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a new golfers journey through the first two months so far....... - Page 3

post #37 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by dozu View Post

golfing 'journeys' are as boring as fishing stories.

 

Thanks for that dose of positivity!

post #38 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Odogesq View Post

Hello Sir, and welcome to golf! I have been playing for just over one year and enjoyed your post. It brought back lots of great memories (good and bad, lol) of when I first started to play the game. Although learning on your own provides tremendous rewards and satisfaction as you slowly improve, I, like many people here, strongly recommend lessons form a good pro. You expressed some valid concerns about wanting to find someone that does not force you into a particular swing. This can be addressed quite simply by interviewing your prospective pro over the telephone. Just ask him what kind of methods he uses and whether he teaches a particular swing. Further, I suggest signing up for multiple lessons, that way you can stretch them out over time and really make a lot of progress. I was able to sign up for 6 lessons and after 3 lessons (and lots of range time) over two months my handicap has dropped 4 points and I have never hit the ball more solidly. The real benefit of a pro is to have someone who knows what they are doing watching you swing and giving you immediate feedback. Also, it sounds like you do a lot of experimenting and are constantly tweaking things. If so, you can bounce all those different ideas off your pro and get some really good advice. It's a shame that most people will invest hundreds of dollars in equipment hoping to improve but won't get a single lesson. Just spend the $200 on a lesson package and consider it an investment in your game.
Again, welcome and I hope this helps! And good luck!

 

Thank You!  I am definitely going to get lessons at some point and I'm thinking that come the spring/summer that is when I will do that.  In the meantime I'm just happy to be able to play on the weekends and hope that the weather stays like this so I can continue to play.  As long as there is no snow, that's fine with me. 

 

Has anyone ever become a member at ClubGolf?  I think it's a chain.  There is one very close to where I live and according to their website, they have a Trackman and practice facilities indoors!  I sent a contact request but was wondering if anyone has been there or become a member?  What is the cost?  I have never had my swing analyzed by anything and from what I hear Trackman is the best of the analyzers out there.  If membership is not too expensive then it may be a good investment to become a member.  I'm sure it's going to snow at some point this winter and once that happens I will not be able to play or go to the range much at all. 

post #39 of 123
Thread Starter 

After reading the Tour Spoon Blog and thoroughly enjoying it, I figured that I would keep this thread updated with my progress, or lack thereof......

 

Since I live and play in Maryland, we are still out of handicap season which runs from March 15 - November 15.  As such, my official Maryland Golf Association/USGA handicap is "frozen" at 15.5.  My "unofficial" handicap which I keep at fairwayfiles.com is 14.6 though. 

 

After several weeks of posting some not so good scores (the weather has been cold/windy and while we have been able to play just about every weekend, when we do play the temperature is usually between 35-40 degrees), my confidence was low.  I know that during this time of year I should be happy just to be playing golf and not to worry about my scores.  I cannot do this though because I am probably weak mentally and also because I have not been playing for too long.  Confidence has a huge impact on my game.  Thus I was not feeling good at all about my golf game for a while.  Finally though on 1/20/13, I had that round that restores confidence and makes you feel great about the status of where your game is at.......It was just below 50 degrees that day and cloudy/misty but the temperature felt great because it was cold for a while before that.  Thus the 50 degrees felt closer to 70!  I ended up tying my best score ever at my country club by shooting an 86.  It was not my best score ever (best score ever is an 84 but that was shot in November at a municipal course that is just at 6k yards and has a slope of 120 while my country club course plays almost 6400 yards and has a slope of 128) but statistically it is.  The 86 at my club would equal an 80 or 81 at the municipal course that I shot 84 at.  So basically it was as good of golf as I have ever played.

 

On 1/19/13 I played and had a pretty decent round going too.  On the second to last hole I blew up though.  It is a par 4 that is 375 yards and uphill.  Usually it's not that bad of a hole but my approach shot ended up in a greenside bunker.  Because the temperature was below 40 degrees, the sand was very hard.  It took me 3 shots to get out of the bunker and I tripled the hole.  That combined with a few missed putts that I should have made turned what could have been a great round into a so/so round of 93.  It was the first round that I used my new putter (Cameron Select Newport 2), the first time I had ever used a blade.  I could tell that I putted much better although the numbers would not necessarily show that as I had 35 putts. 

 

On 1/20/13 the weather was pretty good again.  Windy but with temperatures in the mid to upper 40's, I was happy.  I got my first birdie with the new putter which felt great.  What was changing was how I was striking my irons.  I noticed a huge improvement recently.  It showed up on the par 3's as between the round on the 19th and the round on the 20th I played a total of 8 par 3's (there are 4 per round).  Out of those 8 I par'd 6 of them, birdied one, and bogeyed the other.  Thus I averaged even par for all those par 3's that I played on the weekend.  I have never ever done that before or come close to doing that either.  While my irons were going well my driver was a bit erratic and I was battling a slice still.  I ended up having a great putting day but I just ended up making too many double bogeys......I carded an 87 with just 31 putts.  Had 6 pars, 1 birdie, 5 double bogeys, and 6 bogeys. 

