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Anyone Else Get Worse The More They Play?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I find that I play my best golf after coming back from an extended period away from the game (like a month or so).

 

When I'm playing on a regular basis (and actively trying to improve my game), it seems like my swing slowly gets worse, less natural/fluid feeling, and I start fighting it.  In order to get my game back, I usually have to stop playing for a while.  

 

This cycle has been going on for nearly a decade.  I've been playing for 20 years and I can honestly say that I'm not any better now than I was 10 or 15 years ago.

 

Anyone else ever have a similar issue?

post #2 of 10

I had a similar issue.  I played probably once a week maybe twice, and the more I played the worse I got.  I think I found the reason to my game getting worse late last year.  It was entirely my mental approach to the game.  When I hit bad shots, I would try and and somehow modify my swing to make it feel like it did when I was hitting it well.  This would usually lead to it getting worse and then my attitude got worse.  I knew I sucked and would bring it out to the next round, and when I already had bad thoughts coming to the course I couldn't play well.

 

For the most part I have cured myself of the more play get worse thing.  What I do now is not worry about my score, or my stats like GIR, FIR and Putts.  I used to keep track of all that stuff.  The only reason I keep score now is for Handicap purposes.  Me worrying about my score or what it was going to be if I didn't put this shot near the cup was my biggest problem.  Also, I let each shot affect my next shot.  Now my mindset is to hit the best shot I can from where my ball is.  Doesn't matter if it is in the fairway or if it is in the trees.  Now I play probably 3 times a week and by following those mental thoughts my handicap was a 24.7 in July and now it is 19.5.  Hopefully go down a little more, but I am going to start getting lessons.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnjm22 View Post

I find that I play my best golf after coming back from an extended period away from the game (like a month or so).

 

When I'm playing on a regular basis (and actively trying to improve my game), it seems like my swing slowly gets worse, less natural/fluid feeling, and I start fighting it.  In order to get my game back, I usually have to stop playing for a while.  

 

This cycle has been going on for nearly a decade.  I've been playing for 20 years and I can honestly say that I'm not any better now than I was 10 or 15 years ago.

 

Anyone else ever have a similar issue?

Welcome to TST john!

 

Wacky game isn't it? I had the same thing happen to me about 15 yrs ago. I had been laid off so I had lots of time on my hands and I thought, 'Let's see how good I can get, and maybe I could redirect my career into golf' (ie, become a club pro). I went to the range every day and played 2 - 3 times per week, and my scoring avg went up. The same thing happened just over a year ago when I joined a CC for the first time and started playing a lot again. The first three months or so were pure joy, but then, as I kept playing more, my ball striking became sketchy and my scores started ballooning.

 

I think this clearly illustrates the impact of the mental part of the game. I have always said the no other game displays such a strong connection between the player's mental state and the performance. In this case, the mental state is one of expectation, which is a hinderance. People are different, but sports psychologists have stated that most people perform better when they have a precise, immedeate short term goal to focus on rather than broad overarching long term goals. For me, anything broader or more long term than each shot tends to screw me up. Score, index, how I compare with my buddies, etc are all distractions to the primary goal - hit each shot the best you can. That's it. 

 

If you could graph playing quality (y axis) vs playing time (x axis), for most people, you would see a rise, then a dip, then a rise again. You are in the dip, and you have to get to the other side. Don't give up! Fight through it! Apply any and all of the corny sports motivational slogans you have heard (Winners never qui....). Good luck, and let us know how you fare.

 

post #4 of 10

Does your mental checklist grow longer the more you play?

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

Does your mental checklist grow longer the more you play?

For me, if you mean pre-shot checklist, no. I learned long ago I can't handle more than 2 swing thoughts per shot. If you mean my overall 'bag' of swing thoughts, my god I must have accumulated 2000 of them through the years. And, they all worked...at one time or another.

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post

For me, if you mean pre-shot checklist, no. I learned long ago I can't handle more than 2 swing thoughts per shot. If you mean my overall 'bag' of swing thoughts, my god I must have accumulated 2000 of them through the years. And, they all worked...at one time or another.

Just suggesting that maybe the OP is coming back from a layoff with a simple swing thought like "balance and tempo" then, after getting comfortable after a few rounds he decides, "hey, I need to hinge a little quicker", so now the OP is thinking, "OK, balance and tempo and let's hinge up a litte quicker this time."

 

So another few rounds go by and he is starting to notice that he is fading quite a bit lately so he figures, "gotta get those hips forward faster," so now we're stepping up to the ball with, "balance and tempo, hinge those wrists a little quicker and let's make sure we get those hips forward," etc...etc...etc...

 

BUT, he was hitting it so nice when he was just thinking, "Balance and Tempo".

 

Just spitballin' here but this happens to me occasionally when I start thinking too much instead of just making a golf stroke. I can see how this kind of thing just builds up upon itself.

