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a new golfers journey through the first two months so far....... - Page 5

post #73 of 136
Thread Starter 

I had a very solid weekend of golf.  Came into the weekend with my hc being 9.4.  I played 36 holes on Saturday, 18 in the morning at my country club and then 18 in the afternoon at a tough course in northern Maryland that played 6500+ from blue tees with a 134 slope.  I then played 18 holes back at my country club again on Sunday morning.


Sat morning I played okay, shooting 82 at my club (10 over par, 10.2 index for the round).  Saturday afternoon I played one of the better rounds of my life.  I shot 9 over par 81 but because of the high course rating and slope, it ended up being just a 7.8 index.  Sunday morning I was pretty tired from the day before and was not as sharp as I shot an 85 at my country club.  After the weekend of golf, my handicap is now 8.8L!!!!!

post #74 of 136
Thread Starter 

Had a busy weekend....played at my country club on Sat/Sun morning and then on Monday went up to Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport West Virginia for a scramble.  Thus three straight days of golf!  Also I had hit balls at the range last Thursday and Friday night.  Needless to say, I am a bit tired right now so it will be a couple of days before I hit balls again. 


Coming into the weekend my hc was officially at 9.4 and was 8.8L.  On Saturday morning I played an average round of golf I'd say.  The greens at my country club were just aerated a few days before which meant that putting was very unpredictable.  I had 8 FIR and 7 GIR along with 34 putts for a total score of 82 (48 strokes other than putts).  My ball striking was okay and overall I'd say that I played right around average for what I should and have been playing at my home course.


Sunday was one of the best rounds of my life and the front nine especially was probably the best nine I have ever played.  After not hitting the GIR on the first hole (par 5), I struck the next 8 greens in regulation to go on a run like I have never been on before.  I bogeyed the first hole, came back to par the second hole, and then three putt bogeyed the third hole before I really caught fire.  I went birdie, par, par, par, par, and then three putted the 9th hole for a bogey that left me at just two over par after nine holes.  Had I made the par it would have been one over but with the aerated greens the ball just stopped on the edge of the cup.  Still, two over was as good as I have played nine holes and it was so close to being one over or even better had I not had two three putts on the front nine.  So I had a score of 38 at the turn of which 19 strokes were putts and 19 strokes were other than putts!


I could not stay as hot as I was on the front but was still able to come back in a respectable 5 over 41 for the back nine which gave me my second 79 in three weeks.  On the 18th hole I had a 12 foot putt for 78 but I missed it (the aerated greens did not help).  I ended up smashing my previous record of 10 GIR for the round as I ended up getting 12 GIR and I added 8 FIR.  The putting was tough because of the aerated greens and I ended up with 36 putts for the round, meaning I had just 43 strokes other than putts for the round.  It felt like my best ball striking day I have ever had and the numbers proved it as I have never had as few strokes other than putts on my home course before. 


Monday's round was a scramble so there was no individual score.  After the weekend my handicap is now 8.5L!.  Obviously  I did not think that I would be able to get this low this fast.  What I am really excited about though is that there is still room for improvement.  Had I putted better and the greens not been aerated I could have been a few shots lower.  I don't like to play the what if game because your score is what you shot, but I can tell that there is still room for me to go lower this season still. 


I have gone back to playing my R11 irons.  While I like the Bridgestone J40 cavity backs, I do not like the shafts.  The consistency is just not there yet with them like my R11's.  I have to play for a big draw sometimes with the R11's because I believe that I need stronger shafts and less offset but for now the results are better than the Bridgestones.  I'm not sure what I am going to do about it.  For now I guess I am just going to keep using the R11's and then maybe see if I can find a shaft that I like for the Bridgestones? 

post #75 of 136
Thread Starter 

I played three rounds of golf last weekend, each round at my country club.  I played Saturday, Sunday, and Monday morning.  Coming into the weekend my official handicap (revision had just happened) was 8.5. 


On Saturday and Sunday I played with my R11 irons and on Monday I played with the Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back irons.  I'm still not sure what to do as I realized during the round on Monday that I ended up coming short several times where I could have and should have been on the GIR.  I thought that I had considered the change in loft between the R11's and the J40's and had enough club but there were several times on Monday where I came up short on approach shots.  Twice the yardage was identical, 135 from the fairway to the center of the green.  I hit 8 iron both times (one was uphill the other was not) and was short.  I understand that the loft on the 8 iron on the J40's is basically equal to a 9 iron with my R11's.  I would have hit 9 iron with my R11's so I picked an 8 iron with the J40's.  The lofts matched the yardage and I have hit so many shots in the past from similar places with the R11's to know that I would have hit the 9 iron and been comfortably on in both situations.  With the J40's though, I was short both times of the green. 


