. Psychologically, it is to anticipate the next shot, starting with the first shot as a chance to enjoy the feeling of hitting a pure golf shot.

The Opening Tee

The mechanics to a golf score are not complicated. However, at the first tee, it is easy to get lost in feelings of fear, as if the first shot is going to carry more weight than any other shot during the day. As has been previously expressed on The Par Train podcast, a round is nothing more than a collection of individual shots. The goal is to remember that the trick to playing your best is not by hoping to play your best, fantasize over scoring low or fearing shooting high. It is by focusing on each individual shot and repeating a process to give yourself the best chance as possible to making that shot happen.

Work from the pin backwards.

Ben Hogan used to walk the entire course backwards before a tournament. I imagine this was a meditative time, but also a chance to see the course from the perspective of the designer. The average player might not have the time to stroll the entire course. The point is to try to see the course from the green to the tee.

There are great apps available for players to look at each hole from a satellite view and strategize accordingly. Whether this is done before a round or on the tee for each hole, it is a key piece of process to have a plan which works from the ideal putt, backwards to the tee shot that will provide the greatest possibility for success.

Look for the Uphill Putt

Uphill puts provide a physically greater chance of being made. This is a physical phenomena that has to do with the nature of gravity. The area of putts that will go in expands when being rolled uphill. If hit on a downhill putt, will lip. This will be consistently reiterated, if a score is anything, it is the result of probabilities and skill. By behaving in such a way to deliver the greatest probabilities for success, a player can reduce stressful situations and take advantage of physics. Each green or pin location is unique and may not lend itself to an uphill birdie putt. In these situations, the strategy would look for the easiest chance at avoiding three putts.

Find your Ideal Number

Getting on the green in regulation is a product of strategy and ball dispersion. Create a wedge matrix by knowing the distances of each wedge hit full, three quarters and half swing. Going through this process will help players understand their ideal distance. For example, sixty yards might be in between a three quarter sand wedge and a full lob wedge. This would make for an awkward distance and should be avoided. 110 yards might be a full swing with a gap wedge and as such is a preferable distance. Play to numbers. Whether on short par fours, or par fives, developing a favorite distance will position players to see more birdies as they can avoid low percentage shots that require a great amount of feel.

Large Targets are Easier to Hit

The typical mentality for most amateur players consists of hitting the ball as far as possible every shot. Course designers are aware of this tendency. If you review your local course, check out the distance to the trouble. How far down the fairway does it become more narrow? Professionals may seem untouchable from the perspective of driver distance and control. Of course they are better than everyone else in the world. A big part of their success derives from making better decisions.

I’ll share a personal example of a hole that recently caused an unnecessary double bogey. This is a fairly straightforward, easy par four. 347 yards from the back tees, slightly downhill with OB left, treeline right, and a huge tree in the middle (just left of the fairway bunker). Adjust distances as needed.

Option A) 290 Yards+ Driver-Chip In the history of playing this hole, I have only seen one occasion of someone driving this green. More often than not, longer hitters will end up left of the greenside bunker with an awkward 50 yard shot to a green that slopes away. Yet nearly every player sees this as a green-light special and bombs their drive. If not on the green, the best case scenario is a 25-50 yard chip from the fairway. This is typically an awkward distance to approach from as spin is limited and the green does not hold well since it is sloped from front to back.

Option B) 260 Yards 3 Wood / Hybrid-Wedge

Decreasing in risk is the play to the left portion of the fairway. This section of fairway narrows almost 50% and but leaves the player with an approach with a more full swing. While less risky than hitting driver, the question is, does the risk of hitting it to around 100 yards justify the nearly 50% reduction