 

*edited in hopes of not getting featured in the "goofy typo" threadb2_tongue.gif

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCfanatic35 View Post

I had a similar issue.  I played probably once a week maybe twice, and the more I played the worse I got.  I think I found the reason to my game getting worse late last year.  It was entirely my mental approach to the game.  When I hit bad shots, I would try and and somehow modify my swing to make it feel like it did when I was hitting it well.  This would usually lead to it getting worse and then my attitude got worse.  I knew I sucked and would bring it out to the next round, and when I already had bad thoughts coming to the course I couldn't play well.

 

For the most part I have cured myself of the more play get worse thing.  What I do now is not worry about my score, or my stats like GIR, FIR and Putts.  I used to keep track of all that stuff.  The only reason I keep score now is for Handicap purposes.  Me worrying about my score or what it was going to be if I didn't put this shot near the cup was my biggest problem.  Also, I let each shot affect my next shot.  Now my mindset is to hit the best shot I can from where my ball is.  Doesn't matter if it is in the fairway or if it is in the trees.  Now I play probably 3 times a week and by following those mental thoughts my handicap was a 24.7 in July and now it is 19.5.  Hopefully go down a little more, but I am going to start getting lessons.

 

Good post.  I can definitely relate to a lot of what you're saying.  Whenever I take the "I'm just here to have fun" approach, and not focus on an outcome, I seem to play my best golf.  However, I think this approach has limited upside.  At some point, you have to actively practice and work on specific aspects of the game in order to improve; and that's when the trouble starts for me.

 

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by dak4n6 View Post
 In this case, the mental state is one of expectation, which is a hinderance. People are different, but sports psychologists have stated that most people perform better when they have a precise, immedeate short term goal to focus on rather than broad overarching long term goals. For me, anything broader or more long term than each shot tends to screw me up. Score, index, how I compare with my buddies, etc are all distractions to the primary goal - hit each shot the best you can. That's it. 

 

If you could graph playing quality (y axis) vs playing time (x axis), for most people, you would see a rise, then a dip, then a rise again. You are in the dip, and you have to get to the other side. Don't give up! Fight through it! Apply any and all of the corny sports motivational slogans you have heard (Winners never qui....). Good luck, and let us know how you fare.

 

 

Thanks for the post.  That's a good point you make about longer term goals being a hindrance.  That might explain why I play my best when I care the least (about my overall outcome).

 

A graph of my playing quality would be a long horizontal line from left to right, with a bunch of dips in it. Haha.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

Does your mental checklist grow longer the more you play?

 

Yes.

post #8 of 10

No, i dont get worse the more I play. However; i do get worse when i try to control the outcome of the shot, instead of just swinging the club. I usually start forcing shots when I've been playing good golf for a few days and I'm feel like going lower. I start swinging out of my shoe's, and just generally loose my tempo and that = to game over!

 

Also, golf is a very hard sport to be consistent at, so dont feel too discouraged on a bad day out because we've seen the pro's win one weekend, and not even make the cut the following weekend...damn crazy game!

 

Good luck!

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

Just suggesting that maybe the OP is coming back from a layoff with a simple swing thought like "balance and tempo" then, after getting comfortable after a few rounds he decides, "hey, I need to hinge a little quicker", so now the OP is thinking, "OK, balance and tempo and let's hinge up a litte quicker this time."

 

So another few rounds go by and he is starting to notice that he is fading quite a bit lately so he figures, "gotta get those hips forward faster," so now we're stepping up to the ball with, "balance and tempo, hinge those wrists a little quicker and let's make sure we get those hips forward," etc...etc...etc...

 

BUT, he was hitting it so nice when he was just thinking, "Balance and Tempo".

 

Just spitballin' here but this happens to me occasionally when I start thinking too much instead of just making a golf stroke. I can see how this kind of thing just builds up upon itself.

 

*edited in hopes of not getting featured in the "goofy typo" threadb2_tongue.gif

 

You're probably right.

 

My basic thoughts when I play golf are "swing nice and easy, keep your eye on the ball, and take it one shot at a time."  After coming back from a layoff, that's typically the only thing going on in my head.

 

Like many golfers, I have a tendency to come over the top.  When I try and correct this, it starts adding layers to my though process.  Then things start snowballing, and eventually I end up not knowing what I'm doing with my swing.  This eventually leads me to quit for awhile so I can start fresh again later.  Then the cycle starts over again.

 

Finding a balance between working on your swing and still keeping things simple seems to be the trick, but I certainly haven't figured out yet.

post #10 of 10

First post.

 

I've just come back from a 5 year no golf window (played a lot as a junior then with school and other distractions, lost interest). When I cam back my mental thought process was hinge the wrists midway through the backswing and see my left knee point at the ball (to ensure body rotation). Now it's progressed to where my feet are positioned, ball positioning, swing path, hips firing to initiate downswing rather than hands, finish with hands turned over on a draw and hold of on release for a cut.

 

So complicated! Game is fluctuating but seeing a steady decrease in h'cap.

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