 

I think I finally found a putter that I can keep though.  One of my issues is that I buy way too many putters and do not commit to them.  I've had something like 15 different putters since I started playing in June of 2012.  I have always favored mallets for some reason, mostly because I did not like the look of a blade.  I finally forced myself to try a blade and keep putting with it for more than just a few putts.  After a while I realized that I was making just as many if not more putts versus that mallets.  The blade grew on me through the week and for the first time in months I used the same putter for back to back rounds of golf on 1/19 and 1/20.  Even my playing partner commented that I was putting better with this new blade.  Since I had 5 putters laying around, I decided to consolidate and traded in all but two of them.  I am now left with the new Cameron Select Newport 2 and I also kept the Cameron Select Golo as well.  I liked the Golo and kept it in the event that I wanted to change things up a bit and go back to a mallet.  I really hope that this is it and I do not end up buying another putter for a long time.  I have said this so many times before though......

 

I also purchased new irons last week and they should arrive any day.  I have been playing with the Taylormade Burner Plus irons that I bought new in early June of 2012.  They are steel regular flex.  They have worked okay I guess, it took a while before I could hit them solidly.  I decided to get new irons because my game is improving and I wanted irons that were not super game improvement irons.  I also needed a stiff flex as while I do not know my exact swing speed, it's most likely quick enough for stiff flex.  My swing also continues to get quicker and quicker as the months go by and I continue to hit more and more balls.  So I found a great deal online for a used set in good condition of the Taylormade Tour Preferred CB irons.  They are forged and while considered almost a "players iron" still have CB which is what I wanted.  I know that getting MB's at this point would likely not help my game at all. 

 

So that brings this up to date.  I will continue to try to update it as time goes by. 

post #40 of 123
Thread Starter 

Here are my stats since I started:

 

Golf Scoring Statistics
Frequency of Score per 18 holes
Year Rounds Double Eagles Eagles Birdies Pars Bogies Doubles Triples Others
2013 3 0.00 0.00 0.33 5.33 8.00 4.00 0.33 0.00
2012 48 0.00 0.02 0.10 3.31 10.31 3.56 0.69 0.00

Average Strokes Over / Under Par

Year
** Rounds
With Details

Par 3

Par 4

Par 5

Par 6
All
Holes
Total
Rounds
Avg Score
All Rnds
Avg Index
All Rnds
2013 3 0.17 1.17 1.08   16.67 3 88.67 16.17
2012 48 1.03 1.11 1.02   19.35 57 93.33 22.41

** NOTE: Only rounds with hole by hole scores are included in statistics. If you use the quick entry the round won't count in your stats.

Stats Averages
Year Avg Fairways Avg Greens Avg Putts
2013 4.67 (3) 5.00 (3) 34.00 (3)
2012 4.24 (42) 3.73 (40) 34.98 (42)
Numbers in parens are rounds with details where that stat was tracked
post #41 of 123
Thread Starter 

Update - I have not posted in almost three months so I figured that I would provide an update.  Sorry if it is boring for some people but I know that for others it is a great resource as I've been told as much.  While there are a lot of stories of how people started, most of them are never finished or they just stop after a few months.  I am going to keep updating this as long as I am playing golf. 

 

On June 2, 2013, it will have been one year since I first played golf.  Thus we are between 10 and 11 months in as of now.  I continue to play as much as I can and this means that I play every Saturday and every Sunday.  As the weather gets nicer I will also try to play once during the week as well.  Officially I have golfed 80 rounds since I started.  I've golfed more rounds than this but those were part of a few tournaments/scrambles that I was a part of and thus did not keep track of my own score/stats. 

 

Officially my handicap with the USGA/Maryland Golf Association is 14.2 as of the most recent revision on 4/15.  My "unofficial" handicap is 14.0.  The reason for the difference is because of the scores that I posted in the off season in Maryland (Nov 15 - Mar 15) did not count officially but counted unofficially.  Statistically I am improving.  In 2012 I averaged 4.24 FIR, 3.73 GIR, and 34.98 putts per round.  Since I count all of my putts (even ones from fringe/off green), my actual putts per round was probably about 2 strokes lower.  In 2013 so far, I am averaging 5.44 FIR, 4.77 GIR, and 35.09 putts per round.  Now, my average score for all rounds I played in 2012 was 93.33.  Since I had 35 putts per round in 2012, this meant that I averaged 58.35 strokes per round that were NOT putts. 

