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"that" friend.....

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Most, not everyone will hopefully be able to identify with this.....most regular golfing groups of buddies have "that" guy.  Maybe you have been that guy at one point or another.  I know I was for a while.  That guy or that friend is the one in the group that you know could play so much better if they would just do this one or these few things.  You've tried talking to him/her and letting them know that they would be so much better if they just changed this, or that. 

 

It's difficult because unless you are actually a golf instructor, you don't want to sound like that to your friend.  Besides, what gives you the right to tell someone what they should or shouldn't do in their swing.  But after seeing the same swing thousands of times now and witnessing the same results, you know that you are right, that if xxxx would just try this one simple thing that it would make such a big difference.

 

It can be a fine line on what to say or what not to say.  This person is your friend and you don't like seeing them in a slump and not playing the quality of golf that they are capable of.  At the same time though, the slump is deep and this has been festering for a while.  You can sense the anger coming from your friend and decide not to say anything. 

 

At first it was just a few bad holes which turned into a few bad rounds.  At this point the excuses are coming out all the time.  You laugh under your breath at them because you know the truth.  Those bad rounds compound and all of a sudden, the slump that your friend is in is slowly starting to have an impact on your game.  You find that you are being impacted because it is taking so long for your friend to find his ball in the woods, hole after hole.  You think about saying something, afterall, you know that if they just did a few things different then everyone would be happy as your friend would be playing better and it would not have an impact on your game.

 

Things get worse and after a while the tantrums become too frequent.  You find that your own game is becoming more and more impacted.  Do you say something finally?  It's not that easy though, maybe your wives are best friends or your kids are friends. If you say something and it does not go as well as it should, there could be serious collateral damage.  Is that worth it?  You start to think that it's yourself that is being selfish and you don't say anything.  The whole time it gets worse and worse. 

 

I could go on from here but I think everyone sees the point or knows someone like this to varying degrees.  It's a shame but I am kind of going through the same thing with a friend in my group.  I was for the longest time putting off and dreading saying something to my friend and was going to last week.  Before I could say anything though, my friend who has been in this terrible slump for so long made it easy by leaving the club.  I don't want him to leave but it may be for the best for now anyway.  It's hard to tell someone that does not hit any balls during the week that they cannot expect to improve much from just playing 2 rounds on the weekend and hitting balls before a round for 5 minutes. 

 

I feel bad in a way, because compounding the issue of his slump is the fact that I hit balls 2 to 3 times a week and have been fortunate to improve a lot just this year alone.  Nothing has been said but I wonder if my progress makes my friend feel worse that he is regressing?  I hope that's not the case but I cannot help but wonder.  I'm not sure what else I can do.  I've tried to be helpful but no matter who says something or provides a tip, nothing ever changes. 

 

I guess I'm fortunate though because I have no kids and no wife.  I could not imagine what it would be like if that was a factor, or even if there were work relationships involved.  Then it made me think....I went through my own on the course issues last winter and into the early spring where I felt I was not improving.  Was I that guy?  Were my friends ever embarassed by my behavior on the course? 

post #2 of 23

Friends help friends out, so if you see something in his swing that's a problem you shouldn't be afraid to mention it.

 

If the issue is he's not practicing as much as you think he should then I'd leave it alone.  Most people that like golf enough to play two rounds on the weekend want to be better so I'd guess there's some reason he can't fit more practice into his schedule.

post #3 of 23

I've handled it in several ways.  If the friend is more or less happy just to get outdoors and play, and doesn't really have any expectations of improvement, I don't say anything and just enjoy his company. I might look for his first couple of lost balls, but after that he's on his own.  If, on the other hand, he complains about every bad shot and starts turning into an ass, I will ask whether he wants to go to the range after the round and work on a few things.  I wouldn't try to give him any quick fixes on the course, because then the next bad shot would be my fault.