The shafts in the R11's are reg flex, just like the J40's, although the shafts are heavier in the J40's.  The R11's have KBS 90 shafts and the J40's have Nippon NS Pro 1050GH regular flex shafts.  The offset in the R11's is much more than the J40's.  The "issue" that I have with the R11's is that sometimes the shaft flex is not enough with my improving and increasing swing speed to the point where I end up having too much of a draw.


Overall the weekend was okay score wise....I shot 82, 81, and 82.  Handicap after the weekend is at 8.4L.  At this point the R11's will be in play until I get to the bottom of this and figure everything out.  I had 8 GIR on Monday (I had 7 on both Sat/Sun), and it could have easily been 11 GIR which could have made Monday's round several strokes better had I not come up short on those approach shots. 

post #76 of 136
Thread Starter 

I ended up playing twice this past weekend, once on Saturday morning and then on Sunday morning.  Both rounds were at my country club.  Coming into the weekend my official handicap was at 8.5 but was trending at 8.4L.  For both rounds I used by Taylormade R11 irons as I did not want a repeat of what happened last Monday when I played with the J40 irons (see previous post). 


One thing that I have noticed over the past month or two is that when I play at my club I usually get off to really great starts where I usually am only 1 or 2 over par after the first 6 holes.  Sometimes I am even or better.  I know that the holes are not easier or anything as I have been tracking month by month my hole by hole play at my club.  For some reason I just seem to start off very well but it usually fades as the round goes on.  Again I know for certain that it's not because the first 5 or 6 holes are easier, if anything they are just as hard if not more difficult. 


This trend continued over this past weekend.  On Saturday I par'd 3 of the first 5 holes and was just 2 over after 5 holes.  I was not quite as sharp as I usually am.  Overall I just did not play that well, it was average to a little below average I'd say.  I went through 9 in 42 and came back in 42 for a score of just 84.  8 GIR, 7 FIR, and 34 putts. 


Sunday was a better round.  I felt better and sharper and once again I started out well for the first 5 or 6 holes.  I did not have any birdies but I was able to par the first 5 holes on Sunday which I have never done before.  Especially number 5 which is statistically the hardest hole on the card and statistically the second hardest hole for me.  I made the turn at just two over par, 38.  I was not as sharp on the back.  What was really frustrating was that I gave shots away by not executing.  I came home in 41 for a total of 79.  This was the third time since the beginning of August that I had been able to break 80.  I had 9 GIR and 10 FIR along with 34 putts. 


I played with my Uncle who has been golfing for 40 plus years and he said that I should have easily shot 75 or better had I not just given shots away on the back 9.  I agree with him too.  I do not like to play the what if game because your score is what you actually shot, but what I did realize was that this was probably the best I have ever played.  Yesterday it seemed easier to me.  I'm not sure how to fully explain but it just did.  It only tied the best score I have ever shot and it was not like I set a record for GIR or anything, but for some reason it just seemed like I made an advance yesterday.  Even as I gave shots away on holes that I should have par'd but bogeyed only because I did not execute, it kind of slowed down? 


Maybe I'm crazy or maybe it was heat stroke, but I just felt like I could do this and I just have to hit the fairway then put the ball on the green and then two putt and that's it.  I had some great two putts yesterday on several holes where I was mile away from the pin.  It was clear to me that yesterday really could have easily been so much better had I not just duffed a few shots, something that I have not done in a while.  It seemed like there was much more room for growth after yesterdays round then in any of the rounds of 79 that I had shot before. 


So after the weekend my handicap is trending down to 8.3L.  I guess it was a good weekend and after yesterday's round I saw what I am capable of.  I'm still trying to figure out why I can start the round by hitting the first 4 GIR and do so well for the first 5 or 6 holes but then drop a level after that.  Maybe it's a focus issue?  The round does not go completely terrible after those holes, it's just that it's not as automatic as it was to start the round. 

post #77 of 136
Thread Starter 

Played twice this past weekend and I am also playing a round this afternoon.  Sat/Sun rounds were played at my country club while the round this afternoon is going to be at one of the county's municipal courses.  It's one of the better and more challenging of their courses.  I have played there twice before but it's been over a year since I last played there. 


I came into the weekend at 8.3L and my round on Saturday was an 81 (9.3 index).  The revision was done after the round on Saturday which moved my handicap officially down to 8.2.  Saturday's round was up and down.  I started out very sharp again and was one under par after 4 holes.  In fact I ended up being just 4 over par after 14 holes and was playing maybe the best round I have ever played.  The last four holes got me and I played terribly coming home in 5 over par for the last 4 holes to card an 81. 


