mrobbie

How did you get to a single digit handicap?

291 posts in this topic

For those who are playing off single figures, how did you get there?

It's always been my goal, and I assume the same with many other golfers.

I've seen a number of players who get to this point in a very short time. Are you a naturally 'gifted' player, who picked up a club and everything just made sense and you got there with ease, or have you worked hard at it as often as possible to develop a single figure game? Have you had lessons over the years, or have you worked on your game yourself?
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For those who are playing off single figures, how did you get there?

Got down to 5 in three years of playing golf (although the first year was playing once a month at a local muni), so I wouldn't say the game came

that easily to me, but I have always had a natural swing and a fairly good short game. I do plan to get down to 2.5 this year which will obviously take a lot of hard work.
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Got down to 5 in three years of playing golf (although the first year was playing once a month at a local muni), so I wouldn't say the game came

This is what I mean by natural ability - to get to 5 in 3 years (IMHO) is pretty special. I've played for 20 years - 1st played when I was 8. I've never got the handicap lower than 16.3.

Ok, in some years I've suffered from a lack of practice through not playing regularly. But in the past few years I've played more regularly (eg Aug 06 to Jul 07 I played 18 holes most weekends and had an evening on the range & practice greens during the week. Never moved from 17 in that whole year despite the amount of practice time. I am going to get a lesson or 2 in the coming weeks, and take that theory to the practice ground & the course to see if I can get some improvement. My main weakness is consistency so I need to devlop routines to help me along the way.
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For those who are playing off single figures, how did you get there?

I worked at it, hard, for a few years. You can be a pretty bad golfer and get to a 9 handicap. Every stroke you shave off that is about 2x as hard as the one before it.

I've never taken lessons, but that's simply because I've liked figuring things out myself. Part of the enjoyment for me. I don't recommend others take this route if they want to improve as quickly as they can. Most 18 handicappers could become 9 handicappers inside of a month if they work on: a) course management b) putting c) short game (chipping, pitching)
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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

to get down to 5 or below and play to it consistently, golf needs to be your life and you need to play 2 to 5 times a week with practice .
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Not there yet although my ambition for the year is sub 8. I've been working hard on the wedges inside 100 yards based on Dave Pelz Short Game Bible. I reckon with a few more greens in regulation I should be single figures.

As many above have noted for me it is about getting the time to practise.
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Get a job as a bartender and play 5-6 times a week.
That's the only time I was single digit.
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... You can be a pretty bad golfer and get to a 9 handicap. Every stroke you shave off that is about 2x as hard as the one before it.

I am living proof that you can be a 9 and not be very good...

In all honesty though... I am 28, and have played off and on since 14. I played two years of JV in high school and had no long game to speak of. I was a damn good chipper and putter though. I then played in work leagues for about 5 years from 18-23. I would play once, maybe twice a week, never practice, etc... and I stayed a consistent bogey golfer. I then went back to college full-time and played very little golf until my last year. My last year I started playing almost weekly again, but only in the heart of summer... my short game was gone, but I started to improve my driving and ball-striking. I then took almost a complete summer off since I was getting married, moving, and starting law school. Then, the summer before last I got serious into wanting to improve... started keeping handicap and almost always playing 18. Went from 18ish to 13 in that summer (played about 45 rounds). Last summer I played about 50-60 rounds and went from a 13 to a 9. I currently sit at 9 and know that going lower will take some serious work. Like iacas I have figured out the swing for myself (mostly the past two years). The good news is my driving and ball striking is better than ever, all I need to do is tighten up my short game. I have now learned to move the ball left and right (big step for me) and control my shots a lot more. I think that with work I can get to 7 this year, but iacas is right... getting to a 9 is pretty easy with a little practice and good course management... it is going beyod that to low singles that is real difficult.
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I 1st picked up a golf club when I was 3 (even have proof, a Dummy in the mouth and I'm hacking at a ball with a plastic golf club) , I used to hit the range with my father quite a bit till I was around 9ish, when I started playing baseball, till about the age of 14, when I gave it up, and concentrated on my golf.

I had aspirations of being a pro, and would practice 5 days a week, and play on the weekend, somtimes 36 holes in one day. By ythe time I was 18, I was playing off a +1 and was regarded as one of the best golfers in my club, having won Junior Club Champs come 3rd in Senior champs, and played under 16 Provincial golf (like playing for my state)

Then came the realisation of girls, motorracing and alcohol... I stopped playing almost over night, and rarely played for 2years. Then the next 2 I played socially maybe every 3 months.