 

If the friend declines the offer of help, I might say something like "Well, if you don't want to work a little on improving your game, you really shouldn't get mad when you hit a bad shot." Like Arnold Palmer once said, "You're not good enough to get mad."

post #4 of 23

I see lots of golfers that would benefit from instruction but none that I could honestly say would make big gains. Not too many on the bubble types on the courses I frequent it's either pretty good or terrible. I am more surprised by how many do anything but trying to improve. Which is crazy considering how many take their funky swings to the range and hit ball after ball. At my former home course there are guys that play dang near everyday that look like they just picked up a club yesterday. The men's league is full of them. Since I started golfing again 18 months ago I'd be willing to wager I've seen less than 30 men that could legitimately shoot 80-85 and maybe 10 that could break 80. Probably has more to do with when I play than anything. The serious guys are long gone by the time I get out of work. I get paired with the high handicap crowd often.

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

Friends help friends out, so if you see something in his swing that's a problem you shouldn't be afraid to mention it.

 

If the issue is he's not practicing as much as you think he should then I'd leave it alone.  Most people that like golf enough to play two rounds on the weekend want to be better so I'd guess there's some reason he can't fit more practice into his schedule.

I only think it is worth mentioning potential swing changes to a friend if you know that they will spend some time on the practice tee (which is a much better place to mention what you see going on in their swing than the course).  Safer yet, only talk about their swing if they ask for advice.

post #6 of 23

If you really know a person's swing and exactly what they are trying (and failing) to do...And they are a friend...Maybe.

 

If not leave them alone unless they ask.

 

The last time I saw anybody give any unsolicited advice it was when a high handicap player decided for some unknown reason to tell a scratch player what he did wrong after a bad shot.

(Maybe he just read Golf Digest or stayed in a Holiday Inn Express the night before or something.) :loco:

 

The scratch said "I'll tell you what. If you ever beat me you can tell me what I did wrong but until then shut your mouth."

 

Probably not a very nice way to put it from the scratch but it did stop the advice.


Edited by MS256 - 10/7/13 at 6:46pm
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree View Post
 

I only think it is worth mentioning potential swing changes to a friend if you know that they will spend some time on the practice tee (which is a much better place to mention what you see going on in their swing than the course).  Safer yet, only talk about their swing if they ask for advice.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 

If you really know a person's swing and exactly what they are trying (and failing) to do...And they are a friend...Maybe.

 

If not leave them alone unless they ask.

 

The last time I saw anybody give any unsolicited advice it was when a high handicap player decided for some unknown reason to tell a scratch player what he did wrong after a bad shot. (Maybe he just read Golf Digest or something.) :loco:

 

The scratch said "I'll tell you what. If you ever beat me you can tell me what I did wrong but until then shut your mouth."

 

Probably not a very nice way to put it from the scratch but it did stop the advice.

 

In this case the OP is 8.5 and likely his friend is a much higher handicap.  I understand and agree with your point about the potential for unsolicited advice to be annoying.  Given it's become a problem for the OP and his friend who quit the club (I'm guessing because he was in such a bad slump) I would think the friend would appreciate some help if it's presented properly.

post #8 of 23

My Saturday group has four guys with four very different swings. But, mostly we know what we are are trying to do. Doug may not make the turn he does when he hits the ball well. Bill gets a fast transition. Jerry gets fast and dances. I over swing and also have a too-fast transition. So, we can offer a little help to each other if needed or wanted.

 

"You want an observation?" If yes, then, "You seem a little faster than when you are hitting it well."

 

But, we've played together for years. You got to be a pretty good friend for me to ask if you want my observations. Now, if you ask first...

post #9 of 23

Wow, I could have written this thread myself, not in so many words though.

 

I have have been golfing for 2 years with a guy I've known since I was about 10 (26 now) and I have improved to about an 8, he has probably gone from shooting 120 every round, to 95 - 100.