 

I knew/know that this is the biggest area of opportunity in my game; ball-striking and consistency with ball striking.  I was throwing so many shots per round away by topping the ball, duffing it, etc.  In 2013 so far, my average score is 88.96 with 35.09 putts per round.  Thus I am averaging 53.87 stokes per round that are not putts.  So my ball-striking continues to improve over time as I practice and play more.  I still have a long ways to go as while I'm not giving as many shots away per round, there is still room for lots of improvement.  I consider a round where I have 52 strokes other than putts a good ball striking round for me. 

 

Drilling even deeper into the data, I am making a lot more birdies than I was last year.  I'm also making some more pars per round.  What I am working on currently is getting rid of the doubles from my round.  I am averaging just as many doubles per round as I was last year.  While I have cut out triples from my rounds this year compared to last, I am disappointed that I am averaging just as many double bogeys per round as I was last year.  There is no one specific kind of hole that this happens with either, it just seems to happen on any kind of hole.  Statistically I am playing par 3's, 4's, and 5's much lower than I was last year (see stats below), but yet the double bogeys per round is the same. 

 

My ultimate goal for 2013 is to get to a single digit handicap.  Aside from that goal, the most important stat for me to get to that goal is GIR.  There is a direct correlation to my score and how many GIR I have.  Who ever came up with the formula of 95 - (2 x GIR) = your score is almost dead on just about every time.  It's amazing how accurate that formula is!  While I have increased my GIR more than 1 green per round (I'm hitting 28% more greens in 2013 versus 2012), I realistically have to get that number up to 7 by the end of the year.  Considering I average 4.77 GIR/round now, that would mean improving an additional 67%!

 

All greens in regulation are not equal however as I am understanding.  I am noticing that while I may not be on the green in regulation, I am more frequently getting close to being on the green in regulation and in many ways this is almost as good as being on in regulation.  Last year I was not around the green in regulation as often whereas this year I am around much more often.  So while it sounds impossible to improve that much, I do not think it's as intimidating as the numbers say it is and am confident that I can get to single digits by the end of the year.

 

Recently I have been hitting more balls during the week which is helping.  It was hard to do that during the week in the winter due to the weather and darkness.  I continue to practice about 7 to 10 hours per week with my putting (I try to get to the practice green as much as I can but I also putt alot in my basement where I have a synthetic bent grass green).  While my putting numbers are worse than they were last year, this does not bother me because I know that I am much better than last year.  The putting numbers so far in 2013 have been throughout the winter with rock hard greens that were not in good shape.  Thus I am confident that as the weather gets better that this number will go down.  Also I am using my putter more than I was last  year.  Any time I can use my putter I use it.  Sometimes this means hitting through a few inches of rough or fairway but I still think it's better than chipping at this point. 

 

So that's the update.  I'll continue to post every once in a while with updates.  Here are my statistics:

 

Frequency of Score per 18 holes
Year Rounds Double Eagles Eagles Birdies Pars Bogies Doubles Triples Others
2013 23 0.00 0.00 0.43 3.91 9.96 3.57 0.13 0.00
2012 48 0.00 0.02 0.10 3.31 10.31 3.56 0.69 0.00

Average Strokes Over / Under Par

Year
** Rounds
With Details

Par 3

Par 4

Par 5

Par 6
All
Holes
Total
Rounds
Avg Score
All Rnds
Avg Index
All Rnds
2013 23 0.77 1.06 0.85   17.04 23 88.96 16.25
2012 48 1.03 1.11 1.02   19.35 57 93.33 22.41

** NOTE: Only rounds with hole by hole scores are included in statistics. If you use the quick entry the round won't count in your stats.

Stats Averages
Year Avg Fairways Avg Greens Avg Putts
2013 5.44 (23) 4.77 (22) 35.09 (23)
2012 4.24 (42) 3.73 (40) 34.98 (42)
Numbers in parens are rounds with details where that stat was tracked
post #42 of 123
Thread Starter 

Update:  As of 5/20/2013, my official USGA/Maryland Golf Association handicap is down to 13.6 and if nothing else changes between now and the next revision, it will be 13.5 at the next revision.  It's been a little more than a month since I last posted an update.....in that time I've played 9 rounds of golf, 8 of which I scored.  The other round I played as part of a tournament scramble and thus could not keep my own personal score.  In those 8 rounds, 4 of them went to being part of the last 10 scores that make up my handicap.  Those four are:  86 (13.8 rating at my country club), and 3 separate 87's (14.7 rating at my country club). 

 

Up until this past Saturday (5/18), the lowest score I had ever shot was an 84 last November that was played on a local municipal course that played much shorter and easier than my country club.  Since I have been shooting 86's and 87's pretty consistently at my country club lately, I was very excited for the chance to play a different local municipal course that I played a lot last summer.  This was a chance for me to see how much better I have become as I had not played Falls Road since last August.  Also, Falls Road is a much shorter course yardage wise and it's rating from the middle tees was only 67.5 with a slope of just 115 versus the 70.6 rating and 127 slope that I am so used to at my country club.  Also my country club is a par 72 and Falls Road is only a 70.  Thus I was thinking that I would have a very good chance to set a new personal best as I thought I had a great chance of shooting under 84.

