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Evolution and statistics of a beginning golfer

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody,

 

I'm a 40 year old male that picked up the game of golf at 37.

I decided I wanted to learn the game all by myself, doing a lot of research on the internet (instructional videos, studying golf mechanics, etc.)

However, after a few months at the driving range, hitting about 1.000 balls (25 boxes) spread over 8 months, personal circumstances made it impossible to even touch a golf club for the next 17 months.

 

I picked up again in may 2012.

Still trying to learn by myself, I had a lot of up and downs, especially because of my job (tour guide, living in Thailand) which often blocks my training sessions for several months.

In may 2012, I was hitting the 7-iron great: 175 to 200+ yards!

It was the only club I was really practicing (apart from the putter), and these results were attained with a rented graphite 7-iron.

 

Unfortunately, immediately after these great results, my job blocked my training sessions for 3 straight months!

Not realizing how I actually reached these great results, I lost everything in these 3 months and had to start all over again.

 

In the following 8 months, my training sessions were regularly interrupted for 4-8 weeks.

Slowly however, I started to rediscover the basics of my long lost swing,this time more aware of what it was exactly that I needed to do to get a decent shot.

I tried playing the local 9-hole course many times, but for some reason, the results were nothing less than disastrous.

 

While on the driving range, my iron shots and pitching were reasonably good,once I entered the course, I couldn't hit a single ball decently: shanking, topping, hitting every single tree or branch that was even remotely in my neighbourhood,.....

I did manage however to bring my scores a little bit down, from my very first 89 (9-hole!) to the more recent 50-55 (with the help of some cheating).

 

I was only by the end of 2012 that I bought my first driver and started to practice it, together with 7-iron, 9-iron, putter and Sand/Pitching wedge. 

I had all the irons (second hand set), but wasn't ready yet for the others.

 

In 2013, I discovered that my irons were approximately 45 years old, and therefore completely different from modern days irons.

All irons appeared to be not only 1 inch shorter than their modern days equivalent, but had also more loft (1-2 clubs difference!).

 

This explained off course the enormous difference in distance I experienced after using the rented, graphite 7-iron.

 

May 2013: finally I have a 2 month period of free time and I decided to go for it 100%, practicing every day I possibly could, for as long as I humanly could!

I also started having some lessons with a Thai professional who speaks decent English.

 

Combined with a recent break-through, this allowed me to improve my formerly lowest score of 50, to 47.

 

Here are some of my current statistics on the local 9-hole course and driving range:

 

Total amount of practice (driving range) since I started in 2010:   about 100 hours

 

- puts per round:                  18-20

- avg fairways per round:       7 out of 9 

- usual Driving distance:        200-240 yards    slow swing

- 7-iron                                155-170 yards     slow swing

- SW                                   70-90 yards        slow swing

 

 

Main current problems:

 

- distance control in the approach shots (up to 100 yards) and chipping/bunker shots (just started learning it with my trainer)

- bad foot-ball position with the driver, often resulting in pulling, pushing or slicing. However, I feel I'm close to finding the answer to

  this problem.

 

Predictions:

 

I feel confident that I will very soon be able to break 45 on the local 9-hole course and hope to reach par by the end of this year.

 

 

I'd like to hear the evolutionary stories of other golfers and their statistics.

 

Good golfing to all of you!

post #2 of 34
Thread Starter 

Getting better fast now!

 

Today I played 2 rounds of 9 holes, morning and afternoon (bloody hot here in Thailand!)

 

45 and 46!      And still I felt like playing bad, because I made numerous ridiculous mishits that I normally don't make while practicing.

Even had some very nice drives (265 and 285) without even trying to hit it hard!

 

Might 40 be coming within reach already?

It surely feels like it!

If I can double that (18 holes), that means I'd be playing around 80, while I was still playing over 100 (+50 for 9-holes) 10 days ago!