I have tried a couple of times to give him little pointers, like how to make those 25-30 yard chip and run shots, or help putting etc. but he is just one of those guys who doesn't really want you to try and help, because it will make him seem inferior to you, so you have to just let them get on with it.

 

I have no problem with this, as long as he is just enjoying hitting a couple of good shots a round etc. then there is no problem, there is a problem how ever when he quits 6 holes into a round because he is playing bad, or simply gets into a stinking mood.  He needs to realise he isn't actually that good, and that he can't really get angry at bad shots, because that's his level. It also doesn't help when he won't play proper rules (3 off the tee for OB or a lost ball) so he thinks he shoots under 95 when really he shoots well over 100.

 

It is annoying when they are hitting ball after ball in the trees etc. while you stand there with your ball, or they are hacking around the green while you stand there having a chuckle, butttttt you just have to live with it, it's easy to say all these things when you can shoot in the 70s.

post #10 of 23

I should add that our Saturday game is cart against cart. Not much money is on the line but it very competitive and a team deal -- low ball and low total. So, there is plenty of unsolicited advise about strategy with partners. There is lots of encouraging safe play and using your head. Or, go for it since... No one has any issue with those suggestions since "those are my quarters your playing with buddy."

post #11 of 23
It's that way when I play with my family. Which can be difficult because they don't want you to say anything and we aren't afraid to tell each other tht. I've just kinda been more relaxed in those rounds. You don't worry about your own game unless you are 5 feet from your ball
post #12 of 23

I've hit the driving range and played a couple rounds with my brother this summer and tried to give him a couple basic tips to get him to stop muffing every shot.  What I found is either he's a monster dumbass when it comes to this sport, or it's surprisingly difficult to teach people how to hit the ball, or I'm not very good at communicating the point.  I think it's mostly 1 (haha!) but I suppose it's part 2 as well.  I haven't let it discourage me though because I think once he hits an iron clean and sees the ball go rocketing out there it will be a huge AH-HA moment and it will make him want to get even better at the game.

 

Anyway, to address the OP.. if your friend is receptive to your advice then I would suggest trying to be patient.  If he's listening and not doing what you suggest then I think he's just being nice and you should probably let him go on his way as far as the game is concerned.  People in my group playing poorly doesn't seem to affect me at all so I can't even relate to that part of it.

post #13 of 23

you can sleep easy if you believe that a piece of advice here or there will not change the game enough for everyones experience to improve.  I mean, if he was gripping the club on the wrong end of the stick that would be one thing.  Alas, golf is ****ing hard, and for someone who is stuck at a high handicap, a few tips will not make a huge difference. it really wont. getting better takes some real hard work, and or some deep soul searching with the most precise instruction.

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

The advice that I was referring to was simple little things, not a wholesale swing change.  For example, when in the rough he has a hard time getting out because he tries to help the ball up instead of focusing on hitting down on it and letting the loft of the club do the rest of the work.  Last  year at this time we were very close in abilities and handicaps.  As I have improved throughout the year and as he has regressed, this has probably not helped things either.  If this was it though and it was only a difference in ability/handicaps, that would not be an issue though. 

 

The biggest issue that I had was that his actions were affecting my play and a talk was going to have to happen soon about his behavior first and foremost.  Giving advice/help to his game is secondary and likely would not matter much since he never ever hits balls during the week.  The only practice is hitting only a dozen or so balls before a round, that's it.  That's another reason that any advice would be very limited to things that can be done right then and there. 

 

We've tried before to give advice but it seems to make things worse due to the anger.  The whole reason I started this was because that would have been a difficult discussion that I would have had to have which is basically saying: "because your game sucks so much and because you cannot control your emotions, it is affecting my game and if this continues we cannot play anymore".  It sounds terrible, pompous, arrogant, and selfish too. 