Sunday's round was average to okay.  Once again I started out well but overall I just was not as sharp as I was on Saturday.  I ended up with 8 pars, 9 bogeys, and 1 double to card an 83 (11.2 index).  There was no change to my handicap trend after the round as it stayed at 8.2L. 

post #78 of 136
Thread Starter 

Since I was not happy with the shafts in the Bridgestone J40 cavity back irons and the R11 irons that I have needed stronger shafts, I decided to go and get fitted.  The first time I have ever been fitted for irons.  Went to GG.  I traded in the Bridgestones but am keeping the R11's as a backup iron set.  After being fitted and trying various irons, I settled on the Rocketbladez.  It was a close call between the Regular and Stiff but I went with the stiff.  With the weather getting colder I am a bit worried that stiff may be too much but I still have the R11's with regular flex as a backup set.


I was only able to play once this past weekend as I could not play on Saturday.  I played Sunday and had the new set of irons in the bag.  The distance gains that I am getting on the 4 through 7 irons is incredible.  Granted the lofts are just barely stronger than the R11's, but that speed slot or whatever is incredible.  I did not get the irons because of distance though, I wanted a better shot shape with shafts that better fit my swing speed, that was my first concern.  The distance gains are just gravy.  I missed a few approach shots in the round on Sunday as I am still getting used to the irons but overall they performed well.  I hit 8 GIR.  I had 10 FIR.  I did not putt well and ended up shooting 10 over 82 (went out in 42 and came back in 40). 


A few shots made my jaw drop......the 15th hole which is statiscally the toughest on the course for me is a long, uneven par 4 that plays longer than the listed 415.  I have only been on or around this green in regulation just a few times.  After a nice drive I still had 200+ out (you hit your drive into a hill so the distance off the tee looks worse than it is).  I smoked a 4 iron that went off the back of the green.  I must have hit this 4 iron from an uneven lie 220 yards.  I could not believe that I actually went over this green. 


So there were a few shots like that which showed me what is possible now that I have a set of irons that I was fitted for and not something that I ordered online before hitting them.  The result after the weekend was that my handicap is trending to 8.3L, up from the official 8.2.  I am not concerned though because I think that I am getting close to a point where my handicap matches my game.  For the longest time my hc continued to drop and drop because it had to catch up to my improvement.  I do not think that I am done improving, I just think that the improvements in my hc will be a bit here and a bit there instead of dropping a whole stroke or more in just a few weeks. 


This is the prime time though, it's now fall and I have to take advantage of these next few weeks as the season has less than two months in it (in Maryland hc season ends on November 15).  My course is in excellent condition and I'd like to make one last push to cap off an incredible season where I started with a 15.5 handicap and have almost cut that in half in just one summer.

post #79 of 136
Thread Starter 

I pulled these numbers for a friend that wanted them so I figured that I would share them here since I already have them.....a friend was asking me about my improvement over the last few months.  He is also a member of the same country club.  I track all of my stats and in addition keep a spread sheet that tracks individual hole by hole play at the country club.  From June 13 through present I have played 32 rounds at my country club.  I was able to decrease my score from then to now on every hole (even though I have a couple of holes that give me problems).  In that time, from 6/13 to present, I went from 12.7 trending hc to 8.3 trending hc.



1st hole:  decreased avg score .23, 18 pars since 6/13 (in 32 rounds), 1 birdies since 6/13

2nd hole:  decreased avg score by .18, 12 pars, 3 birdies

3rd hole:  decreased by .10, 15 pars, 2 birdies

4th hole:  decreased by .13, 16 pars, 1 birdie

5th hole:  decreased by .17, 6 pars, 0 birdies

6th hole:  decreased by .12, 14 pars, 0 birdies

7th hole:  decreased by .12, 9 pars, 1 birdie

8th hole:  decreased by .07, 11 pars, 0 birdies

9th hole:  decreased by .04, 11 pars, 0 birdies


10th hole: decreased by .15, 8 par, 0 birdies

11th hole:  decreased by .08, 15 pars, 0 birdies

12th hole: decreased by .14, 15 pars, 2 birdies

13th hole: decreased by .09, 20 pars, 1 birdie

14th hole: decreased by .05, 10 pars, 2 birdies

15th hole: decreased by .10, 4 pars, 0 birdies

16th hole: decreased by .13, 14 pars, 1 birdie

17th hole: decreased by .11, 9 pars, 0 birdies

18th hole: decreased by .08, 12 pars, 0 birdies


Overall since 6/13, in 32 rounds of golf, I have been able to decrease 2.09 strokes.  I've played 90 rounds in my life at my country club so I'm sure that some of the decrease is from me knowing the course better and having a "home course advantage", but most of it is from an improvement in ballstriking.  For the last 20 rounds at my club I am averaging 42.2% of GIR or 7.6 per round.  It all comes down to being able to make par more often....over those last 20 rounds at my club I am getting par or better 45% of the time.  That's almost half!  I have not worked much at all on putting or short game YET, at some point I know that I will need to.  My putting stats and scrambling/up & down numbers are just a little better than they were before so the difference is clearly the ballstriking which was/and is my main area that I wanted to improve.