 

Let's keep on practicing and hope for the best!

post #3 of 34

Interesting reading others progress, looks like you are making some strides.

 

Your driving doesn't seem that bad, hitting 7/9 (no par 3's?) fairways and going 200-240 yards.  I wish I was there with my driver!

 

I've recently gotten the bug and am trying to learn the game too.  My driver is much worse, only averaging around 170 yards and maybe half of fairways.  My irons are my strongest point right now and my putting is pretty terrible.  I hit a 47 on 9 holes yesterday with 21 putts.

 

Look forward to more updates as you continue progressing!

post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 

There are 2 par 3's, 158 and 170 yards.

for the 170, I like to use my driver in order to practice my directional sense and power control.

 

If you have problems with your driver (like I did only a short time ago), try this out.

 

 I just found a swing technique for the driver that seems to make it impossible to hit slices or hooks!

 

- tee the ball relatively high

- ball position just inside the left foot. Too much in or out will only cause the ball to go right or left from the target line, no slice or hook (or   a very, very faint slice at the end of the trajectory)

- feet not too wide

- arms and wrists fully stretched, they must form a single line with the driver shaft, the driver head may even be a little under that line

- knees and upper body slightly bent, as with the usual swing

- horizontal rotation of the upper body must be limited to 50-70%, but the arms (still stretched) must go further

- elevation angle of the arms during the back-swing: they should end up halfway between right shoulder and right ear.

 

IMPORTANT:  during the back-swing, you should focus solely on making a perfect rotation (no swaying) and keeping the arms and driver-shaft on 1 line (stretched) until they almost reach your neck. As they reach your neck, the driver-shaft will "automatically" come up (don't think or worry about that!) and reach a position that is more or less parallel to the ground. it doesn't really matter what the exact position is!

 

During the down-swing, you should only think about the arm/driver line (stretched) and keep watching the ball off course!

Even with a rather slow swing, I reach distances up to 250 yards, and they're all as straight as can be!

 

post #5 of 34

Yeah I've got to do some work on the driver on the range.  I've been neglecting it and focusing on my irons which are improving pretty quickly.  I hit a 250 yard 5 wood from the fairway on a par 5 after a weak 150 yard tee off with my driver.  I know I have it in me just gotta get used to the club I suppose.  I need to try slowing my swing do and focus on tempo and rotation and see what happens!

 

BTW that is some serious distance on your 7 iron.  My 7i is between 135-150 right now, but very straight.

post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

seems like you're doing fine!

I don't even play my fairway woods, because I can't hit a decent ball with them!

Don't understand why, but it's not a big problem at this moment. Just using driver and irons is enough to play par on my local course, it's only 2990 yards for 9 holes!

 

my irons are going a little up and down when it comes to distance.

Today's carry distances:

 

I-7            145-160

I-9            120-130

I-10           110

I-11           90-100

 

No idea about the roll, difficult to see.

Wonder how the hell I have a 10 and 11-iron?

Funny story actually!

Bought my first set second hand, and I discovered recently that they are over 40 years old.

Now, 40 years ago, loft and shaft-length were not what they are today.

All my irons are 1 inch shorter and have a loft which is 1-2 clubs higher than today's irons.

Conclusion: my 7-iron is actually a 9-iron, and since I also have an 8 and 9-iron in that set, they would correspond to 10 and 11-iron!

I currently rent a more recent 7-iron and that's how I have the distance for a real 7-iron.

Some days I hit it around 170, but as I said, it goes up and down a little.

 

As for your driver, take this advise:    focus on straight shots and consistency first. Once you master that (with a slow swing), speed will increase automatically!

post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 

I just had my first ever Trackman-analysis today.

Not so easy when you live in Thailand.

 

Many of the results confirmed what I already thought.

I'm not giving the exact averages here, because they were strongly influenced by a lot of misses, due to following factors: wrist and shoulder injury, no warm-up,

rubber-T too high, shaft too flexible and too much torque for my swing-speed,.....

