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Major frustration... How do you improve the mental part of the game?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm about 20 hours of practice in (3 weeks) and have not only plateaued but severely regressed.

 

At the range my shots are good.  I only mishit at the range a handful out of a bucket and the majority are straight and good with good distance.  I've never stroke the ball this well in the past when I was playing a handful of times a year only.  However, when I get on the course I can't get out of my head...

 

I try to stay relaxed and just enjoy the game and let the progress come on its own but it never fails.  I'll make a terrible mishit and it just starts to crumble.  Half of my shots will be decent to great and the other half are now instead of serviceable, utterly terrible.  I was right under 50 on 9 holes without mulligans and playing by all rules, now I am close to 60...the last 3 rounds I haven't even kept score all the way through, the last 3 holes I just figured there was no point keeping count anymore.

 

It was so bad on a few holes I even was second guessing my chipping/pitching which is one of my strongest parts of my game.  Making me leave club face open and decelerate the club at impact and hit terrible chips...

 

What can I do to try to get out of my own way????  So frustrated...

post #2 of 21

because its golf, because you get frustrated, because your probably trying to force a fix when you haven't mastered it yet. Its a total of alot of things. When i am fixing my swing, which i am doing now. I will hit a few shots on the range, see how i am  hitting them, then just go on with playing a round of golf with what i get, and i don't press the issue. If i try to fix something on the course, it can go really well, or go to shit. More then likely it goes to shit really fast.

 

Confidence is a fickle thing in golf. Just don't get to discouraged.

post #3 of 21

My good friend George says that you need to practice what you want to work on at the range and then take dead aim.  What he means by this is that you want to stay focused on the moment in time that IS hitting THAT shot.  What happens to you is when you are going along and mishit a shot, you start trying to analyze what you did wrong instead of focusing on doing what is right the next shot or subsequent shots.  That is what the Touring Pros do so well, they can move on immediately.  It takes practice and you might not be able to do it the first time.  George can do it you can do it.  George is an idiot.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

I try so hard to not focus on mechanics and just play and enjoy it and even after the first screw up I still stay fairly positive but it just slowly adds up.

 

Today first hole was a double bogey, not terrible... then next was a bogey which is fine for me right now, but then I get to the next tee box and hit the worst shot imaginable.  However, I keep my composure and move on to the next hole and shake off the triple bogey and hit the green on my tee off.  Then I four putt it...

 

Struggle through a few more holes still trying to stay positive, hit the green on my next par 3 off the tee with a nice 8i shot... then 3 putt... And the last 3 holes were pointless...

 

So here are some things I've been wondering...

 

Should I even be keeping score right now?  Would it be better to not keep score so that would be one less thing for me to have in my head? 

 

I've been trying to write down each shot so later I can review to see where I am weakest but I don't think that helps at all with the mental aspect which is clearly my current weakness.

 

I've been going to the range 4-5 times a week and I've played 3 rounds per week these past 3 weeks...

 

Is that too much, am I burning myself out?

 

Thanks for reading my rambling!

post #5 of 21

Range is useless unless you know what your looking at, and how to change it. Seriously consider looking up a good instructor in your area. You'll be spinning your wheels if you don't get good instruction.

 

Try to find someone who does video, and post it here on the forum.

post #6 of 21
Swing slow on the course, when your on the range, you are probably swinging in your comfort zone, when you get on the course and have a target, you are probably over swinging which is getting your motions out of sync and causing bad shots.
post #7 of 21

One of the tough things to learn to accept in golf is that, until you gain a minimum level of consistency, you are really at the mercy of all manner of disasters.

 

From my own experience, I'd put the bar somewhere in the mid-teens handicap-wise. At that level, you're probably capable of stringing a good few shots together and a few pars. But, and this is a big catch, you probably still don't really know where your ball is going with any certainty. Bushes, trees and water in the wrong place at the wrong time can just wreck you if you aren't consistent enough to avoid them without committing to the rough on the other side of the hole.

 

So, I would argue that the same level of golfing skill could yield scores anywhere between low 80s and mid-90s. If your skill level is lower than that, the spread in scores will likely be wider still. I'd estimate that tops and shanks and fats are part of the game for everyone who's not breaking 85 consistently - and exposure to shots like that makes your score on any given day something of a lottery.

 

So, to an extent, you need to separate out your appreciation of your improving proficiency from your scoring. It's sometimes helpful to rate yourself not by score, but by the number of good shots that you hit, or any other variable that's not so contingent on the outcomes of your worst shots.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by birlyshirly View Post

I'd estimate that tops and shanks and fats are part of the game for everyone who's not breaking 85 consistently - and exposure to shots like that makes your score on any given day something of a lottery.