post #80 of 136
Thread Starter 

I ended up playing twice last weekend.  Both rounds were at my country club, Sat and Sun morning.  Since I play very early (7:15am tee times), it has been getting colder!  I had to use a pullover to start both rounds but fortunately the weather got nicer as the sun came up and both days were great weather wise.  Have to enjoy it now because I know that soon the days of having frost delays will be back and rock hard greens will be the norm :(


I did not end up scoring that well either day but I played okay.  After all, it was just the second and third times that I had played a round with the new irons in the bag.  I shot an 82 on Saturday and an 81 on Sunday.  The course is in great shape the greens are very fast.  My club is known for having excellent greens that are very fast.  They were aerated several weeks ago and are now fully healed and consistent.  When I first joined the club I struggled so much on the greens and thought that they were too fast.  After a while I realized why the pro's and good golfers like fast greens, because they are pure and consistent and after getting used to the greens, I have learned to prefer fast and true greens versus slow and bumpy. 


Once again on Saturday and Sunday I continued my trend of playing the first 6 holes brilliantly.  I am not sure why but believe it's because I am just starting the round and have much more focus.  On Saturday and Sunday I went out for the front nine in 40 both days (4 over par).  Saturday I came back in 42 for a 10 over par 82.  I had 8 GIR and 7 FIR and 35 putts.  Sunday I came back in 41 for a 9 over par 81.  I hit 9 GIR and 8 FIR and putted better, with just 33 putts for the round. 


My handicap actually went up though.  I came into the weekend with an official 8.2 handicap and after the weekend I was up to 8.4.  The revision happened on Sunday.  Although my handicap went up I am not upset.  It's a minor uptick.  I played pretty well both days and also have to consider that I am playing with new irons.  On either day had I gotten a bounce here and a putt dropped there, I very easily could have been below 80.  In fact on Sunday I came to the par 5 18th hole at 76.  I had a tough 8 foot downhill putt for birdie that could have given me an 80 for the day, but I missed it and tapped in for par and an 81. 


So all summer I have been working on improving my ball striking.  As I have mentioned in prior posts, I clearly have improved my ball striking as among other indicators, my GIR has been increasing quite a bit throughout the summer.  Another stat that I noticed which has been increasing quite a bit lately and is partly due to my improvement in ball striking is my par or better percentage.  Over the last 20 rounds I've hit 43.6% GIR (7.8 GIR), and my par or better percentage has improved to 46.4%!  Almost 50% of the holes I am getting par or better.  I still think that I am not getting as many birdies as I should as I have just 8 birdies over my last 20 rounds, but I am impressed that I am getting par or better almost 50% of the time.  Year to date my par or better percentage is at just 33% which tells me that I have increased this stat by quite a bit.


The new irons are great.  I'm still getting used to them so on occasion I will select the wrong club but that will get better in time.  I have still been going to the range 2 or 3 times during the week and I am very pleased that I finally found my set of irons.  Getting fit for them was the right move.  I'm hoping that I can make a breakout soon where everything comes together and I have a career best round.  It would be a nice way to cap off an incredible golf season.  I estimate that I am capable of shooting a 75 or 76 at my club.  I have already shot 3 79's this year and I am still improving......

post #81 of 136
Thread Starter 

I'm hoping that this was not the last weekend of the year with really nice and warm temps, but it's possible that it may have been.  I played Sat/Sun both at my course and teed off before 730am both days but it was still warm/humid with temps eventually getting to 90 both days. 


Saturday was an okay day, nothing exceptional but I could see here and there where I continue to improve.  I had 9 pars and 9 bogeys to shoot 9 over 81.  I avoided the big number and I was not as sharp as I could but played okay golf.  Still getting used to the new irons a bit so occassionally there was an error in picking the wrong club.  Other than that it went pretty average. 


Sunday was probably tied for the best if not the best ball striking day I ever had.  I broke 80 for the 4th time by shooting a 79.  I did not putt well as I had 36 putts.  Ball striking was as good as it has ever been and I hit 11 GIR.  I have also noticed that I have been driving the ball very well lately too and this was evidence on Sunday as I hit 10 FIR.  I had 8 bogeys but made a birdie and 9 pars for a 7 over 79.  I had 3 other birdie putts literally lip out so I was very close yesterday to it being the best golf I have ever played. 


As I mentioned in a prior post, I know that I have a 76 or 77 in me and I am hoping that I can display it before the end of the golf season.  There is just a little more than a month left in the Maryland golf season so it would be nice to set a new personal best.  If it does not happen, I'm not going to complain.  I am getting used to the new irons and seeing my ball striking continue to improve.  While seeing that though I am noticing the deficiencies that I need to fix in my short game.  It's not that my short game is getting worse, it's not.  It's just that I am noticing it more because I am improving and looking for other areas of my game that I can improve upon. 


