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How did you get to a single digit handicap? - Page 8

post #127 of 270

I developed a consistent shank draw game. Aiming about 65 degrees left of the center of the fairway, hitting a shank then violently turning over my wrists at hozzle impact to draw the ball back to the center of the fairway. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done. Next I need to work on a shank fade, aiming 110 degrees to the left of the center of the fairway then shanking with an open hozzle.

post #128 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by kw purp View Post

I developed a consistent shank draw game. Aiming about 65 degrees left of the center of the fairway, hitting a shank then violently turning over my wrists at hozzle impact to draw the ball back to the center of the fairway. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done. Next I need to work on a shank fade, aiming 110 degrees to the left of the center of the fairway then shanking with an open hozzle.

KW purp I really don't appreciate this post.  Assuming that a higher HCP player could benefit from a good shank game is just wrong.  I have seen many other players develop quickly using the thin/fat game and also the coveted pull hook game where the player is required to line up 90* to the right of their target.  So before you blindly suggest that the shank game is right for a poster, please consider the turn right, pull-hook game. 

 

Best regards,

Concerned golfer

post #129 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by TJBam View Post

KW purp I really don't appreciate this post.  Assuming that a higher HCP player could benefit from a good shank game is just wrong.  I have seen many other players develop quickly using the thin/fat game and also the coveted pull hook game where the player is required to line up 90* to the right of their target.  So before you blindly suggest that the shank game is right for a poster, please consider the turn right, pull-hook game. 

 

Best regards,

Concerned golfer

You are right. For those who are right to left dominant a pull hook game can be more affect. I find it easier to shape a shank draw then a pull hook fade though. Just my humble opinion. Hope this helps mrobble!

post #130 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by kw purp View Post

You are right. For those who are right to left dominant a pull hook game can be more affect. I find it easier to shape a shank draw then a pull hook fade though. Just my humble opinion. Hope this helps mrobble!

I have found that the pull hook is quite easy to shape.  The club path should come so far inside that you graze your back leg, and then a sudden downward surge of your head accompanied by a cupped front wrist ensures the clubface will be tightly closed at impact.  Follow through by letting the club fly outside to really get the full inside-outside effect.  The golfer will benefit from having the ball too far back in his stance as well.  Coupled with the aggressive inside-outside swing this ball flight will pull wildly behind the golfer, and begin its violent hook approximately halfway through the flight.  An experienced golfer can effectively hit the ball behind him around his back if this delicate routine is taken appropriately.

post #131 of 270
When I said play once a week, I meant the local course. I consider the range work, not play a1_smile.gif
post #132 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post

 

A couple of things about this post interest me.  A pretty bad golfer getting to single digits sounds crazy to me.  I see a lot of bad golfers - and some decent ones.  And I don't see how any but a few of them are going to get to single digits inside a month.  I think course management can take them a long way - but from 18 to single digits sounds incredible.  

 

But more importantly - a, b, and c interest me.  I hear so many people talk about how important short game is to getting better scores - almost to the exclusion of everything else.  So I have a couple of questions I'd hope some better golfers could answer that might help me make sense of it:

 

1. What if a, b, and c are already the best parts of your game?  Do you still concentrate on it in lieu of ballstriking?

2. How good can you expect to get at short game - notably vs time spent working on it?

3. Why is ballstriking or getting better at fairway irons or driver practice almost never mentioned in how to get better scores?

4. How bad are 18 cap golfers at chipping?

 

I have only created stats for myself obviously - but I observe many different golfers on the weekend with my stats in mind as sort of a benchmark. It seems to me they are wasting an awful lot of shots by duffing and topping tee and fairway shots - and a ton by slicing drivers into the woods.  Sure, I see them duff and skull chips as well - but not any worse than other longer shots. 

 

I have b & c already.   I can't imagine going to single (from 15 handiap) in a month just improving on a.   IMO, in order to improve on a, I need to have more accurate ball striking.   So, that will be my focus.   But I have a full time job and I can't go to range every day to work on ball striking.   It will take more than a month to get to single.   I am giving myself a year to get to single unless I retire and start practicing 4 hours a day.

post #133 of 270

My tips are as follows:

 

1. Spend plenty of time on irons 6-9. Ball striking/solid approach shots will shed strokes quickly.

 

2. Play for the middle of the green. Don't go for the pins that are tucked back in the corner of greens or placed near the fringe. More times than not you will just get yourself in trouble. If you give yourself 2 putts every time, your bogeys will decrease dramatically. You will 3 putt occasionally, but you will also 1 put some. Regardless, it results in better scoring for you.