I hit 40 balls

 

club-head speed :          usually 95-100 mph

attack angle:                 usually +1.5 to +5 (some extremes of +10 and +12)

carry distance:              200-240 when no mishit

total distance:               220-270 when no mishit

club-face angle              usually 1 to 5 degrees open, due to wrong shaft flex and torque. (is corrected when I close the club-face before back-swing)

 

A few weeks ago I broke my driver shaft and made the mistake of replacing it with a Regular Flex shaft (medium torque).

When swinging at higher speeds (95+), this will negatively influence the ball trajectory (slices, hooks) and also make you loose distance.

I now face the choices of replacing my driver shaft again (and they're quite expensive here in Thailand), or slowing down my back-swing in order to be able

to accelerate my down-swing more gradually, thus avoiding the club-face opening too much. This will also limit my maximum club-head speed off course.

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 

Latest update:

 

played 9 holes today, but was feeling very tired.

Seemed like I had no strength at all in my hands and arms (the injuries?), so my driving was pretty horrible.

 

Putting and chipping however was excellent! I sank 2 puts from about 30 feet (subsequent holes), downhill lie, turn left to right, 14 puts total over 9 holes!

Hitting my irons didn't feel good either, but somehow I managed to produce very decent shots, ending up at my best result ever, 43 on a par 36!!!

The positive trend seems very clear: 48 - 47 - 48 - 45 - 46 - 43 over the last 8 days.

My mishits are finally fading away!

 

Being 40 and not at all used to practicing so intensively (3-4 hours/day, 16 days non stop), I think my body urgently needs to rest now.

I'll take a 4-day break and start again on June 7th.

Hopefully I won't loose what I've gained so far. 

post #9 of 34

That is good progress, the 43 is very good.  Are you playing strictly all rules?  I was allowing myself a few mullies at first and since taking those out my score's have gotten a little higher.

 

I've played 5 rounds now in the past two weeks and my progress has slowed.  Had a terrible outing recently too but at the range I'm hitting incredibly.  I have to get the mental part squared away...I think that is causing my mishits on the course, I'm thinking too much.  I did get a nice birdie though on one hole, saved the day!

post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogeysaurus View Post

That is good progress, the 43 is very good.  Are you playing strictly all rules?  I was allowing myself a few mullies at first and since taking those out my score's have gotten a little higher.

 

I've played 5 rounds now in the past two weeks and my progress has slowed.  Had a terrible outing recently too but at the range I'm hitting incredibly.  I have to get the mental part squared away...I think that is causing my mishits on the course, I'm thinking too much.  I did get a nice birdie though on one hole, saved the day!

 

I used to have the same problem until a few weeks ago.

Still don't really understand why it happened, but when playing the course, all I could do was shank and top the ball.

On the driving range, I hardly ever shanked (topping did happen from time to time).

 

Somehow, I managed to make the transfer 20 days ago.

No more shanking, hardly any topping, and the results simply follow!

 

I do allow myself to "cheat" a little though.

Still having a little trouble with my drives on the course, I don't count penalty strokes for OB, and when I really, really mishit, sometimes I just take the shot a second time from the same place, not counting the first. 

Why doing this?   Well, on the range I virtually never make these mishits, so it's realistic to assume that soon, I'll stop making them at the course as well.

As I feel the quality of my shots improving day by day, very soon I won't need to do that anymore.

In fact, I've promised myself I'll stop "cheating" within 2 weeks.

I'm quite sure by that time, my game will be consistent enough for it not to have any real influence on my results.

post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 

Next update.

 

Having stopped the "cheating", my scores have logically gone up a little, but not too much.

 

Having some strained muscles and a wrist injury, I had a very bad round on Monday morning (56), but played a 47 in the afternoon.

Having problems again with shanking and topping, working it out on the range now.

 

Tuesday I played 50 and today (wednesday) 45.