After the weekend my handicap is 8.3L down from 8.4 officially.  The time has come for me to really start thinking about going to the next set of tees.  My Uncle thought that I should have moved up a month or more ago but I did not want to bite off too much, too fast.  The current tees that I play from at my club (white tees), is a 70.6 rating and 127 slope.  It's just under 6300 yards.  The next tees are the blue tees but they have an option for a blue/white blend.  The blues by themselves are almost 6900 and the blended is somewhere in between.  I may try to move up before the end of the season but the issue is that nobody that I play with plays those tees.  Everyone plays the whites.  I do not want to be a distraction by playing a different set as I've read that you should try to play what everyone else is playing. 


I also think that I should be making more birdies than I am.  I am averaging 1 birdie every two rounds.  I think it should be closer to almost 1 per round considering my handicap? 

post #82 of 136
Wow..worlds longest post
post #83 of 136
Thread Starter 

It was nice to be able to play golf this past weekend without pooring rain.  The weekend before this past weekend was terrible as I was just able to play one round on Sat and only 9 holes on Sunday because it was raining so hard.  Miserable conditions.  So this past weekend was better but you could tell that time is running out.  It's really getting cold.  Sunday was even colder than Saturday and the temp at my 7:39am tee time at my club was just 42 degrees on Sunday, down from 47 on Saturday.  It warmed up a bit during the round but never made it to 60 either day while we were playing.  I kept telling myself to enjoy this as much as possible as I know that in several weeks I would give anything to play in temps in the mid 40's.


I came into this past weekend with my hc being 8.4 officially.  After playing one round Saturday and one round Sunday morning, both at my club, my hc is trending the same at 8.4L.  Both days I played okay, not great and not terrible either.  I shot an 81 on both days.  Saturday I had a few more GIR than on Sunday (10 to 7) and FIR were the same both days (9).  I drove the ball very well both days and I putted okay too.  I had 34 putts both days and 47 strokes other than putts for both days too.  Unfortunately I did not get a birdie all weekend and it has now been more than 2 weeks since my last birdie.  I did have 9 pars both days and 9 bogeys both days and have done a much better job of increasing the number of holes I par per round lately, but for some reason I am not making birdies.  I know that they come and go but I have for a while suspected that I am making less birdies than the average golfer of similar skill level. 


It's not that my putting is bad, it's always been average if not better.  My golfing buddies actually pointed this out several weeks ago, they thought that I should be making more birdies than I am considering my handicap of low to mid 8.  For most of the season I was averaging about 1 birdie every other round.  I thought that this was low but it has dried up even more recently as in the last 20 rounds I have just 5 birdies.  This seems very low considering my scores and other statistics.  Over those same last 20 rounds I am averaging 8.4 GIR and ~9 FIR.  I am also averaging 34 putts per round over the last 20 rounds. 


I guess the necessary data to really figure this out lies in additional statistics like my proximity to the hole and stuff like that.  Unfortunately I do not track that and don't really have the capacity to either. 

post #84 of 136
Congratulations on your success. As someone else pointed out, I'm jealous of the time you have available to play and practice. I usually enter the golfing season with a goal of playing twice a week and practicing another two times per week. Life always seems to get in the way, though, and I never come close to accomplishing either...

As a total stranger who has read just the last few pages of your blog, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Based on the details you have given recently, it appears to me that you need to allocate more of your practice time (right now, at least), to your short game. If you are having rounds of 10+ GIR's, yet your best score is +7, that's a problem area. With ball striking being solid enough to hit 10 GIR's, I would assume most of the 8 misses ended up somewhere around the green. If that's the case, your goal should be to get up/down at least 50% of the time.

Also, I never saw a post (I didn't read all of them) where you EVER had a round of less than 30 putts. In fact, most of the posts I read showed 34ish putts. That's not good. Like you, I play a course with fast-ish greens and they are VERY undulated. Leave your ball just 10 feet above the hole and it's a bear just to 2 putt it. Even with these types of greens, I average just under 30 putts per round (I obviously don't average 10+ greens per round - something I'm hoping to improve...). Most mid to low single digit cappers will salvage a poor ball striking round with good pitches/chips and something like 26 putts. Have you had one of those rounds yet?
post #85 of 136

Very nice progress that you've made in your golf skills mate!


I do confess that I haven't read much beyond the first two pages though, so much text hehe...



I'm sort of in a similar situation beginner player, hoping to get better. Mostly not really just the score, but the actual golf abilities that  are necessary first, like getting solid hits on the ball with driver, and hybrids. I did my greencard as a kid basically, played for a short while, but then took like a five year break.

High school, army, university...