 

In the last month since I last posted I had been going to the range at least once a week and have noticed that my ball striking is continuing to improve.  I ended up shooting a new personal best of 81 last Saturday.  The front 9 was the best golf I have ever played without a doubt.  I birdied the first hole and then went on to card 4 pars and just 4 bogeys on the front 9 to be just 3 over at the turn in 38.  I thought that this could be it, I might break 80 for the first time?!?!?!

 

Unfortunately it started raining, hard at times on the back 9.  The pace of play also slowed to a point where it definitely affected my play.  Being used to playing smooth 3.5 hour rounds at my country club left me very mad on the back 9 on Saturday as there were times where in the pooring rain I was waiting several minutes between shots.  It was terrible.  It was my fault as I should have been more mature and not let it affect me as much as it did, unfortunately any rhythm I had was gone.  I ended up shooting a 43 on the back 9, which although harder than the front 9, was definitely a product of the rain and slow play. 

 

I guess I'm a greedy son of a gun because my first thought after finishing the round in a new personal best was to think what could have been and how I could have been sub 80 if there was no rain and the play had just been steady, slow but steady at least.  After several hours I realized that I was being a jerk and that I should look to the positive things that happened and use that for confidence as I could always go back and play again in several months........

 

While I hit only 4 FIR, I managed to hit 8 GIR, which was a new personal best for me also.  I had 35 putts, but this included a few that were not official putts (from the fringe and just off the green), so in reality I had just 31 "official" putts.  My ballstriking improvements were clear as I had just 46 strokes other than putts, also a new record for me.  While I was/am happy to see improvement and to shoot a new personal best, perhaps the best moment of the day was when my friend finished up his round shooting 97, which was his first time breaking 100!  I was so happy for him.  In watching him play I see so many of the same issues that I have had to battle and improve upon since last June. 

 

Thus I guess I am on pace to meet the goals that I set out at the beginning of the golf season.  My ballstriking is definitely getting better and better and I will continue to hit balls during the week as this seems to be helping a lot.  I can see that in the future I am going to have to start working on my short game a lot more than I am now.  I saw this on Saturday where if my short game had been a bit more sharp then I could have done much better.  I know that my short game is suffering so to speak because of the effort I am putting in with my ball striking.  I thought that this would happen though.  In my opinion it's necessary because my ballstriking needed to improve much more than my short game did and it is still that way although I'm getting to the point where I can see that I will have to adjust my practice.

 

I know that I will likely not average 8 GIR every time I play, but it was good because it showed that I can get up there.  Right now I'm averaging 4.8 GIR....to get to a single digit handicap I'm sure that I am going to have to average mid 6's.  Still a long way off but it's nice to finally shoot a low round where I can see evidence of my improvement.....

post #43 of 123
Thread Starter 

Current stats as of 5/20/2013:

 

Golf Scoring Statistics
Frequency of Score per 18 holes
Year Rounds Double Eagles Eagles Birdies Pars Bogies Doubles Triples Others
2013 31 0.00 0.00 0.42 3.97 10.39 3.13 0.10 0.00
2012 48 0.00 0.02 0.10 3.31 10.31 3.56 0.69 0.00

Average Strokes Over / Under Par

Year
** Rounds
With Details

Par 3

Par 4

Par 5

Par 6
All
Holes
Total
Rounds
Avg Score
All Rnds
Avg Index
All Rnds
2013 31 0.73 1.02 0.86   16.52 31 88.39 15.93
2012 48 1.03 1.11 1.02   19.35 57 93.33 22.41

** NOTE: Only rounds with hole by hole scores are included in statistics. If you use the quick entry the round won't count in your stats.

Stats Averages
Year Avg Fairways Avg Greens Avg Putts
2013 5.32 (31) 4.80 (30) 35.07 (31)
2012 4.24 (42) 3.73 (40) 34.98 (42)
Numbers in parens are rounds with details where that stat was tracked
post #44 of 123

Thanks for sharing the journey you are on. I'm similar to how you were at the beginning of learning the game. Lots of wasted shots, and am on a range trying to improve. I'm taking a similar approach to learning by reading a lot and saw some of the recommendations that you made last year: The Impact Zone by Bobby Clampett, Build the Swing of a Lifetime by Mike Bender, Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, and My Golden Lessons by Jack Nicklaus. I feel confident in the resources I used for learning the full swing. Now, I'm looking for resources (books or internet) that really cover details of ball flight patterns. What are the physics behind a draw vs fade? What are drills that help produce these patterns? Are there any sources you would recommend? Thanks again, and keep sharing.
 

post #45 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmcb1 View Post

Thanks for sharing the journey you are on. I'm similar to how you were at the beginning of learning the game. Lots of wasted shots, and am on a range trying to improve. I'm taking a similar approach to learning by reading a lot and saw some of the recommendations that you made last year: The Impact Zone by Bobby Clampett, Build the Swing of a Lifetime by Mike Bender, Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, and My Golden Lessons by Jack Nicklaus. I feel confident in the resources I used for learning the full swing. Now, I'm looking for resources (books or internet) that really cover details of ball flight patterns. What are the physics behind a draw vs fade? What are drills that help produce these patterns? Are there any sources you would recommend? Thanks again, and keep sharing.
 