 

So, to an extent, you need to separate out your appreciation of your improving proficiency from your scoring. It's sometimes helpful to rate yourself not by score, but by the number of good shots that you hit, or any other variable that's not so contingent on the outcomes of your worst shots.

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

I've had 3 rounds in a row now that were bad, I did pick up a birdie and a few pars over those rounds but I think looking at the overall scores of those rounds is wearing on my resolve especially considering the scores are worse than when I couldn't hit the ball properly at all!  I do play a pretty tough course with extremely narrow fairways but it is frustrating to see the scores go up when you know you are hitting the ball so much better.

 

I really like that idea of using a metric of good shots and bad shots (for overall consistency) versus the score.  I've got to convince myself not to worry about the score or maybe not even keep it for a while.  Maybe only write down the good holes to provide some positive reinforcement.  

 

I suppose one good thing is despite 3 bad outings in a row I still want to get back out there as soon as I can and try again!

post #9 of 21
It's about playing golf instead of golf swing. For the longest time my goal was to be good enough to play golf instead of golf swing. One day something clicked and I realized that you can make the conscious decision to play golf at anytime, at any skill level. Playing golf is about scoring as low as possible whether that be 86 or 106 it doesn't matter, the goal remains the same. If you're having an off day your goal is still to score as low as possible, maybe that will be 15 strokes higher than your last round, so be it, don't let it be 16 strokes higher. Stay in the game, forget the last shot, make THIS shot the best shot you can then move on and make the next shot the BEST shot that you can. Never give up and NEVER STOP PLAYING THE GAME GOLF.

Your score will improve and MORE IMPORTANTLY your enjoyment of the game will improve.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Jones View Post

It's about playing golf instead of golf swing.
Never give up and NEVER STOP PLAYING THE GAME GOLF.

Your score will improve and MORE IMPORTANTLY your enjoyment of the game will improve.

 

That is what I have to figure out, to play the game of golf and not hitting golf balls.  I'm very type A personality though so results are directly tied to enjoyment...so how do I accomplish this?b3_huh.gif

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogeysaurus View Post

 

That is what I have to figure out, to play the game of golf and not hitting golf balls.  I'm very type A personality though so results are directly tied to enjoyment...so how do I accomplish this?b3_huh.gif

View EVERY shot as an opportunity to get closer (or into) the hole. Did you hit a crap shot prior to this one? Doesn't matter, THIS shot is an opportunity to get closer. Didn't pull it off like you wanted? DOESN'T MATTER, because now THIS shot is your opportunity to get closer or in. STAY IN THE GAME!

post #12 of 21

At your level, I would approach each tee shot knowing you have an extra shot on every hole to get it on the green and then you have two putts for your bogey. If you hit a green in regulation, super, but there is absolutely no reason to put pressure on yourself to do so. Don't compound mistakes. If you hit a bad shot, play for double bogey on that hole. Take your lumps and move on. Also, for every tee shot, play a club you are confident you will get in or close to the fairway. Do a metal countdown of the clubs in your bag for each shot you are about to play. "Can I confidently hit the driver in or around the fairway?" and if your answer is no or hell no, move on to the three wood and so on. Pick the longest club you can but make confidence priority over distance and I guarantee you will find your groove again. Good Luck!

post #13 of 21

I don't always have the same problem you do of hitting well in practice and then worse on the course, but It's easy for me to fall into the "why the #%@ do I even try" mode. I always hated the guy on the tennis court who would chastise himself after a blown shot. I've become that guy on the golf course! I start out accepting I'm not yet skilled, but if things don't improve after several less-than-steller shots, it gets to me.

 

Many of us believe that once we break a milestone such as 50 on a 9 hole course we're heading in the right direction (and we are). But for me at least, it's often the "one step forward, one, sometimes two steps back" sort of progress. As birlyshirly said, at our level (high 20's or 30's), our scores might be all over the place. Doesn't mean we're getting worse, it just means we haven't yet become skilled at bad lies, wind, or just emotionally learning how to deal with adversity. The other day I had a blow up hole followed by three straight pars, which is good for me, followed by another blowup hole. Any chance I had of pulling off a personal best were gone. I'm still glad I played because of the pars.