 

Really have to work on the 5-iron. Never really played it before, but starting to use it now and I'm topping it most of the time.

 

I'll be playing the monthly club competition on Sunday.

Hopefully I'll be able to stabilize my 5-iron by then and get a decent result.

Since I'm not a member yet, I don't have an official hcp, so I'll play with a fictive 24 hcp.

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipergsm View Post

 

I used to have the same problem until a few weeks ago.

Still don't really understand why it happened, but when playing the course, all I could do was shank and top the ball.

On the driving range, I hardly ever shanked (topping did happen from time to time).

 

Somehow, I managed to make the transfer 20 days ago.

No more shanking, hardly any topping, and the results simply follow!

 

I do allow myself to "cheat" a little though.

Still having a little trouble with my drives on the course, I don't count penalty strokes for OB, and when I really, really mishit, sometimes I just take the shot a second time from the same place, not counting the first. 

Why doing this?   Well, on the range I virtually never make these mishits, so it's realistic to assume that soon, I'll stop making them at the course as well.

As I feel the quality of my shots improving day by day, very soon I won't need to do that anymore.

In fact, I've promised myself I'll stop "cheating" within 2 weeks.

I'm quite sure by that time, my game will be consistent enough for it not to have any real influence on my results.

 

Really?  You think that you'll make no more driving mistakes as long as you keep improving?  Sure, you'll have fewer OB drives but no one is immune from that kind of occasional problem.  Just like when I quit smoking, and when I quit drinking- just quit cheating NOW.  Why is two weeks from now better than today?

post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by pipergsm View Post

Hi everybody,

 

I'm a 40 year old male that picked up the game of golf at 37.

 

I'd like to hear the evolutionary stories of other golfers and their statistics.

 

Good golfing to all of you!

 

 

I suggest you read the thread I started late last summer (a new golfers journey).  I have been updating it since I first started playing golf in June of 2012.  I also suggest the Tour Spoon Blog which is excellent. 

post #14 of 34
I started playing last Sept. after we moved to a house where a par 5 tee box is10 yds behind my fence. Started hitting some balls at the range. I had no idea how to hit anything. I found a set of double diamond irons at goodwill for 28 bucks. 3-9, no PW and grabbed a PW for 2 bucks. A Plop Slotz . I gripped the irons like I do my softball bats and started hacking, or slicing if you will. I soon learned that something must change to hit the ball straight. I started rolling both ankles backwards enable to hit the ball straight with minimal slice. I was hammering my irons. My 9 iron regularly sailed the 150 flag at the range. But chunking was intermittent. I started jumping the fence the last hour of the night behind my house and playing the par 5. Within a few months, 5 and 6's were fairly common. I was teeing off with a 3 iron and it had a controllable slice or heavy fade if you will. Playing fairly decent I thought, it was time to go play 18. I took my 3 iron and my other irons and played with a buddy. 1st tee shot BAM ! 240 right down the middle. 2nd shot I crushed just right of the green and it went in a bunker. Then I realized that not all bunkers are hard packed. Bunkers actually existed where the sand was fluffy and the ball would sink. 4 shots later I was out. The next hole, i overcompensated for the heavy fade and hit a tree on the left. I shot 132 that day with several mulligans and felt like I went through a meat grinder. I kept working and working on irons and finally figured out I tend to go outside to in which was causing my slice. I fixed that went and played again and shot 122 with only 3 mulligans. Still chunking irons too much and cannot putt worth a flip. Kept working with my irons and picked up a lob wedge. The lob wedge was my savior. My practice routine was everyday, the last hour of daylight, I would throw 6 balls on the ground. Lob wedge them up between the tees. tee up 6 balls and hit them. Take a different iron, hit them back to the tee box. If they were short, chip them back up. The lob saved many,many a hole for me from being double par. I got to where I was shooting low 100's, no mulligans teeing off with a 2-iron. My sing was developing into a more traditional grip and swing so my distance started dropping. I still could manage 220-250 tee shots with the 2. However, the windy Texas weather would often leave me more often in the 220 range and long irons to the green, if I could even reach it. Putting was till pathetic. Started playing around with driver. Got 1 at goodwill for 4 bucks. It was nice but was a 12*. Not sure what happened but I shattered the face. Picked up a 10* snake eyes for 7 bucks and started hitting it 235-260. Now I was in business. 102,101,104,105,102,101,108, 106.......... This scores were getting old. Was there some magical barrier preventing me from breaking 100 ? I was hitting good drives. I was hitting decent enough irons. My wedges were phenomenal, what was my issue ? I still couldnt putt. Way to many 3 putts and the occasional 4 putt. I practiced putting, practiced putting and practiced some more. 2 weeks straight I practiced. In the house and on the green behind house. Went back out and thought I was playing way over my head that day, I shot a legitimate 90, no mulligans. Anyways, I still chunk irons and I HAVE to constantly practice putting or I will 3 putt every single hole. My irons are getting really, really good, my drives are getting 240-275, but unfortunately, I got moved to a differnt shift where I cannot practice pitching. If I miss the green, I am hosed. 47,48,49,46 have been my last 9 hole scores. I still think I am doing good for only having played less than a year. But living on the coarse allows me to practice a ton. I do feel I am on the edge of 80's. Putting is getting better and better.
post #15 of 34
Thread Starter 