If you're interested in ball flight laws, check out this thread...

 

http://thesandtrap.com/t/61391/shaping-the-ball

 

For me, it's been useful in reducing my tendency to slice. It also gives me something to experiment with at the range even if I don't have the skill to shape the ball on the course.

post #46 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmcb1 View Post

Thanks for sharing the journey you are on. I'm similar to how you were at the beginning of learning the game. Lots of wasted shots, and am on a range trying to improve. I'm taking a similar approach to learning by reading a lot and saw some of the recommendations that you made last year: The Impact Zone by Bobby Clampett, Build the Swing of a Lifetime by Mike Bender, Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, and My Golden Lessons by Jack Nicklaus. I feel confident in the resources I used for learning the full swing. Now, I'm looking for resources (books or internet) that really cover details of ball flight patterns. What are the physics behind a draw vs fade? What are drills that help produce these patterns? Are there any sources you would recommend? Thanks again, and keep sharing.
 

 

I'm glad that you enjoyed reading my story so far, that's the reason that I decided to post it, because I know that when I first started golfing I was looking for a thread like this so I could learn and also see how others were doing so I could have an idea of what expectations I should set. 

 

Before I go about answering your question about resources/information regarding ball flight, I want to explain this.....it's 5/30/13 today and in just a few days from now it will be one year since I first played golf.  My improvement in that time is something that I am very proud of and in my opinion has been remarkable.  If you had told me when I first started playing that I would be a 13.5 handicap in less than one year with almost 100 rounds played and a low score of 81 under my belt, I would have called bull sh*t.  One of the things that I did within the last year was learn as much as I could about ball flight dynamics and how/why a ball cuts versus a draw.  While I have learned a ton about this in that time, I am only recently in a place where I can begin to shape my shots.  In other words, just because you learn and understand ball flight dynamics this does not mean that it will be something that you can produce consistently on the golf course.

 

I would trade everything I know about cutting/drawing a ball right now for the ability to be able to just hit every single ball straight with absolute consistency.  What I guess I'm trying to say here is that until you get to a point where you are consistently striking the ball well enough, trying to shape the ball in my opinion is not going to help.  I learned this the hard way.  I'm at the point now in a round where only maybe once a round or two do I hit a ball that goes almost nowhere or only a few feet (what I call a duff).  It took a long time to get to that point.  Thus if you are not duffing the ball more than two or three times a round, I would work on just hitting the ball first consistently before trying to shape shots.....I hope this makes sense.  I am not in any way suggesting that you do not learn about how to shape the ball, I am suggesting though that you do not try to implement this all at once on the course.  If you are not making ball first contact consistently then there is no sense in trying to implement something new.

 

Now, as for where you can get resources about ball flight dynamics and shot shaping......the thread that was posted with the link above is great, I have read that thread and learned quite a bit.  I found "The Slot Swing" by Jim McLean to be a great resource as well as the books that Hank Haney has put out.  One of Hank's older books, (I cannot remember the name right now), was published in the late 90's I believe, was really good about explaining ball flight.  Hank Haney's big thing is looking at ball flight to determine fixes in a golf swing. 

 

Where I learned a lot about shaping shots is in my own practice.  Now that I am to a point where my ball striking is as consistent as it's ever been, I have been implementing a few things here and there to shape shots when I can.  I'm pretty conservative with this though, especially when I'm playing a round.  If the lie's good and I know that if I miss I can still end up in decent shape then I will pull the trigger and try to implement it.  I never try it though if there is a chance that my miss could really hurt me though.  I've found that I am able to try lots of things regarding shot shaping with my driver, especially if my potential miss would not put me in too much danger.

 

The last thing that I want to say is regarding what kind of ball you use.  The type of ball has a big effect on what you can and cannot do.  Several months ago I started playing Bridgestone E6's exclusively because I liked the fact that the ball did not cut or draw as much.  This was beneficial to me as it kept me out of trouble more (especially off the tee) versus a ball that can move more (i.e. pro v1x).  The downside to this is that I am not able to shape the E6 as much if I wanted to versus a ball that you can move more.  The benefit has been that it goes straighter, the downside is when I really have to/want to shape a shot as it's more difficult and does not cut/draw as much.  For now that's a tradeoff that I am still okay with, however, I believe that if I continue to improve that I will get to a point eventually where I will move to a ball that I can shape more.  I'm already thinking about changing for something that is softer and with more control around the greens because the E6 is not that soft/spinny around the greens and as I improve this is becoming more and more important. 