But... My dad got me back to golf again after 5 year break, so now I'm like totally newbie at this game again, with max handicap. I've been at the range practicing my hybrid shots and driver shots quite a bit. I should say that I'm actually quite confident in my iron and wedge swings at the moment. I barely even make bad shots with these clubs, mishits you could say. I feel like the loft really helps in getting the ball into the air properly and into the general vicinity where you're aiming at. For a beginner I really felt like my irons and wedge accuracy was great, last time I was at the range this week, monday.


With hybrids though, I did this weird thing at the range. Somebody said on golf channel that you should swing hybrid more like your irons, as opposed to fairway wood or something. So what I did at the range was this. I was alternating 2-4 shots with 7iron, followed by 2-4 shots with hybrid, and I think it was quite good with the hybrids (especially with the 21deg hybrid I hit the best shots, fewest mishits). I'm still dedicated in the short term, to improving my ball striking ability with all my three hybrids though (so I won't get massacred in my score on par5).



I also tried slowing my swing down, less power but still trying to get good hits on the ball, solid center hits.Full swings and 3/4 swings.

Hmm, some of these days I will have to make a checklist to bring with me to see what kind of drills I could and should be making there at the range.


I'm hoping to get one more game hopefully full 18 holes next Sunday with my dad. Let's hope the weather doens't totally freeze up, becoming winter in the next couple of days. Otherwise it's season over for me, except occasional indoor golf range and golf simulator there. Assuming I'll get to play next sunday, I will be probably opening with one of my hybrids from the tee, like my instructor recommended me to play for the time being, until I get better wiht driver swing. (most likely 17,5deg off tee since it's longest hitting hybrid, but definitely 21deg from fairway I think)

post #86 of 136
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

Congratulations on your success. As someone else pointed out, I'm jealous of the time you have available to play and practice. I usually enter the golfing season with a goal of playing twice a week and practicing another two times per week. Life always seems to get in the way, though, and I never come close to accomplishing either...

As a total stranger who has read just the last few pages of your blog, I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Based on the details you have given recently, it appears to me that you need to allocate more of your practice time (right now, at least), to your short game. If you are having rounds of 10+ GIR's, yet your best score is +7, that's a problem area. With ball striking being solid enough to hit 10 GIR's, I would assume most of the 8 misses ended up somewhere around the green. If that's the case, your goal should be to get up/down at least 50% of the time.

Also, I never saw a post (I didn't read all of them) where you EVER had a round of less than 30 putts. In fact, most of the posts I read showed 34ish putts. That's not good. Like you, I play a course with fast-ish greens and they are VERY undulated. Leave your ball just 10 feet above the hole and it's a bear just to 2 putt it. Even with these types of greens, I average just under 30 putts per round (I obviously don't average 10+ greens per round - something I'm hoping to improve...). Most mid to low single digit cappers will salvage a poor ball striking round with good pitches/chips and something like 26 putts. Have you had one of those rounds yet?

Thank you.  I count my putts by a different way than putts are counted usually.  Any stroke where I use the putter, I count as a putt.  As a result, I end up usually with at least 2 or 3, sometimes more, putts per round where I putted from just off the green.  Those would not be considered putts if on any of the golf tour's statistics.  Thus my true putts per round using the same formula that most people use has my average being right around 32 putts per round.  The reason that I chose to do this differently is because I wanted to know how well I am striking the ball and if I counted putts by only the strokes used with my putter actually on the green, then those other strokes that I used my putter for could potentially skew my ball striking numbers and give me different data.  For me I just cannot justify putting from just off the green, like on the fringe, and although it was a putt that I used my putter for, it does not count as a putt. 


I believe that you are correct in that I need to work on my short game.  I avoided this because I wanted to improve my ball striking first and foremost because I knew that I would get more bang for the buck so-to-speak by improving that first.  I don't believe though that my lack of birdies is because of my short game though.  If I were able to scramble and get up and down at a higher percentage (which I would like and would help my game in general), that would not be for birdies but would be to save par more often than not.  Don't get me wrong, I want that to happen and will work on the short game, but I do not think that it has anything to do with my perceived or actual lack of birdies for my handicap.


After giving this much thought, I think that I have over-acheived to a point where it's going to take some time for things to catch up.  Here is what I mean: I came into the 2013 season at a 15.5 handicap and only been playing golf for several months.  I wanted to get better and the best thing that I could improve and the area that needed the highest priority was my ball striking as I was averaging about 3 or so GIR per round while a 15.5 handicap.  Thus I worked very hard all 2013 season on ball striking and the improvements were tremendous.  I went from averaging 3+ GIR per round to now over the last 20 rounds getting 8 GIR per round.  While this has improved and it is a good thing that I am hitting more GIR, I am willing to be that my proximity to the hole could be much better but I was just worried about getting on the green, not paying attention to the fact that all GIR are not equal.  So while I am hitting lots of GIR, my proximity to the hole is further away due to the short period of time that I went from 15.5 hc to the low 8's in just a few months.  Thus while I am not making as many birdies as I believe I should, my pars per round have sky rocketed which is a direct result of me getting on the green in regulation, even though they are not good chances for birdies.  My par or better percentage has gone from around 30% per round to more than 45% round now over the last 20 rounds.  Thus I have basically doubled my par or better percentage since the start of the 2013 season and while this is good, it has me taking less risks because I just want to get on the GIR instead of trying to be specifically more accurate and being aggressive when it's a green light to go at a pin. 