Looks like you're doing very well indeed!

Having a time-problem sucks, I know.

But don't giver up: frequency of practice is more important than duration/session 

 

Try to design a specific practice program, focusing on your weakest points, in order to maximize the efficiency of your time-use.

 

Good luck!

post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuclearMike View Post

 

Really?  You think that you'll make no more driving mistakes as long as you keep improving?  Sure, you'll have fewer OB drives but no one is immune from that kind of occasional problem.  Just like when I quit smoking, and when I quit drinking- just quit cheating NOW.  Why is two weeks from now better than today?

 

 

Off course I'll still make driving mistakes. Just hoping that it will get much less, like only once per 9 holes or something!
As you can read in my earlier post, I've just stopped cheating, playing my 2 last rounds at 50 and 45.
post #17 of 34
Thread Starter 

Played 9 holes yesterday and finished in 46, which is ok for me.

 

Had a horrible first hole, par 4, 380 yards, 9 strokes!

Started by missing my drive way left and the ball bounced back on a side tree, ending up 50 yards from the tee.

Got 50 yards in front of the green in 3 (playing 7 iron), but then shanked my Sw in the approach, which ended up on a strong downhill lie at the

Tee-box from another hole (30 yards right from the green). Got it up and down at the 2nd attempt but overshot the green, in the bunker.

Finally got on the green in 7, at about 30 feet from the hole.

Needless to say I didn't 1-put!

Rest of the round was ok for me, hitting 1 birdie, 2 pars, 4 bogeys and 1 double.

Hole 3 and 8 keep on harassing me though.

Par 4, 350 and 268 yards, they both have a little water-stream in front of the green (100 yards and 20 yards in front), less than 20 yards wide.

Every time I hit a good drive, my ball ends up in the water!  They had me both today. Would have shot birdie and par if not. Par and bogey instead.

Great drive on hole 3, par 3, 170 yards to the pin.

Since it's too far for my 7-iron, I can't play the woods and don't have a decent 6 or 5-iron, I use my driver for that hole, so I need to carefully calculate my swing speed.

Got the ball at the back off the green, 35 feet behind the pin (down slope and break) and 2-put. 1st put missed the hole by 1/2 foot!

 

I'll play again this afternoon, preparing for the monthly club tournament tomorrow, playing 18 holes for the first time.

If I can avoid that first hole result, I think it's gonna be fine.

post #18 of 34

It's a putt, not a put.

 

Just sayin'.

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