 

Hope this helps, best of luck.  Please keep us updated with your progress!

 

 

BJ

post #47 of 123

That is definitely helpful. I'll take a look at Jim McLean's slot swing. Right now I'm going through some of the videos on golf revolution, and have found a lot of McLean's swing instruction helpful. Right now, out of the shots I have good contact with, about half have a nice fade. The other half have a nasty slice. I'm hoping by learning more of the dynamics behind it I can correct it. My 1st time at a course will be this morning. It will definitely be an adventure!

 

Thanks again. 

post #48 of 123
Thread Starter 

Update:  I played three rounds this past weekend, all at my country club.  I played 18 on Saturday and then a round on Sunday morning and then a round in the afternoon.  Shot 87 on Saturday and 86 on Sunday morning.  I felt like I was due for a breakthrough on my club course for so long as I have shot a lot of 86's but never could go lower and have been very consistent in shooting from 86 to 89 at my club for a while now.  Finally on Sunday afternoon, I had my breakthrough and I ended up with the best round of my life so far.  It was fitting because Sunday was the one year anniversary of the first time I played golf. 

 

I ended up shooting an 81 yesterday afternoon and while I had already shot an 81 a few weeks ago, this time it was much better because it was now on a par 72 course that was much harder than the first 81 that I shot on an easier course that was only a par 70.  The 9 over par round of 81 that I shot yesterday came out to be a 9.3 handicap rating for the round, the best I have ever done.  I went out in 42 and then came back in 39.  On the back 9 I played very consistent going par, par, birdie, par, bogey, par for the first 6 holes meaning that I was even on the back 9 after 6 holes.

 

I hit 7 greens in regulation (ironically it fit the formula perfectly of 95 - (GIR x 2) = your score, 95 - (7 x 2) = 81).  I had 32 putts and 49 strokes other than putts which confirms that my ball striking is continuing to improve.  As of now my handicap is trending at 13.0.  My goal was to be at single digits for my handicap by the end of the year but up until now I have never golfed a round with a hc rating of in the single digits until yesterday.  Still a long ways to go, yes, but definitely trending in the right direction.....

post #49 of 123
Thread Starter 

Update:  I continue to improve, another weekend and more solid results.  During last week I went to the range once to hit balls and then on last Thursday I went to a very nice golf course in northern Maryland for a golf outing that was tied into work.  It was a team scramble and was a lot of fun.  The course was one of the best courses I have ever played (Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace, MD) and it definitely had the fastest greens that I have ever seen.  Although it was a scramble and I did not get to score, because the other three players that I was playing with were older and did not play as much golf as I did, I was the best player on our team.  I ended up hitting last on almost every shot.  I ended up hitting 10 GIR on my own with my own tee shot/approach shots.  Thus while I did not have a score of my own, I know that if I did that it likely would have been really good.

 

I played one round on Saturday and one round on Sunday at my country club.  I shot an 84 on Saturday (12.0 rating) and an 86 on Sunday (13.8 rating).  My projected handicap is down to 12.7 for the next revision!

 

I have been much more accurate and consistent with my irons on my approach shots.  This had lead to an increase in GIR.  I am averaging 6 GIR in my last 5 rounds, this is up from my ytd average of right around 5.  My drives are going further as well but my FIR are down.  I am finding that many of my drives are ending up in the rough.  I may have to start using 3W on some of the holes that I only used driver on in the past.  Again, I guess a good problem to have. 

 

My round on Saturday saw me have just 48 strokes other than putts and 36 putts.  Thus I know the ball striking is getting better and I also feel more confident than I ever have with my golf game.  I had pieced together several rounds of golf without having a double bogey, which is also key (this unfortunately ended yesterday though).  Still, I am noticing that I've gone from averaging multiple doubles per round to less than 1 per round over the last few weeks.

 

I think that there are two parts to my improvement: 1 - getting better over time after practicing and hitting more balls which has led to better muscle memory and better execution on ball-striking.  2 - the ball change. I do not think that it was a coincidence that a week ago Sunday I stopped playing the E6's and since that time I have shot 86, 81, 84, 86.  My scores were going in the right direction but the ball change helped things.  I noticed this past weekend on shots that held the green that likely would not have done so before with the E6.

 

I guess I am still on pace to reach my goal by the end of the year, getting to a single digit handicap.  The scores are going in the right direction as well as most of my stats.  I am thinking that I am going to have to average between 7 and 8 GIR to get my hc to under 10.0?  Does this sound right?  I am also going to start working on my short game some more.  Up to this point I have not worked too much on it (outside of putting).  Now that my ball striking is going in the right direction I'd like to get better at getting up and down from around the green.  I've made the first big step, that is either being on the GIR or around the GIR.  Now I need to take those situations where I am around the GIR and sharpen my short game so that I am getting up and down more consistently.