post #87 of 136
Thread Starter 

Also, in response to the question of if I have had any rounds with under 30 putts?  Yes, I have had a few rounds of 29 putts which included counting all of my putts the way I usually do.  Thus the true number of putts in those rounds would have been ~26 putts.  I'd say on average at least 2 putts per round are added to my total putts where I putted from just off the green.  I use my putter whenever I can do so as like many others out there, it's better to do that and am likely to get closer than trying to pull off a difficult chip/flop/etc.

post #88 of 136
Thread Starter 

Sorry I have not posted in almost two weeks, been busy at work.  Weather is getting cold fast and the golf season officially ends (for handicap purposes) on November 15 for me as a member of the MGA (Maryland Golf Association).  Thus any rounds I play in Maryland between 11/15 and 3/15/14 will not affect my handicap.  I will probably get to play in Virigina and other places with an open season, but for all intensive purposes, my hc is very close to what it will be come the 15th. 


My main goal for the 2013 golf season was to get to a single digit hc and I was able to accomplish that goal.  When I told everyone in March what my goal was most people said no way and even I wondered if I bit off too much to chew.  Ultimately it was not that difficult, it was not easy either, but it just took practice and playing consistently and I made my goal with a few months to spare.  The fact that I accomplished my goal while frequently changing equipment makes me proud.  I have finally settled on a putter and the same one has been in the bag for months.  Too bad it only took almost 30 different putters before I settled down.  The Rocketbladez irons were put in the bag less than two months ago but they have been solid so far and have stiff shafts.  If during the winter the cold temps reduce the flex too much, I still can play my TM R11 irons that have regular flex if need be.


I have a feeling that this winter is going to be much different than last winter though.  First of all, I highly doubt that "we" (as in the public in general) will be fortunate enough to have virtually no accumulating snow all winter like last winter.  That allowed me to play just about every weekend.  Even a normal winter will mean that there may be spans of two weeks or more where I cannot hit balls or play a round outside.  Aside from that though, last year I was completely obsessed and concentrating on getting better.  I really didn't get any better during last winter though.  I did not realize it at the time but improving scoring and stats should not be expected during the winter where I live and play.  The winter is to get better in ways that will reveal themselves through numbers in the spring at the earliest.  Thus I will have a whole different mindset this winter and will be much more stable and not change equipment so much or over analyze things too much. 


From time to time I read what I wrote a year or more ago and it makes me laugh; some of the questions I asked and some of the things I thought back then.  I tried and tried but no matter how much I tried different equipment or tried this or that, there was no magic thing that would transform the me of last winter to where I am now.  I wish I was more calm and utilized my practice time last winter better than I had.  Clearly the only thing that would allow me to improve to my current level were things that one could not buy or use; time and practice.


It just took time and lots of practice and rounds for me to be able to make the contact that I am making now consistently.  I still have a long way to go too as this is closer to the beginning than the end as far as where I'd like to be with my ball striking.  When I get to a level that I am happy with, I will then probably look for a coach/teacher but only after my coordination has gotten to the point where I want.  As many times that I have been to the range and hit balls, there are certain shots that are hard to impossible to practice and can only be done during a round.  It's those shots that I need to improve still.  Things have gotten much better but the consistency is just not there.  I went to Golf Tec last year for my $200 golf video and they sold hard on lessons.  I could not figure out how they could help me though as their studios and practice areas had flat lies.  I am pretty happy with how I hit a ball from a flat lie though.  Even if they or someone else coached me on uneven lies I looked at it as something that I need to improve my hand/eye coordination to a certain level first.  If my coordination is not good enough to put the club on the back of the ball every time, that's not going to change coach or no coach until I improve that through practice - the coach could not hit for me.


So depending on how things go I may start the process to look for someone that I think can improve the areas of my game that I cannot improve upon myself.  It's been about ~175 rounds of golf since I started.  Maybe a little less, but in that neighborhood.  If I use 3.5 hours as an average, I've played about 620 hours of golf (time in an actual round).  It's been 17 months and 4 days since I started so I'm guessing that if I practiced 30 hours per month, not including rounds, then I've practiced golf for an additional 510 hours (give or take a bit).  So figure that total time in I have done about 1150 hours.  There is that really general rule of thumb out there that says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in a given field.  I'm not sure if t hat rule is accurate or even if I believe it or not but if it was true then I would be only 10% there.  I'm not sure what any of this means other than for those out there that ask questions such as "how much time or how many rounds until I can do this or do that", the answer is even those out there like myself, who apparently have some natural ability at golf within them, A LOT, as in hundreds or thousands of hours.


