Re: How did you get to a single digit handicap?
I'm going to respectfully disagree with the emphasis put on the short game for the non single digit handicapper, and even more so for the really high handicapper. Man, I know I'm going to get torched for this, and I am in no way stating this as a fact(just from my own experience), but becoming a better iron player knocked about 8 strokes off my game in 2 years, also getting a little more consistent off the tee and developing a right-to-left ball flight with my driver. All this time I never practiced short game, ever.
This all equated to hitting more greens and making more pars, and turning would-be bogeys into pars and would-be doubles into bogeys. So now, as a 12, I'm starting to focus a little more on the short game to make more birdies. But still working mostly on hitting more GIR's.
I play in a league with 32 players, mostly a fun league when it comes down to it. Many of the players are high handicappers (20-30). Some of them have pretty decent putting strokes and can chip pretty good as well. But none of them hit greens in reg. Many of them can't hit a driver, 3 wood, or hybrid straight ever, and just chunk iron after iron. That is really the only difference in our game, I hit more GIR's than they do because I'm a better iron player and get off the tee a little better.
Not sure if my rambling made any sense, but I think some consistency in your long game can shave off strokes faster. And then you can move to improve your putting to start making birdies. But telling a 20+ handicap to work on putting so he can make more birdies isn't going to help them, I mean, how many birdie putts do they stand over in any given round? I think getting yourself to that position where the word "birdie" can start entering your mind on a regular basis will lead to better results in the long run.
go easy on me fellas.