 

3. When struggling, shorten your swing. A shorter swing means less time to make mistakes.

 

4. Don't go for the great shot when the good shot will work. This kind of relates to #2, but can apply to many situations. Say you're on a par 5 and you know you can't make the green in two shots. Instead of pulling out the 3 wood for your second shot, why not just hit a long iron and keep it in the fairway? A longer approach shot from the fairway beats a closer shot from the rough.

 

5. Play for your distances. If you have the opportunity to leave yourself a half wedge into the green, it may be in your best interest to back it down a club or two so that you can have a full wedge or 9-iron into the green instead. For example, I would much rather hit from 110 yards than 80 yards.

post #134 of 270

the single biggest help for me was that i started keeping track of my statistics.  every time i go to the course, on the scorecard i write my name on the first line, fairways on the second line, GIR (green in regulation) on the third and putts on the fourth.  every hole, i write down Y or N (for yes or no, obviously) as to whether i hit the fairway or GIR and then i'll write down how many putts i took on the green.  if i miss the GIR but still save par, i write down N for GIR, but then i circle the N to let myself know i got up and down.  once i get home, i put all of that info into myscorecard.com, which is like $10 a year and will calculate your handicap as well as your averages in all of these stat categories.

 

here's an example of what my scorecard looks like at the end of a round (though this is an exceptional scorecard, the best round i've ever played in my life to date.  also, yes, i realize i only hit 9 fairways but mistakenly wrote down 10 as the total):

 

 

 

so after putting several scores in and getting an accurate assessment of each of the major parts of my game, i looked up the tour professional numbers.  they hit 12 greens per round on average, i was hitting 5.  they get up and down for par 60% of the time, i was only getting up and down 30% of the time.  they take 29 putts per round, i took 34.  so i told myself, okay.  i want to get my greens in regulation and scrambling both up to 50% and i want to get my putts per round down to 30.  i've been working on those goals for about six months now, and i'm pleased to report that as of this moment, my GIRs are 49%, scrambling is 42% and my putting average is down to 31, so i'm pretty close to all of my goals.  all of that put together has taken my average score down from 85 to 78.

 

obviously it takes practice and work in conjunction with knowing your stats, but for me, it was key having concrete numbers and equally concrete goals that really allowed me to progress forward.  it wasn't a matter anymore of "gosh, why can't i post lower scores?  what do i need to work on?  is there some magic swing key i just don't know about?"  now i knew i needed to hit more greens in regulation, so when i would go to the range, i would take a gap wedge and an 8 iron with me.  nothing else.  no more of the pulling the driver out and just slamming balls to the back of the range business.  no, i'd hit about 100 balls with the gap wedge and 8 iron and then call it a day.  likewise, i knew i wanted to take fewer putts and that i needed to work on my chipping and pitching, so i spent considerably more time on/around the practice green working on those things.

post #135 of 270

Um, Maddog10 i just cannot agree that shortening the swing brings betterment of any kind. Sure sometimes needed due to bushes or other obstacles but in general complete the backswing, at least for me, means that i have time to get the hips in motion FIRST. I could agree that slowing down the backswing often helps but shorten only when must. If things not going well, slow down and keep in mind the correct sequence of events in the total swing. 

post #136 of 270

Let's see. One year golfing and now a 9 handicap. Very good Ginger. And which parallel universe do you reside in? 

post #137 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirv View Post

the single biggest help for me was that i started keeping track of my statistics.  every time i go to the course, on the scorecard i write my name on the first line, fairways on the second line, GIR (green in regulation) on the third and putts on the fourth.  every hole, i write down Y or N (for yes or no, obviously) as to whether i hit the fairway or GIR and then i'll write down how many putts i took on the green.  if i miss the GIR but still save par, i write down N for GIR, but then i circle the N to let myself know i got up and down.  once i get home, i put all of that info into myscorecard.com, which is like $10 a year and will calculate your handicap as well as your averages in all of these stat categories.