 

I know that the scorecard is a legitimate barometer of our skill level (btw, good for you for not taking mulligans). But there are times when my score may have been high and I feel like I've played really good golf. Other times I'll shoot a lower score but overall the game felt "off".

 

I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all, but I can certainly relate. We see all these low handicappers and we just want to get there ourselves.

 

Keep working at it and good luck.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies guys.

 

I'm going to consider all these ideas and try to come up with a "game plan" for myself for when I head to the course so I can take any unnecessary pressure off myself and just try to focus on one shot at a time.

 

I was considering playing a round with just my irons even par 5s as typically my blow up holes start with a bad driver/wood off the tee box.  I know that isn't the long term solution but it might make me feel better to have a decent round.

post #15 of 21

It may have already been said but when I was around a 28 handicapper, I could not get it to go down. I don't know why. I was a 28 handicapper for so damn long. Then I read the book "Zen Golf" and it helped a ton. I felt like I had been reborn. I used the positive tips such as playing against handicap par instead of course par and continued to do that a long with a few drills and some putting technique drills I learned from reading "The Putting Prescription", another great great read. The final thing that I found, was an instructor who knew what he was talking about. It's been two months and I've had two 30 minute sessions with him and I've dropped from a 28ish down to a 21 with my best score being an 86 (68.6/127/6037yds). Between all of those three things, I now feel like I have the knowledge to continue to improve.

 

Good luck man.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bogeysaurus View Post

I try so hard to not focus on mechanics and just play and enjoy it and even after the first screw up I still stay fairly positive but it just slowly adds up.

 

Today first hole was a double bogey, not terrible... then next was a bogey which is fine for me right now, but then I get to the next tee box and hit the worst shot imaginable.  However, I keep my composure and move on to the next hole and shake off the triple bogey and hit the green on my tee off.  Then I four putt it...

 

Struggle through a few more holes still trying to stay positive, hit the green on my next par 3 off the tee with a nice 8i shot... then 3 putt... And the last 3 holes were pointless...

 

So here are some things I've been wondering...

 

Should I even be keeping score right now?  Would it be better to not keep score so that would be one less thing for me to have in my head? 

 

I've been trying to write down each shot so later I can review to see where I am weakest but I don't think that helps at all with the mental aspect which is clearly my current weakness.

 

I've been going to the range 4-5 times a week and I've played 3 rounds per week these past 3 weeks...

 

Is that too much, am I burning myself out?

 

Thanks for reading my rambling!

Oh man, I know exactly how you feel, so much that I laughed when I read this. The benefit of playing against your handicap par over course par is that it allows you to tee off and/or hit clubs that you normally wouldn't when playing against course par. Those clubs are the clubs like short irons that you are more confident with versus the clubs you know you shank, chunk or whatever on a consistent basis.

 

Example:

You are playing a course as a 28 handicap. You get an additional 34 strokes over course par effectively making your handicap par on a 72 par course 106, not mention you are getting an additional 2 strokes on just about every hole. So instead of teeing off on that 600 yard par 5 with a driver that you know you slice, hook or whatever constantly, just take a 7 iron. You have 5 shots plus a 1 putt to make handicap par and chances are, you probably don't need 5 shots to get to the green.

 

It definitely makes for a more enjoyable experience and it's a load off your back. Instead of walking away from that par 4 saying, "shit, I got another double-effing-bogey," it'll be, "sweet, I got a handicap par", postivity > negativity.

 

It's not easy to adjust your thinking to that but it is definitely the way to go until we become scratch golfers! c3_clap.gif

post #17 of 21

I have some rounds where I feel like I played bad, but scored well.  Conversely, I have other rounds where I feel like I played great and just score so-so.  Try to take something positive from every round.  Focus back on what you did well that round and not what you did bad.  Golf is a never ending journey.  You're never DONE figuring it out.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Went back out after work today for a quick 9 and worked on the mental aspect.  Only thinking about my next shot and not any previous mistakes and just trying not to have any extra pressure on myself.  Tried not to think about mechanics and just visualizing hitting the shot.  Had a much better round, still had two or three fat shots with my irons that I clearly rushed and blew but overall was able to move on to the next shot a lot better.  Shot a 48 (legit no cheating) with two pars and two bogeys the rest double bogeys.  Feels good to have another good round.  Hopefully I can continue this direction!  Best shot was a 150 yard 6i into the wind landed 10 feet from the hole.  Also, I didn't take any full practice swings before shots, just half swings that seems to help too maybe.  Which brings up something I've been wondering, do most of you do a practice swing prior to a shot on the course or do you just step up and hit it?

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