 

Since I know a few golfers that are new to the game are reading this thread, I am going to now post a tip that may be helpful.  It's something that I had over the weekend during my round on Saturday.  One of the big issues that many golfers have, especially new golfers is how far they hit certain clubs.  Over time though you get an idea on how far you can hit each club.  While weather and the lie of the golf ball can make a big difference, so can the time of day, for me at least.  I play better later in the morning and in the afternoons but I play very early Saturday and Sunday morning.  Early on Saturday (4th hole), I had 160 yards to the pin for my second shot that was over water (155 carry).  I did not have a good warm up Saturday morning and was not feeling well.  It was also very early.  Knowing this I actually clubbed up even though the lie and weather did not necessarily dictate this.  Why did I club up?  Because it was early in the round, still very early in the morning, and I knew that my swing speed was not what it normally is.  Thus I had a hunch that if I hit a 7 iron like I usually would in that situation that I may end up short.  So I went with the 6 iron.  I picked the right club because I just made it over the water and had a GIR.  Of course I missed the 15 foot birdie putt, but I did make my par putt.  Thus I am learning that while it's good to know how far I hit each club, every situation really is different and sometimes I am now listening to my golf instinct as I continue to learn the game.....

post #50 of 123
Thread Starter 

Current stats as of 6/10/2013:

 

Frequency of Score per 18 holes
Year Rounds Double Eagles Eagles Birdies Pars Bogies Doubles Triples Others
2013 39 0.00 0.00 0.36 4.08 10.87 2.62 0.08 0.00
2012 48 0.00 0.02 0.10 3.31 10.31 3.56 0.69 0.00

Average Strokes Over / Under Par

Year
** Rounds
With Details

Par 3

Par 4

Par 5

Par 6
All
Holes
Total
Rounds
Avg Score
All Rnds
Avg Index
All Rnds
2013 39 0.75 0.97 0.81   15.97 39 87.87 15.47
2012 48 1.03 1.11 1.02   19.35 57 93.33 22.41

** NOTE: Only rounds with hole by hole scores are included in statistics. If you use the quick entry the round won't count in your stats.

Stats Averages
Year Avg Fairways Avg Greens Avg Putts
2013 5.23 (39) 4.92 (38) 35.21 (39)
2012 4.24 (42) 3.73 (40) 34.98 (42)
Numbers in parens are rounds with details where that stat was tracked
post #51 of 123
Thread Starter 

I went to the range last night.....I usually hit balls once or twice during the week and then before my rounds on Saturday and Sunday.  It's amazing how much my time at the range has changed since I first started golfing.  I never hit more than two buckets of balls in a range session.  I take time in between each shot just like I would if I was playing.  I find this to be much better than just rifling off shot after shot.  I also realized that I do not really have any "epiphanies" anymore at the range.  I have bad shots occasionally from time to time, but it seems like I finally have found my swing.  I will make a minor tweak here or there, but for the most part I've grooved my own swing over time. 

 

I also do not analyze every range session as much as I used to and that got me to thinking about how much I  used to think about what I was doing at the range before whereas now I hit fewer balls but it's more of an execution thing.  I know that if I execute properly that the ball will go where I want it to. 

 

Since it's been just over a year now since I started hitting golf balls, I also noticed last night at how much smoother my tempo is compared to when I first started.  I still get a bit quick from time to time but I usually know it as soon as it happens and things are just much more smoother.  It's slower but smoother.  The results have been that the ball is flying further and further for me.  While distance is nice I really only care about accuracy first and foremost.  If I get distance gains on top of that then it's a bonus. 

 

I never hit the ball further than I did last night at the range and that was with range balls!  At first I had to double check to make sure that there was no major tail-wind or anything like that but there was not.  I was shocked to see my 8 iron consistently going 160 as I was just swinging normally, smooth and relaxed.  It was like this with all my clubs and although I've noticed that I have been gaining distance over time, for some reason last night it really jumped out.  Maybe it was because I was hitting the ball that far with range balls that shocked me the most. 

 

I guess it just hit me last night at how amazing this has been.  A year ago I had just played my first 18 hole round ever and could not consistently make contact with the ball (I can remember swinging and actually missing the ball!), and now with just one years time, I have improved this much.  That is what is great about golf, anyone can do it.  I'm not some kind of freakish athlete, just and average white boy with a bit of a pot belly now that through a years worth of practice, playing, reading, and learning as much as I could about the golf swing, ball flight, and course management have been able to get to this point. 

 

Still no lessons as of yet either.  People from the beginning of my journey have strongly advised against this and suggested that I get lessons.  I can say that I completely understand where they are coming from.  I was able to get to this point without getting lessons because I was very concious of my swing and what changes would produce certain things.  Some of the things that have helped me the most include:  a piece of equipment that i purchased at GG.  It's a swing groover, I think it's called.  It has a grip but is only about half the length of an actual golf club but it's weighted and you can use it inside.  I use this item all the time and find that it really does help grove my swing much better than just swinging into air.  You can use it in front of the mirror and I like to use it before rounds as it's weighted so it helps me loosen up.

post #52 of 123

Congratulations with your progress over the last year.