Over this time my handicap went up to a 3, but has since dropped back down to a 1 since the beginning of this year as I play ever more seriously, and I'm even considering playing scratch league (inter club league, where we all play off 0 in a match play format)

So it should be a great year ahead for me with regards to golf.
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It's a lot like weight loss or muscle gain - you gotta really put in a big push at the beginning, it is frustrating... and then once u hit a certain level of kickstart, the progress is rapid. then when you get to almost scratch things start stalling again. But I gotta say going from a 10 to a 2 was one of the most fun experiences of my life... I'm dying to get back to that 2 range this year.

Practice! With a purpose. Have a focus in mind, but don't overthink. Think a lot about how to play different shots, like what to do under a tree, how to work the ball. More than anything focus on your shots from 100 yards in - those are the feel shots, and feel will translate to helping every aspect of your game.

It is difficult to get a low handicap but not as difficult as you might think. If you put in the effort you will suddenly find your cap decreasing without you even realizing it - until you look at your card and realize you've suddenly jumped from 12 to 10 and then 10 to 7 for a cap.

The biggest difference by far I've experienced is that I am much more accurate now. Even my mishits are played "smarter" and end up in areas where a bogey can generally be saved. I'll still make several bogeys a round, but I used to make a lot more doubles. So much of it is mental. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. I still focused on "bogey" as my par till I became around a 7 handicap.. I'd think of a 79 on a par 72 as "11 under." I think it's a good way to go, it takes away a lot of pressure, gives you some shots, lets you have fun, and you stay grounded. It was only until I reached 6 and 5 that I started thinking about how many over par I was, rather than how many under bogey golf.
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I worked at it, hard, for a few years. You can be a pretty bad golfer and get to a 9 handicap. Every stroke you shave off that is about 2x as hard as the one before it.

Great point! I often think, if I could manage a 20+ handicappers game for them, I could instantly make them a better player. Maybe not a single digit right away, but definitely a vast improvement. Large part of this game is realizing your limitations. Yes, you may be able to hit that driver 275yds, but as a high handicapper, your more likely to hit a slice, so put that thing away and hit the 3 wood. As in any sport, it takes time and effort. You cant do it just playing 9 holes every sunday. You have to be willing to spend some long hours hitting balls and analyzing every part of your game, with or without the aid of an instructor. To get better: 1) Learn how to manage YOUR game. This includes understanding risk management. 2) Short game. Cause this is where you make the birdies, and keep yourself from making doubles.
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Worked on a consistent set-up. Then worked on my short game. Then worked on short game even more. Learned to play to my misses. Worked on short game again.

SubPar
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im not a single digit but my dad is a 5-7 handi and he told me

very simple 1 step........ PLAY AND HAVE FUN!

just get out there and play youll get better along the way......
thats what i do i just kept playing over and over day after day and guess what my whole golf game turned around..... my country club is a 9 hole course but my scoring went from not making any pars at all to maybe one if im lucky, to 3 sometimes 4 a round.....so i say get out there and enjoy the game youll become a great golfer if you have fun
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I play almost everyday during from April to December. I take one lesson to start every year to make sure any wintertime rust is gone. I try to play at least 5 local tourneys per year including at least one match play to sharpen my mental game. And most importantly, I always try to work on my biggest weakness until it isn't killing me as much. (Currently it is putting.) I saw once where Hank Kheune said that since he doesn't get to practice everyday, he keeps sharp by making sure that when he does get out to practice, he maximizes every minute of that time by setting goals for each range session instead of just beating balls.
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to get down to 5 or below and play to it consistently, golf needs to be your life and you need to play 2 to 5 times a week with practice .

Sorry but that could not be further from the truth.

Anyways, course management and short game to repeat a couple of them. I see so many players that make stupid mistakes that cost 2-3 shots a round. Thats a 77 instead of an 80 and 82/85 etc. Its like anything you have to work on it. I dont get to play a lot but I work on my game in my house, putting, checking positions. Practicing my takeaway to engrain it in my brain. You can work on form and posture and the meta game easily without being on the course. A guy I work with and myself constantly talk about golf shots adn when to hit what and what situation. Why to or why not to go for the green/a certain type of shot.
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I have been very spoiled from a stance of learning the game of golf. I have played golf and belonged at Champions Run Country Club ever since I can remember. My dad was a pro and still remains a scratch golfer, so I have had a personal instructor all of my life. That being said, I didn't take the game of golf seriously until about last year. My handicap went from a 9.2 to a 1.2. I hope to get to a +1 by the end of this year. I have already put up some good scores this year and feel like I should be able to contend in tournaments more often.
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I would love it if my dad was a pro, instead he plays off about 28
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