here's an example of what my scorecard looks like at the end of a round (though this is an exceptional scorecard, the best round i've ever played in my life to date.  also, yes, i realize i only hit 9 fairways but mistakenly wrote down 10 as the total):



so after putting several scores in and getting an accurate assessment of each of the major parts of my game, i looked up the tour professional numbers.  they hit 12 greens per round on average, i was hitting 5.  they get up and down for par 60% of the time, i was only getting up and down 30% of the time.  they take 29 putts per round, i took 34.  so i told myself, okay.  i want to get my greens in regulation and scrambling both up to 50% and i want to get my putts per round down to 30.  i've been working on those goals for about six months now, and i'm pleased to report that as of this moment, my GIRs are 49%, scrambling is 42% and my putting average is down to 31, so i'm pretty close to all of my goals.  all of that put together has taken my average score down from 85 to 78.

obviously it takes practice and work in conjunction with knowing your stats, but for me, it was key having concrete numbers and equally concrete goals that really allowed me to progress forward.  it wasn't a matter anymore of "gosh, why can't i post lower scores?  what do i need to work on?  is there some magic swing key i just don't know about?"  now i knew i needed to hit more greens in regulation, so when i would go to the range, i would take a gap wedge and an 8 iron with me.  nothing else.  no more of the pulling the driver out and just slamming balls to the back of the range business.  no, i'd hit about 100 balls with the gap wedge and 8 iron and then call it a day.  likewise, i knew i wanted to take fewer putts and that i needed to work on my chipping and pitching, so i spent considerably more time on/around the practice green working on those things.

You must be a big numbers guy lol. For every high handicap this is not a worthwhile venture. They just simply need to work on hitting all their clubs straighter with better contact.
post #138 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post

Um, Maddog10 i just cannot agree that shortening the swing brings betterment of any kind. Sure sometimes needed due to bushes or other obstacles but in general complete the backswing, at least for me, means that i have time to get the hips in motion FIRST. I could agree that slowing down the backswing often helps but shorten only when must. If things not going well, slow down and keep in mind the correct sequence of events in the total swing. 

I see your point, and you may be right that this tip likely doesn't apply to every golfer. For me, when I begin making inconsistent shots, it's usually a result of me over swinging, or trying to squeeze extra yardage out of clubs. When I catch myself doing this, I shorten my swing and make sure I'm not getting the club past parallel. More times than not, it instantly improves my ball striking and accuracy.
post #139 of 270

For me, FIR isn't that important. To me driving has always been a net zero stat. Meaning, as long as your not costing yourself a stroke, your driving is going well.

 

Behind a tree you have to punch out, +1 stroke

OB, +2 stroke (roughly)

Hazard, +1 stroke

 

Good drive sets you up, but it wont help you decrease your strokes, driving to me is course management

 

For example, chipping in, -1 stroke. To me, something that happens less than 5% of the time is saving a stroke. Getting up and down, or getting bogey from short game is pretty much net zero. PGA average on short game is about 55%. Take out the chip ins, your looking at about 50% up and down for par. So, short game is a net zero game as well. Unless your bad in the short game, then its not. To me, if you can make everything a net zero, were its not hurting your game, then all that's left is full iron game, ball striking.

 

So what sets up the golf game, mid to short iron game. Long iron game your looking for GIR, maybe 1/2 of a green area if the green is large. Mid to wedges, your looking for accuracy. Especially wedges, if i am not with in 15 feet with a wedge its not a good wedge shot.

 

What does this mean for a high handicapper, ball striking. Which means, improve your base for the swing (1-3 keys), then work on (4-5 keys), to learn how to shot shape and control distances to decrease the proximity to the hole. With better ball striking your going to hit greens, thats a given. From there is getting yourself into better position for birdies or better.

 

Putting is a hole different animal. To me, NO THREE PUTTS!!!, that is first and foremost. If you can learn distance control, you'll decrease your three putting ton. From there usually putting will get better with experience. I recommend getting fitted for a putter. Many of them are way to light. If you have trouble taking the club back, look at getting a counter weight put in the putter. Yea, get something that your comfortable standing over, and just practice.

post #140 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post

Let's see. One year golfing and now a 9 handicap. Very good Ginger. And which parallel universe do you reside in? 

Are you referring to my squirrel haha?

post #141 of 270

I got to a single digit purely through short game and playing smart, disciplined golf. I practice at least an hour a day of short game, whether it be full wedge shots, distance control (which is very important), basic chips out of the rough, bunker shots, things like that. I would also recommend practicing out of buried lies, downhill/sidehill lies. It is also important to play disciplined golf. If you are 230 out and think you can reach the green but have been hitting terrible shots with your 3 wood all day, don't, lay up to a comfortable yardage and take your bogey, or double, or triple. In my opinion the only time to take risky shots is if you are pressing in a tournament or are absolutely confident you can pull it off (in which case it wouldn't be risky).

post #142 of 270

When I was young and single, I invested in going to a Golf Digest school.  It cost me a month's pay check, but it set me up with fundamentals that I am using almost 40 years later. 