Reading your journey, I recognize many of the difficulties you encountered.

Though there are quite some similarities, there are also some important differences with my own journey.

 

I really started learning the game at the end of may 2012 (no lessons either).

You seem to have had a lot of time to practice and play from the beginning.

Due to my job (tour guide, living and working in Thailand), I was often unable to practice for several months, during which time I would loose everything I had build up before.

Only since may 15th 2013, did I have the necessary time to practice on a daily base.

 

Also, not having a complete set before, I only practiced 7-iron and putter until late 2012, when l bought a driver and also started practicing SW and PW.

One of my biggest problems was transferring the positive results from the range to the course.

My first scores on the local 9-hole course were in the 80's! (around 175 for 18 holes)

On a 9 hole round, I would have 2 or 3 shots that could be called normal. The rest was all shanking and topping and duffing.

Only in the last few months have I been able to bring it down to the low 50's, with an accelerated improvement in the last 4 weeks, 45 being my best (without cheating, as I did before).

 

Since I have about 6 more weeks of holiday, I intend to practice and play a lot, hoping to bring down my average 9-hole score under 40 (80 for the full 18).

Once I can do that, I want to go play other courses, since my local course is a very short one, just under 3000 yards for 9 holes.

 

I wish you luck with your journey and hope you can become a scratch player soon!

post #53 of 123

Very good progress from over 100 to consistently in the 80s!

 

I'm about a month in myself and would love to see that speed of improvement!  Best 9 hole round so far for me with no cheating has been 48.

 

Currently my short game is not too bad, but off the tee and fat iron shots are holding me back.  I have to fix my tendency to "scoop".

 

I am practicing/playing about 7-8 hours a week so hopefully a few months down the road I will see some improvements!

post #54 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogeysaurus View Post

Very good progress from over 100 to consistently in the 80s!

 

I'm about a month in myself and would love to see that speed of improvement!  Best 9 hole round so far for me with no cheating has been 48.

 

Currently my short game is not too bad, but off the tee and fat iron shots are holding me back.  I have to fix my tendency to "scoop".

 

I am practicing/playing about 7-8 hours a week so hopefully a few months down the road I will see some improvements!

 

Thank you Bogeysaurus.  If I had to give one piece of advice to anyone just starting to play golf it would be that the most important statistic for you is GIR and the area that you should work on the hardest and put the most time into is ball striking.  Yes maybe your putting needs improvement or you need to improve your play out of the sand, but if you improve your ballstriking first and foremost, that will change and improve your game more than anything else, period. 

 

To track ballstriking what I did/still do is count any stroke that I make with a putter (even if it's just off the green and would not count as an actual putt) as a putt.  So when you have your score and then subtract out any strokes you used a putter on, this will give you how many strokes other than putts you had in the round.  I found that tracking this was helpful as I could actually see the improvement statistically not just in the GIR improvement but also in lowering the strokes other than putts. 

 

I notice a big difference in strokes other than putts between municipal courses and my country club.  Recently the hard work has been paying off as my putting numbers have stayed about the same but my scores have been going lower because of improvements in ball striking.  I consider an average ballstriking performance of around 52 to 53 strokes other than putts.  Anything more than that is poor.  I've just recently been able to have a few rounds at my country club where I've had under 50 strokes other than putts. 

 

My country club is a par 72 with 10 par 4's, 4 par 5's, and 4 par 3's.  Thus if you were to hit every green in regulation and then two putt every one, that would leave you with 36 putts and 36 strokes other than putts.  I cannot usually reach the par 5's in two so that's adding 4 ball striking strokes right there (40).  Since I average about 5-6 GIR and considering that there are usually about 3 or 4 of those par 4's that I need a third stroke to get to the green we are now up to 43/44-ish.  Let's say I hit just two GIR of the four par 3's, so now we are up to 45/46-ish.  Factor in a few mistakes here and there and then you are up to 50 strokes other than putts......it does not always work out that way but that's a good rule of thumb.  If I have a great day and limit my mistakes then I can get into the mid 40's for strokes other than putts.  If I have an average day of putting (lets say 33 or 34 total strokes I used my putter with) plus 47 strokes other than putts for example, then I shoot an 80 or something like that. 

 

When I shot my 81 at my club I had a pretty good day putting (32 strokes with the putter) and a pretty good ball striking day (49 strokes other than putts).  When I shot an 81 at a local muni that was just a par 70 and much easier, I had 35 putts and 46 strokes other than putts. 

 

I hope this makes sense.  I think that this process has really helped me out a lot.  While tracking all of the traditional stats is great, it does not necessarily tell the whole story, and it's important to know as much as possible so you can work on what you need to work on to improve. 

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