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hendog

Backing Off

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I'm having a lot of trouble backing off a shot once I get set and ready. Several times over the weekend and many times over the last month or so I've been ready to pull the trigger and something gets my attention. Could be someone clicking the parking brake on a cart, someone walking off the tee (not cool of them but not that big a deal for a casual round) or anything else. My mind just goes into this loop of "Don't think about it. Just hit" Of course if I am thinking that then I am not thinking about the shot.

It happened Sunday on the first tee and I started with triple! The rest of the front 9 I just wasn't comfortable and shot 49!! I took Romeo's advice on the back (hat on backwards, tee behind ear, double tie shoe etc) and shot 39 and that INCLUDED me again losing focus on 17 when I heard a cart brake click and yanked it OB for what ended up being a double. I don't really want to play every round looking like a douche bag though.

I don't know what I'm looking for here other than maybe some experiences others have had and how you approached it.

Thanks

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Your handicap is way better than mine, so I don't know if this is advice, but is my experience anyway.  I never back off.  Once I'm in there, time to go.  If I was in an important tourney or something, I could see doing it.  But there is something to get distracted by too often to be backing off all the time.

I can't say that it doesn't affect my shot from time to time, but I can say that I have gotten better and  better over time at not letting it distract me.  I play a faster game than I used to.  Hit the ball - walk over to it and hit it again.  It seems to have helped my game.

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Originally Posted by hendog

I'm having a lot of trouble backing off a shot once I get set and ready. Several times over the weekend and many times over the last month or so I've been ready to pull the trigger and something gets my attention. Could be someone clicking the parking brake on a cart, someone walking off the tee (not cool of them but not that big a deal for a casual round) or anything else. My mind just goes into this loop of "Don't think about it. Just hit" Of course if I am thinking that then I am not thinking about the shot.

It happened Sunday on the first tee and I started with triple! The rest of the front 9 I just wasn't comfortable and shot 49!! I took Romeo's advice on the back (hat on backwards, tee behind ear, double tie shoe etc) and shot 39 and that INCLUDED me again losing focus on 17 when I heard a cart brake click and yanked it OB for what ended up being a double. I don't really want to play every round looking like a douche bag though.

I don't know what I'm looking for here other than maybe some experiences others have had and how you approached it.

Thanks

Noises don't usually distract me. Maybe it's because I've always played with people that seem oblivious to the fact that someone besides them is also playing golf, or that someone is often shooting a rifle on the land next to the course I play. Whatever the reason I'm used to almost anything going on as I'm hitting or getting ready to hit and probably wouldn't notice if a train was coming down the fairway.

One thing that really does mess me up is if my club catches in the grass on the takeaway. Doesn't happen often but when it does I am guaranteed of hitting a bad shot. There is no good reason why I shouldn't be able to stop my swing at that point and start over again but for some reason I can't. I even had it happen with a driver this year. There was a tee with the top broken off stuck in the ground behind my ball and I didn't know it was there. It caught in one of the grooves for the weights in the back of the club and almost brought the club to a stop and (sure enough) I tried to continue on with my swing and hooked it OB.

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Play some "no holds barred" type of games with your buddies. Put the scorecards away and HAVE FUN. Chatter, distractions (short of screaming in your ear on your backswing) including tossing a tee into your peripheral vision, jingling change in pockets, etc... If you have spent any time at a muni type of course, almost every shot will be preceded by someone not paying attention to the surroundings. Tees and greens are close together, so a shout or two from the guys on the green for someones birdie will carry to where you are. You learn to ignore almost everything.. EXCEPT what might be important to you like a sudden wind gust that makes you back away, or a"feeling" that isn't quite right. Nobody will think you're a D'bag for wanting to get it right. It's only if you CONSTANTLY do it and then eff up the shot every time, will you be thought of badly.
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I have tried to get myself to be able to play with distractions. I do my pre shot routine, and then go address the ball. If I am at all uncomfortable, I will back off. Typically though even if someone is talking, I drown it out with the image of what exactly I want my ball to do and then I let it rip.

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I have a set routine to go through before each shot.. But once I set up.. It's not like your forced to hit it.. I just wait until I feel comfortable (5 secs) and then just swing away. If something is uncomfortable like my stance or posture.. I'll back off. As for noises and things.. Just back off take a quick breath and go!
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All I can say it that distractions are part of the game.  You just have to learn to deal with them.  When I'm into my routine, nothing bothers me.  People can just talk away, no big deal.  In fact, when someone apologizes for it, I don't usually even know that anyone was talking.  I can shut it all out.  Playing 40 years of public course golf teaches you to ignore distractions.

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Noise doesn't typically bother me...  Unless it is someone driving a cart up on me while I'm hitting a shot say out in the fairway and I've gone ahead of them to get my yardages, and then go to pull the trigger after they hit their shot from further back... And they come rumbling up in the cart.  It's always unsettling when you hear a cart approaching from behind.