 

Now that he's leaving I will likely not have to have that talk but that's not necessarily good either.  The best result would be for him to stay but for his game to improve so his behavior/emotions improve and no longer has an impact on others.  Anything less than that is not the best possible result and thus I cannot help but feel bad about this.  I'm also deep down probably worried that I am coming off as a jerk which I do not want.  I should not care but in today's age, it subconciously affects just about everyone.

 

So the underlying issue is in theory controllable as if behavior/attitude improves on his part, there is no issue.  I know that this is a lot to ask though as I can see just how frustrated my friend is and understand that a change will not happen unless there is an improvement in his game....

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjwestner View Post
 

 

I guess I'm fortunate though because I have no kids and no wife.

 

Not sure this makes you fortunate.  IMO it certainly does not.  I would not trade my family for golf.

 

If I misunderstood you, I apologize.

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjwestner View Post
 

Last  year at this time we were very close in abilities and handicaps.  As I have improved throughout the year and as he has regressed, this has probably not helped things either.

 

In the same boat - We offer to help each other, usually it's after a really bad shot.  So not receptive at that moment - as expected.  Also, most people "would you like an observation, you're doing this with your....."  that's not offering if you jump right into it.  But freely trade thoughts on the range - neither one of us uses the advice of the other guy, but consider talking it out to be useful for the one talking - most people don't really have good advice, they really just have anecdotes that worked "for them".  That's the difference between a teaching pro vs just some guy trying to teach.

 

If you insist:

1 - It's helps wait until the sting of the bad shot goes away before offering.  Usually they know what they are doing, so the best you can do is reinforce what they already know.  Execution is a LOT harder than diagnosis.

2 - "would you like an observation?..."  STOP RIGHT THERE and wait for the answer - usually the answer is 'no'.  Stop, be supportive "no problem, you'll get it next shot".  If "yes", offer to help out after the round and not right that second.

3 - Wait for the range and trade help - don't make it one sided.

4 - Offer to video the swing, nothing else.  "I'm not trying to help you, I just think I can win $10,000 on TV"

 

5 - Or, in my case, I have enough to worry about with my game, close the mouth and let him work it out his way.  Be a friend, help find the golf balls, if you are the one in rain pants go a get that thrown club from the trees or tall grass and return it with mockery.  LOTS of mockery.

 

6 - Occasionally REALLY tank a round of your own.  You know ....  "accidentally"......:whistle: to make him feel better about his game.  Hell, I "accidentally" have a crappy round all the time.  I'm a giver.  I don't even have try any more to have a bad round (to make them feel better) - it's becoming 2nd nature.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post
 

 

Not sure this makes you fortunate.  IMO it certainly does not.  I would not trade my family for golf.

 

If I misunderstood you, I apologize.

 

It's not just golf obviously.  I do not have a wife or kids either and I consider myself incredibly fortunate because I can do whatever I want whenever I want.  I think I'm fortunate in part because when I ask friends or family with a wife or kids if they want to join me for something I frequently get the "I can't blah blah blah the kids blah blah".  I suppose it's possible they can't afford it or I'm just not very fun to hang out with and they're using the kids to string me along.  Why I'm not sure, I certainly wouldn't be mad if they told me the truth.  I don't think that is the case though, I really think they're handcuffed to their house or daycare schedule.

 

Your comment reminded me of the stinkeye single people get from married folks though.  From my perspective it looks like they're simply jealous but maybe they see it as an insult to their chosen lifestyle.

post #18 of 23
Up to this month, I was "that guy".

What amazed my friends is that I made to the hole in a reasonable number of strokes. Sometimes, I would hit really well, then the next shot was really bad. Every shot was mental work.

So my fix? Keys 1 and 2, like Erik suggested. That is to hook up with Mike. This combined with what my regular instructor has been trying to get through to me.

Something clicked this just week. I don't have to actively keep my lead arm straight or lead wrist flat. It just does it through the kinematic sequence. A concept I am just starting to grasp.

We'll see if this is the fix for me. I'm confident though, because everything was built step by step.
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