I wonder if I got a good deal or not?  I was in single digits a few months ago so some of the hours need to subtracted for when I actually first accomplished my goal, but I think it's fair to say that it took almost 14 months and roughly 900-1000 hours to go from never played golf to single digit handicap.  One thing I am certain of is that while it only took one golf season to go from 15.5 to 8.4 handicap, it's almost certainly going to take longer IF/when I cut the next 7 strokes off my hc.....

post #89 of 136
Thread Starter 

So the season officially ended on 11/15.  Thus any scores that I post from Maryland will not count for my hc.  Virginia is open all season long though and I'm sure I'll play a course or two during the winter down there so it will count towards my hc.  I ended the season at 8.5. 


The weather was unusually nice this past Sat and Sun and I took full advantage, too bad neither round will count towards my hc since I played at my club....on Sat I shot 40/40 for an 80 with just 33 putts.  On Sun I broke 80 for the 5th time this year by shooting a 79 (38/41) with 34 putts.  It was one of the best ball striking days I have had as I had just 45 strokes other than putts. 


I played with a friend of mine on Sat and Sun and I have not played with him in a few months.  He noticed that my putting had improved, especially the speed.  I figured that I was slowly but surely getting better but had not paid that much attention to it.  I am 3 putting much less though and it's clear that my work with the Puttist is helping.  I bought that machine several months ago and use it for several hours each week.  It's selling point is that it will help improve  your speed on putts and apparently that is working for me.


My short game needs lots of work.  While I played what may have been the best weekend of golf of the year for me, or close to it, there was so much room to improve.  If I could have gotten up and down a few more times instead of getting up and then 2 putting because I could not get my chip/pitch close enough to the pin, I could have lost a few more strokes per round.  I just have not really put time into the short game though.  It's hard to work on everything at once and that just was not my focus this past year.  I needed to be on or around the green in regulation to score and save pars which is why I had ball striking as my number one priority.  It's clear now though that short game has to be next....


Tied into short game work is shots under 100 yds.  I have so many opportunities to score from 100 yd and in only to not get it close enough and come away with pars instead of birdies.  So while my main area of focus for 2013 was ball striking, I think for 2014 it is going to be short game and 100yds and in. 


Anyways, I'm a bit surprised at how well I played this past weekend considering that I have not hit balls during the week for the past few weeks.  Only playing on the weekends.  Work has been busy and now with DST taking effect, it's not as easy to hit balls after work when it's dark out.  I'm still using a weighted swing aid that I swing about 50-100 times per night so maybe that is helping?  Nothing is as good as being able to strike the ball with a club instead of swinging a weighted half club into the air

post #90 of 136
Thread Starter 

It's been almost a month and a half since my last update.  Weather has already been more of a factor this year than all of last year combined.  The last few weekends I've been lucky to be able to play one of the two days as there have been a couple of weekends when I could not play at all due to the weather/snow.  I have not been hitting balls during the week either since it's not possible usually as it's dark when I get out of work.  I've noticed that when I have gotten to play that there is rust to my game, not a lot but I can tell when I do not hit a golf ball for a week or more.  Usually I end up "warming up" if you will after a few holes and then start feeling comfortable again.  When I was hitting balls several times a week and playing both weekend days it was much easier than it is now as I've noticed little things that are creeping into my swing that I have to be aware of and fix immediately (i.e. backswing gets flat after not hitting balls for a while). 


I had intended to work on my fitness this winter as that is one area that I have not done anything to help my game.  I did not think that it was that serious though until I went to the doctor a few weeks ago only to find out that I had suffered a heart attack.  My blood pressure was high.  Heart disease runs rampant in my family and I'm glad I got this when I did.  I will turn 34 in March and while I could lose some pounds, I was not obese or anything.  Still, my diet was terrible and the only exercise I got was from practicing/playing golf.  At 5'11" and 200lbs, I had gained 60 pounds since college but again, was not obese, I figured I was just one of many that could lose 15 or 20lbs but not in any trouble. 


The good news is that I am on bp medicine and have already improved my diet.  I have begun exercising as well.  I've dropped almost 10 lbs in the two weeks since I found out that I had suffered a heart attack.  I plan to continue the exercise and diet as I want to play golf for a lot longer.  I was a victim of the mentality that just because I was not clinically obese and in my early 30's that I had plenty of time to change.  I was very wrong. 


My plan for the next few months is to continue to improve my health through exercise and diet.  I'll continue to practice and play when the weather allows me outside.  Until then I can still swing with the swing trainer and putt with the Puttist.  I'm sure I'll lose weight, how much?  I'm not sure but I am hoping that the improvements will help my golf game. 

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