I especially get irritated when I'm hitting a pitch shot or a short yardage shot around the green and someone is pulling a cart up or walking and not paying attention instead of standing still while I attempt the shot.  And I can see them off in the peripheral view. The same thing ticks me off when I'm putting and someone is standing in my peripheral vision - or one my line (in front or behind me).

But going back to the noise issue... This thread made me chuckle and think back to the round I played yesterday on Memorial Day... We played and one of my playing partners was on the tee and two geese were flying and making a ton of noise in flight just as he began to swing... And he made contact with the ball/driver right when they were ~ 15 yards directly above his head.  And amazingly he kept it together and hit a solid drive.  We were all laughing though after he hit the shot that we were afraid one of the geese were going to be destroyed by a golf ball as the timing of his swing was eerily close to their flight crossing path with the ball.

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The thing that gets me is the sudden noises. If people are talking or geese are honking or even kids playing in a yard not far away I can handle that so long as its fairly consistent. Its when all is quiet or calm and then something moves or clicks. The cart brake has been a big one for me lately. Its usually the group behind us at the previous green so its not even something that's inappropriate but that click just pops in my head. Or everyone standing on the tee nice and quiet and then someone bolting for the cart because they forgot something. Very unsettling.

The other one that gets me sometimes is related to another thread going on and that's the advice guy or general "how do you do that" guy. I try to be conversational and discuss how I approach my driver but then I start thinking about it so much I over think one and shank it. This one is totally my fault but its just another gremlin.

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Another way to get yourself into your own "zone" is to maintain a conversation with a buddy. Just a normal talking voice and follow all of your usual swing setups and routine. Because you are thinking about what you're saying you don't focus on what is going on around you. If you are alone, pick a favorite quote or song lyric (without actually singing it), Bible verse, etc... and speak in a regular conversational voice. I will often use that tactic when a sneaky 3-4 foot putt is on the line. Instead of thinking "make the putt, make the putt, make the putt...", my mind is elsewhere and I'm only thinking about what I'm saying- the muscle memory of 40 years of playing takes over. I relax and make a smoother stroke. Drives them nuts when they go in more times than not, especially when it might mean having to buy a round of drinks or not! Oh, and about those sudden "nature" noises... I play in Florida quite a lot and elsewhere in the Southeast. IT was a long standing joke when I played with my parents that whenever my Mother would be ready to hit, just as she would start her swing you would hear: "UH-OH"... We came to call it the "Uh-oh bird". No idea what kind of bird it is, just that it would always insult your shot JUST before you were ready to go.
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Originally Posted by Fourputt

All I can say it that distractions are part of the game.  You just have to learn to deal with them.  When I'm into my routine, nothing bothers me.  People can just talk away, no big deal.  In fact, when someone apologizes for it, I don't usually even know that anyone was talking.  I can shut it all out.  Playing 40 years of public course golf teaches you to ignore distractions.

Agreed. I have to really improve on tuning out sounds and other people if I'm ever going to get better. I tend to get self conscious if people are watching me take a shot. On one of the courses I play, the ground crew works all day. They are very good about shutting off the mowers until after the shot, but they're often near my target waiting for me. It's nobody's fault but mine if it distracts me. The biggest thing for me is to simply commit to the shot and not worry about the outcome.

This past weekend while getting ready to tee off, I heard the sound of carts and some god-awful sound coming towards me from the adjoining hole. It turned out to be a group of players chasing a turkey with their carts while making gobbling noises and yelling and laughing. It's funny now, but at the time it was way over the top. That's not the kind of distraction that I consider normal.

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Originally Posted by RayG

Oh, and about those sudden "nature" noises... I play in Florida quite a lot and elsewhere in the Southeast. IT was a long standing joke when I played with my parents that whenever my Mother would be ready to hit, just as she would start her swing you would hear: "UH-OH"... We came to call it the "Uh-oh bird". No idea what kind of bird it is, just that it would always insult your shot JUST before you were ready to go.

We have crows here that do the "AH-HA" voice from the Simpsons. Right above you in a tree. Very reassuring when you are about to hit

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Fuzzy Zoeller once suggested that the pros have a tournament where fans can talk, yell in the player's backswing, take pictures, heckle, etc.  That would be a hell of a spectacle.  We'd really find out who had the rabbit ears then.

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Originally Posted by NuclearMike

Fuzzy Zoeller once suggested that the pros have a tournament where fans can talk, yell in the player's backswing, take pictures, heckle, etc.  That would be a hell of a spectacle.  We'd really find out who had the rabbit ears then.

The problem would be finding enough players willing to put up with such nonsense to actually have a decent field.

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