 

By the way, the lead instructor at my particular school was Bob Toski, who was the leading money winner on the PGA tour in 1954, and later went on to teach such pros such as Tom Kite, Bruce Crampton and Judy Rankin. He also wrote several books and made some of the earliest golf instruction videos. In the early 1980s he was a regular on NBC Sports golf telecasts. 

 

But, the instructor that I worked with for most of the week was Peter Kostis.  We all know Mr. Kostis' prowess as a world-renowned golf instructor and has been a member of the Golf Digest teaching staff for many years. Among his many students are Paul Casey, Bernhard Langer, and Steve Elkington.  When I took lessons from Peter Kostis he was an engineer who was trying to follow his dream and become a golf instructor.  In 1992, Kostis joined CBS Sports as an on-course reporter, and the rest is history.

 

Oh, yes - regular practice and dedication are a big part of getting into single digits, as well.

 

Best of luck in achieving your goals.

post #143 of 270

Up until about a 12-14 handicap, I worked on my short game. I'd hit a balls for an hour or so, then go chip and putt for another 3 hours if I wasn't playing.

The key here, though, is that you have to practice correctly. It's easy when you're hitting a sleeve of balls all at the same hole to look at a shot 5-feet from the pin and say, "Good enough" to yourself. The way my short game improved is that I would go out with my 60* wedge (my favorite, use it for almost everything), my putter, and a single golf ball. Thinking back on my most recent round, I would recreate some of the shots I had during the round. Each time I would have to get up and down, making the putt. For me, being able to make the putt was the most important part of this practice. It dramatically improved my confidence on 6-10 foot putts as well as showing me how close I had to get (and where I had to miss) with my chips to be able to make the putt. Working on both skills in tandem was most effective in my game, rather than one at a time.

Once I got around a 12 handicap or so, I had to start hitting more greens. The reason I was able to effectively half my handicap (started out as a 25 when I first started keeping a handicap) was that I just got up and down more frequently as well as improving my course management. At this point I was still only hitting maybe 3 greens in regulation, which is why there was so much pressure on my short game in the first place. From there I've mostly focused more on course management from my tee shots (make sure your misses are still playable so that you can get the ball on the green), ballstriking, and putting.

The putting part mostly was needed because the number of putts I had per round started to soar after improving my ballstriking, since I still would 3-putt every 4 holes or so. I now have it so that I will try to keep it to a single 3-putt per round. I figure if I can manage that or less, then I'm likely to have at least one 1-putt per round (with a GIR) to offset it in the long round and come out at least neutral or ahead in the putting department.

With ballstriking my first goal is to get the ball on the green. From 200 yards and out, that is what I would consider to be a successful shot. From the 175-200 yard range, I try to pick one half of the green (front, back, left or right) to choose as my goal, while still picking a specific target. 150-175 is when I'll attempt to pick out something slightly more specific to set up a putt, such as staying below the hole. 125-150 is when I try to always stay below the hole while also picking the side of the hole that leaves me with the easiest putt. Finally, inside of 125 yards I will attempt to put it within 10-15 feet of the hole. While I do not always succeed in achieving these goals, they give me specific options and help me refine my aim points.

When in trouble, I have a simple rule that I will follow. I will think of the most likely ways for a given recovery shot to go wrong and assess how that will hurt my score. For example, if I need to hook a ball around a tree to get it onto the green, the most likely miss for me would be to the right of the green. If there's a lake to the right of the green, then I know a shot like that would be a poor choice. Just play the shot that will get you into the least trouble should it go wrong when trying to recover.

post #144 of 270
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 
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)

Erik, I was wondering what you think of this post now?  (I fully recognize, and others should also, that it is nearly 5 1/2 years old)

 

It seems to contradict your 65/25/10 theory at first glance, but then again, maybe it doesn't.

 

Do you still believe what you said here is true, and does it fit within your 65/25/10 theory?  By that I mean, are you suggesting that perhaps most 18 handicappers don't practice short game and putting AT ALL and simply need to go from 0/0 to 25/10?

 

Or, do you believe that "most" 18 handicappers have a glaring weakness in their short games and putting?

 

Or, do you just know more now than you did then? b2_tongue.gif

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